23 April 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly -- Prefiled bills for 2011

Welcome to coverage of the 2011 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. As always, we start with the listing of the good, the bad, and the ugly bills prefiled to the start of the session. A few more may find their way onto the lists before filing ends in the near future.

HB 7 by Rep. John LaBruzzo would randomly test a fifth of applicants to receive assistance through the state’s main cash-based welfare program during the application process; HB 25 by Rep. Dee Richard would allow universities to charge for as many as 15 credit hours per semester (similar bill: HB 448); HB 31 by Rep. Ricky Hardy would require a minimum 2.0 grade point average to participate in athletics in grades 6-12; HB 55 by Rep. Ladricka Thierry would prohibit use of certain social networking outlets by sex offenders; HB 59 by Rep. Joe Harrison would increase enforceability of laws preventing use of state benefits by illegal aliens (similar bill: HB 367); HB 127 by Rep. Greg Cromer would shorten voting hours and increase efficiency in election administration; HB 173 by Rep. Simone Champagne would limit compensation to state higher education officials relative to their peers in other states; HB 175 by Rep. Kirk Talbot would make employers verify through integrated software citizenship status of applicants and allow for enforcement of immigrant worker status by state and local authorities (similar bill: HB 411, SB 66); HB 203 by Rep. Brett Geymann would cap without further approval executive branch salaries at more than 120 percent of the governor’s; HB 211 by Geymann would limit the expenditure level for growth for state spending to three percent (similar bill: HB 226); HB 238 by Rep. Eddie Lambert would create a fund in which money presently going from fees on vehicles to the general fund would go roads spending; HB 239 by Rep. Walker Hines would do away with individual and corporate income taxes but also remove exemptions to the tax code (similar bill: HB 242); HB 277 by Rep. Patrick Williams would provide for a monument to the Ten Commandments to be built at the Capitol without using state funds; HB 286 by Hines would allow declaring nonrecurring budget surpluses to be returned to taxpayers (similar bill: HB 309); HB 332 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would bring more professionalism to managing certain retirement systems (similar bill: HB 426); HB 347 by Rep. Jeff Arnold would require local approval if a government uses traffic enforcement cameras (similar bill: SB 75); HB 377 by Pearson would not give special treatment to certain legislators with their retirement payments; HB 384 by Pearson would amend the constitution to contribute at least 10 percent of nonrecurring revenues to be dedicated to paying down unfunded accrued liabilities of retirement systems (similar bill: HB 435); HB 391 by Speaker Jim Tucker would consolidate higher education management boards into one (similar bills: HB 589, SB 140, SB 251); HB 413 by Rep. Ernest Wooton would allow holders of concealed weapons permits to carry a handgun on college campuses; HB 415 by Rep. Joe Lopinto would no longer force legal proceedings to administer penalties for parole and probation violations; HB 440 by Rep. Rickey Burford would tighten standards for employers of health care direct service workers; HB 479 by Talbot would increase state employee contributions for retirement (Similar bill: HB 530); HB 509 by Rep. Nita Hutter would change presidential preference primary election dates not to be in conflict with major political party bylaws; HB 526 by Rep. Joel Robideaux would make uniform tuition charged at community colleges and technical schools; HB 527 by Rep. Kay Katz would allow interest in funds to be used in deficit situations (similar bill: SB 137); HB 537 by Tucker would merge Southern University New Orleans with the University of New Orleans (similar bill: SB 183); HB 545 by Rep. Henry Burns would facilitate privatization and sale of prisons; HB 549 by Tucker would grant more autonomy to universities with tightened standards; HB 586 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would increase awareness of the legal aspects of abortion; HB 587 by LaBruzzo would create a test case regarding states’ rights in regulating abortion by banning it; HB 590 by Rep. Thomas Carmody would streamline housing service provision by the state (similar bill: SB 249); SB 4 by Sen. Buddy Shaw would reverse the state’s contributing to a police employee’s retirement after that level reaches 100 percent of salary to have the employee pay into it; SB 13 by Sen. Rob Marionneaux encourages utilization of certain state-supported charter schools by increasing tax deductibility of expenses; SB 76 by Sen. Danny Martiny would remove artificially-inflated costs from state contracting;  SB 108 by Sen. Neil Riser would allow tax elections to occur only when other statewide or federal elections occur; SB 113 by Sen. A.G. Crowe would provide more flexibility in budgeting through increased use of funds already dedicated (similar bills: SB 114; SB 131); SB 133 by Marionneaux increases liberty of those adversely affected by smoking by reducing public venues that permit it; SB 138 by Marionneaux would make the Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars into a loan forgiveness program; SB 144 by Sen. Mike Walsworth would mandate review of dedicated funds.

