21 March 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly -- Prefiled bills as of Mar. 20, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 edition of the Louisiana Legislative Log, starting with the marathon entry describing the good, bad, and ugly bills prefiled. These are bills that would make significant contributions or deductions to good public policy (others would marginally do either) or, as for the ugly, make you wonder why the Legislature would want to deal with them in the first place. Bill filing, however, will resume at the session’s start and go on for another three weeks or so. Let’s see what bills are worth tracking this session, so far.


HB 51 by Rep. Simone Champagne would amend the Constitution to apply term limits to all statewide-elected constitutional offices not already term-limited.

HB 59 by Rep. Franklin Foil would shorten by an hour on each end time the polls are open for elections.

HB 68 by Rep. Henry Burns would allow presence of licensed handguns in places of worship if authorized for security purposes.

HB 69 by Rep. Tony Ligi would amend the Constitution to prohibit paying the state-funded portion of a pension to a public official convicted of corrupt acts in performing public service. (Similar/companion bills: HB 72, HB 73, HB 143, HB 224, HB 228, SB 11, SB 12, SB 13)

HB 94 by Rep. Kirk Talbot would amend the Constitution to prohibit federal mandates to require health insurance purchasing or otherwise penalizing of individuals. (Similar/companion bill: SB 26).

HB 101 by Rep. Ricky Hardy would amend the Constitution to impose a three-term limit on judges, district attorneys, and sheriffs.

HB 186 by Hardy would increase academic standards students would have to maintain to participate in extracurricular activities.

HB 200 by Rep. Patrick Connick would prohibit government contracts going to firms that had as a principal somebody who did not contest guilt to a felony charge. (Similar/companion bills: HB 407, HB 718).

HB 240 by Rep. Mike Danahay would resolve the legal ambiguity surrounding Board of Ethics adjudication. (Similar/companion bills: HB 1143, HB 1178, SB 310).

HB 247 by Rep. Hunter Greene would eliminate the requirement of Acts of the Legislature be printed in an official paper journal. (Similar/companion bill: HB 248; HB 765, HB 789).

HB 270 by Rep. Dee Richard would allow institutions of higher education to charge more tuition above the 12 hours per semester or equivalent level.

HB 302 by Rep. Mert Smiley would expand disclosure requirements for members of boards and commissions statewide.

HB 392 by Hardy would prohibit “double-dipping” by state and local government retirees.

HB 401 by Rep. Joe Harrison would increase the flexibility of public postsecondary institutions in setting tuition and fees (Similar/companion bills: HB 1012, SB 345, SB 347).

HB 409 by Harrison would require term limits for school board members. (Similar/companion bills: HB 410).

HB 415 by Rep. John LaBruzzo would require that every baccalaureate degree program in public universities have a course covering the U.S. Constitution.

HB 450 by Foil repeals licensure requirements for retail florists.

HB 490 by Harrison would create lower reimbursement levels for tuition for TOPS recipients. (Similar/companion bill: SB 86).

HB 532 by Rep. Nick Lorusso would increase transparency of nonprofits that receive public funds.

HB 556 by Rep. Ernest Wooton would increase safety by permitting all concealed weapons license carriers legally to carry such arms in zones now firearm-free.

HB 577 by Kevin Pearson would broaden the revenue base for property taxes without taxing the truly indigent.

HB 596 by Rep. Jim Morris would require a co-payment for Medicaid-billed services rendered for non-emergency services by emergency departments.

HB 611 by LaBruzzo would test for illegal drugs recipients of cash assistance. (Similar companion bill: HB 617).

HB 743 by Rep. Cameron Henry would amend the Constitution to abolish the lieutenant governorship and transfer its functions elsewhere. (Similar/companion bill: HB 812, SB 604).

HB 767 by Speaker Jim Tucker would amend the Constitution to remove legislative approval of tuition and fee increases.

HB 779 by Pearson closes loopholes and attenuates sweetheart deals from taxpayers going to fund activities of the association of racehorse owners. (Similar/companion bills: HB 827, HB 1208, SB 354).

HB 905 by Rep. Harrison would increase TOPS qualifying standards.

HB 930 by Tucker would mandate new hires into state employment be entered into a defined contribution plan. (Similar/companion bill: HB 931).

HB 958 by Ligi would create a fairer system of computing defined benefit retirement payments.

HB 959 by Rep. Walker Hines potentially would create a fairer system of judging resource allocation for recipients of long-term health care through Medicaid.

HB 962 by Rep. Steven Carter would prevent obstinacy by local school boards from discouraging charter school applications.

HB 969 by Pearson would require school board members have a high school diploma or equivalency and be residents of the parish in which they would serve for a minimum of two years.

