17 June 2009

Committee action, Jun. 17: HB 896, HCR 1, HB 520

HB 896 by Rep. Dee Richard would relax ethics requirements for financial reporting for a small number of local officials. The problem as he saw he told the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee it was because of the various population cutoffs for different tiers of reporting for city councils that had single member districts and those elected city-wide. As a result, they were in different tiers, and the bill sought to put the at-large members into the lower, less demanding tier of reporting.

However, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office was against the change, a representative from it testifying it was premature to consider making changes to ethics law just passed last year. But there was no objection from the committee to its passing.

HCR 1 by Rep. Franklin Foil would create a study commission for a state constitutional revision and a set of recommendations for a convention if one is deemed desirable, by the beginning of next year. He asked for an amendment to slightly change the composition of the committee, provided by Sen. Jack Donahue, which was accepted without rejection. Sen. Edwin Murray also wanted another language change to clarify the amount of authority the commission would have over the Legislature’s resources which also was adopted without objection. Sen. Lydia Jackson wanted to add two more members, representing business and nonprofits, and that too faced no opposition.

But when it came time to vote, Sen. Jody Amedee offered a substitute motion to defer. It failed when all those who had amendments adopted voted against it with Amedee the lone supporter. It then passed without objection.

HB 520 by Rep. Greg Cromer would allow voters to change information on their records by electronic means, or to initially register that way. First Assistant Secretary of State Tom Schedler assured the committee there would be plenty of safeguards to prevent unauthorized uses which were those employed by those who mailed in new registrations. With no debate the bill was approved without objection.

Thank you for your service. See you next year.
Schedler, a former state senator who never served on this committee, complimenting it on how well all the bills his department wanted to pass were treated, without controversy.

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