HB 15 by Richard would limit state budgeting efficiency by capping the amount of contracts let by the state; HB 63 by Rep. Harold Ritchie would raise taxes on cigarettes substantially; HB 82 by Rep. Rosalind Jones would deprive voters of useful information on ballots for state and local office; HB 84 by Rep. Pat Smith would decrease coordination of education policy and subject its membership to a quota system (similar bill: HB 96); HB 99 by Rep. Regina Barrow would force quotas on appointments to the Board of Regents; HB 210 by Rep. Juan LaFonta would deprive employers of obtaining useful information on job applications; HB 222 by Rep. Jared Brossett would mandate an additional and unneeded legislative committee to pressure for quotas in appointments to state panels; HB 306 by Richard would force inflexible requirements on numbers in the state workforce creating staffing problems; HB 313 by Rep. Scott Simon would waste tax dollars on unnecessary requirements regarding breastfeeding and lactation; HB 320 by Rep. Barbara Norton would needlessly and artificially raise wages based on the flawed “comparable worth” ideology; HB 338 by Rep. Charmiane Stiaes would create an unenforceable ban on use of cell phones while driving; HB 359 by Rep. Jim Fannin would create another class of temporary legislators (similar bill: SB 136); HB 385 by Rep. Reed Henderson would raise the homestead exemption and index it; HB 388 by Rep. Nickie Monica would commit the state to cast Electoral College ballots to the popular vote winner of presidential contests and moot the actual College results (similar bill: SB 126); HB 412 by Lambert would create more bureaucracy by requiring deposits on drink containers sold;  HB 422 by Henderson would raise taxes on petroleum transport in the state and depress the industry (similar bill: HB 436); HB 483 by Rep. Hollis Downs would raise fees and shunt them to roads construction instead of using existing revenue streams to do so (similar bill: HB 546); HB 496 by Barrow would create more and unnecessary bureaucracy regarding the reporting of campaign contributions; HB 566 by Robideaux would create a gimmick local government in order to raise taxes; HB 577 by Rep. Wesley Bishop would impede ability to merge higher education institutions by creating an absurdly long process for doing so; SB 6 by Sen. Butch Gautreaux would discourage fixing the state’s retirement system by changing to a defined contribution system; SB 12 by Gautreaux would attempt an insufficient fix for state retirement systems; SB 69 by Sen. Ben Nevers would add to an already overbuilt technical and community college system; SB 70 by Sen. Karen Peterson would reduce options in teaching science education thoroughly; SB 81 by Sen. Fred Mills creates corporate welfare for the restaurant industry; SB 147 by Pres. Joel Chaisson would make the Budget Stabilization Fund easier to raid (similar bill: SB 171); SB 191 by Sen. Lydia Jackson would further reduce flexibility significantly in the budgeting process (similar bill: SB 228); SB 211 by Sen. Arthur Morrell would create a new protected class in state employment through duplicative legislation; SB 215 by Sen. Edward Murray would supplement existing corporate welfare provisions and interjects Legislative involvement in doling it out.

HB 35 by Stiaes would create an additional organization privileged in the tax code; HB 246 by Simon would give the state not just an official gemstone, but an official mineral; HB 425 by Stiaes would create another retirement system rather than pursue consolidation; HB 551 by Rep. Patrick Connick creates another new and unnecessary commission; SB 19 by Sen. Joe McPherson would increase payments to a local district that does little; SB 29 by Sen. John Alario would create an additional organization privileged in the tax code (similar bill: SB 51).

And so the fun begins. Check back every week for progress on good and bad bills, and during the week for coverage of committee hearings and floor debate, until the session mercifully ends.

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