HB 996 by Tucker would consolidate higher education governance boards. (Similar/companion bill: HB 1224).

HB 1075 by Rep. Jim Fannin would have agencies report on their contracts let.

HB 1101 by Rep. John Schroder would prohibit appropriations to nongovernmental entities in times of forecast budgetary deficit.

HB 1171 by Tucker would grant broad authority to postsecondary institutions of higher learning if they achieve certain performance standards in the areas of tuition and retention of funding. (Similar/companion bill: SB 570).

HB 1179 by Ligi would allow the Board of Ethics to appeal certain decisions made by an Ethics Adjudication Board. (Similar/companion bill: HB 1202).

HB 1205 by Harrison would ensure that public benefits go only to those noncitizens that legally qualify for them.

HB 1212 by Rep. Jeff Arnold would allow local governments to publish official journals electronically and not required to do so in print.

HB 1226 by Smiley would abolish needless boards and commissions.

HB 1229 by Tucker would save resources by combining the governing boards of the major pension funds in the state.

SB 6 by Sen. A.G. Crowe would amend the Constitution to grant greater discretion to the governor to make budget cuts. (Similar/companion bills: HB 322, 352; SB 7, SB 391, SB 392; SB 463, SB 623).

SB 9 by Sen. Butch Gautreaux would make texting while driving illegal.

SB 78 by Crowe would amend the Constitution to extend civil liberties to unborn human beings

SB 164 by Sen. Edwin Murray would close a loophole that prohibited Louisiana wineries from shipping wine intrastate which put them at a competitive disadvantage.

SB 185 by Sen. Nick Gautreaux would amend the Constitution to prevent unpardoned felons convicted in other states or countries from qualifying for elective office.

SB 186 by Nick Gautreaux would amend the Constitution so that no tax by a local governing authority can pass without at least a third of registered voters vote in that election.

SB 332 by Sen. Troy Hebert would allow for a referendum process for state laws.

SB 348 by Sen. Rob Marionneaux would help breathing-impaired individuals by banning smoking in bars and gaming areas. (Similar/companion bill: SB 334).

SB 455 by Sen. Jack Donahue would sunset many dedicated funds in a couple of years which would require their review and reauthorization to continue.

SB 471 by Sen. Mike Michot would create a savings account for health care expenditures.

SB 521 by Sen. Buddy Shaw would clarify that only married couples as defined by the Louisiana Constitution or single individuals can be listed as parents on an amended adoptive birth certificate.

SB 534 by Hebert would apply Second Amendment freedoms to certain state areas.

SB 549 by Sen. Robert Adley would restrict law school clinics to prosecuting and defending criminal cases, representation in state juvenile court, and raising some constitutional challenges.

SB 550 by Sen. Mike Walsworth would protect absentee ballot security by requiring nonfamily members to bring only single ballots if hand delivered and to sign statements.

SB 606 by Sen. Danny Martiny would safeguard religious freedoms.

SB 608 by Sen. Dan Claitor would clarify federal nomination and general election procedures that would not force the state to spend much money in having primaries for non-major political parties.


HB 157 by Greene would hinder a governor’s ability to receive information about bills in pondering a veto by requiring agencies to notify the bill’s author of a request for a veto on their part.

HB 251 by Rep. Pat Smith would needlessly restrict choice for state superintendant.

HB 274 by Rep. Rogers Pope would mandate passing along stipends to nationally certified school employees as an obligation of state taxpayers regardless of the district in which the educators are employed. (Similar/companion bill: SB 489).

HB 292 by Greene would abandon the closed primary system for federal elections in favor of the blanket primary system.

HB 344 by Rep. Michael Jackson would discourage use of credit cards for payments except for government agencies.

HB 367 by Rep. Herbert Dixon would increase fees for applying for drivers’ licenses by a minimum of $2. (Similar/companion bill: HB 379).

HB 384 by Rep. Jack Montoucet would amend the Constitution to allow increased politicization of public safety forces.

HB 470 by Hardy would amend the Constitution to limit electoral choices of voters to people under 70.

HB 487 by Harrison would create a potentially politically-unworkable situation by mandating that the lieutenant governor serve as commissioner of administration.

HB 529 by Smith would mandate rather than make optional school districts teaching sexual education.

HB 566 by Rep Neil Abramson would create more bureaucracy and cost to government without effectively increasing transparency in requiring officials to separately report about their appointees who contributed at least $1,000 to their campaigns.

HB 650 by Rep. John Bel Edwards would needlessly constrain statewide elected officials in announcing or qualifying for candidacies to other offices (except for political parties) by requiring they resign their current office.

