28 June 2007

Floor action, Jun. 28: HB 678, SB 153, SB 232

HB 678 would give incentives to insurance companies to provide insurance in the state and, as amended, would give tax credits to those paying premiums. Rep. Shirley Bowler, however, objected to the bill’s granting of a catastrophic fund which she said not only had proven to be a failure in Florida, but that the bill’s wording actually wanted to create such a fund. “In no way should it be showing up in a conference report looking for our endorsement,” she said. She said relief would take at least three years to show up so there was no rush to pass this bill, and moved to recommit to conference.

Author Rep. Karen Carter said the language was only suggesting, not mandatory, and urged rejecting the substitute motion. But Bowler said this change to get rid of the fund was important, not innocuous, and could be eliminated easily before the 6 PM deadline (it was then 4:15 PM). The motion failed 38-54.

The bill then subsequently passed 81-18.

SB 153 would give private insurers the chance to buy bits and pieces of the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation business. It was amended in conference to delay its implementation until SB 195 had a chance to operate, which would sell the entire book of business.

The report was adopted 98-0.

SB 232 would cerate a structure by which private nonprofit organizations could be paid to counsel individuals about the Road Home program. A dispute arose over the conference committee stripping out an amendment, objected to by the Senate, by Rep. Pete Schneider that would have prohibited legislators’ family members from benefiting monetarily from the arrangement. Handler Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock said the concern was that member of legislators families would not get Road Home money. But Rep. Hunter Greene pointed out the bill had nothing to do with the actual receipt of the money.

Schneider pointed out that this could become a vehicle for corruption and asked for indefinite postponement. Jefferson argued it facilitated housing assistance and that Schneider’s request “pandered to fear.” But Rep. Steve Scalise said the amendment was not overbroad and was very specific, saying it applied only to elected officials and their immediate families as already defined through the ethics code.

Schneider said the Legislature had to appear absolutely above board on this issue, and wanted a substitute motion to indefinitely postpone. That motion failed 45-53. Rep. Cedric Richmond then said he wanted to defend Jefferson against cheap shots and thought it was a good bill. It passed 63-32.

HB 678 made it to the Senate. Sen. Butch Gautreaux wanted to know the practical effect of having his amendment being stripped out which guaranteed 75 percent of the business done would be residential, and was told that business done would tend to mostly take care of residential business, a statement he did not find particularly compelling.

Nevertheless, the report was adopted 30-8.

No, I don’t want to go into detail about this. All I want to say about it is it involved a gift presented by Rep. Jeff Arnold involving the outgoing “dean” of the Westbank delegation, Rep. John Alario, and the new one, Rep. John LaBruzzo, and the name of disgraced former House member Tommy Wright was brought up first in terms of how the gift looked, and then intimation concerning the gift related to reasons why Wright left the house; Wright was accused of soliciting a sex act from a male, and plead guilty to flight from an officer. It managed to be humorous yet juvenile at the same time.

Maybe’s he’s having a senior moment.
Rep. Juan LaFonta saying Schneider should know that SB 232 would not invite corruption.

It would help to vote your machines if you were in your seats.
Speaker Joe Salter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I had to make a choice of which one to trust I can assure you that it would not be a Jefferson, Richmond, or Lafonta...I thing that Schneider should have tried to put the same amendment on every bill introduced by Richmond, Carter,Jefferson and lidy "D"...Maybe then we would see an end too the crap that goes on endlessly in New Orleans....My thanks to you Rep. Schneider for your efforts