HB 658 by Rep. Harold Ritchie would undercut greater autonomy given to charter schools by forcing their teachers into the state’s Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana. (Similar/companion bill: SB 274).

HB 673 by Rep. Barbara Norton would give the theoretically and empirically flawed “comparable worth” policy the force of law. (Similar/companion bills: HB 832, SB 249)

HB 732 by Norton would reduce disciplinary options by schools with the prohibiting of corporal punishment.

HB 799 by Rep. Eddie Lambert would restrict checks and balances by allowing a legislative veto of a governor’s call to extraordinary session by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. (Similar/companion bill: HB 800).

HB 820 by Abramson would amend the Constitution to create an even greater straitjacket on budgeting by protecting higher education and health care funding. (Similar/companion bills: HB 1035, HB 1140).

HB 901 by Rep. Walter Leger would create for adopted children confusion by allowing unmarried cohabitating adults both to become adoptive parents of the same child.

HB 988 by Hardy would place an unreasonable burden on TANF recipients by forcing them to vote.

HB 1068 by Rep. Austin Badon would write into law a definition of graduate/completer of higher education that needlessly constrains the concept when applied to policy in the area of higher education so that it may not contribute validly to discussions of that policy.

HB 1110 by Rep. Juan LaFonta would decrease flexibility in times of forecasted budgetary deficit. (Similar/companion bill: HB 1112).

SB 1 by Pres. Joel Chaisson would amend the Constitution to change scope of the Budget Stabilization Fund to be applied to changes in federal as well as state funds (Similar/companion bills: SB 2, HB 1109, HB 1111).

SB 23 by Sen. John Alario would further narrow the tax base by doubling the homestead exemption.

SB 101 by Butch Gautreaux would make private voting for chamber leaders which would create difficulties in effective leadership (Similar/companion bill: SB 102).

SB 109 by Sen. Francis Thompson would create an even greater budgetary straitjacket concerning timber severance taxes.

SB 122 by Adley would amend the Constitution to give an unprecedented criminal prosecution authority to the attorney general, in cases of felony violations of campaign finance laws. (Similar/companion bill: SB 259).

SB 154 by J.P. Morrell would expand vastly the power of government to expropriate for any reason.

SB 225 by Sen. Eric LaFleur would create an additional burden on the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries by making it register voters.

SB 254 by Nick Gautreaux would needlessly restrict local government options in leasing or purchasing vehicles by requiring they be hybrid fuel or alternative fuel.

SB 272 by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey would constrain unnecessarily the tax refund anticipation marketplace.

SB 333 by Hebert would discourage free speech through forcing campaign contributions into a quasi-public financing regime. (Similar/companion bill: SB 431).

SB 432 by Marionneaux would bring back the hydrocarbon processing tax that would discourage such business in the state.

SB 464 by Hebert would create a confusing means by which to have a contingent term limitation placed on statewide officials.

SB 490 by Sen. Ben Nevers would encourage dumbing down secondary education standards by exempting career diploma students from passing regular end-of-course exams.

SB 491 by Nevers would constrain budgeting by forcing at least 2.75% annual increases into the Minimum Foundation Program regardless of factors such as enrollments.

SB 492 by Nevers would attempt to discourage charter schools by putting the needless burden of financial disclosure as with some government officials on the members of their governing boards

SB 505 by Sen. Lydia Jackson would use taxpayer dollars to pay for expenses of enrollees at public universities for students who have not demonstrated ability to be successful at that level.

SB 566 by Dorsey would impose arbitrary demographic quota-like requirements on any firm receiving any state economic development funds.


HB 62 by Abramson would limit gubernatorial and candidate choices for the lieutenancy governorship by mandating appointees in the case of a vacancy in the office with more than a year to go in the term not run for election for the full term; what public interest is served by this? (Similar/companion bills: SB 33; SB 325, SB 369, SB 370).

HB 103 by Hardy would ban the wearing of saggy pants; why does the Legislature need to deal with this?

HB 467 by Pearson states any cable TV provider would have to offer as an option to subscribers channels that show publicly-funded professional sports franchises; why is government getting involved in such a picayunish thing?

HB 922 by Rep. Jonathan Perry would extend daylight savings time permanently in Louisiana; why be different from other states in this time zone?

HB 1054 by Norton would require an “African American section” in each public library; why must this be a mandate?

SB 128 by Adley would ban the sale of “energy drinks” to those under 16; so children can go drink as much coffee as they want but they can’t buy this?.

SB 250 by Dorsey declares the tea cake as the official state cookie; do we need to waste time on this?

SB 653 by Hebert would limit local voters’ choices by not allowing those appointed to fill vacancies in these offices to run for the next election for them; where’s the public interest in this?