30 March 2013

The Good, Bad, and Ugly -- Prefiled bills for 2013 Regular Session

Welcome to the Louisiana Legislature Log’s coverage of the 2013 Regular Session, with the listing of the good, bad, and ugly prefiled bills. Starting in two weeks, updates will come on these on a weekly basis, as well as selective coverage of committee and floor action on them.

THE GOOD: HB 6 by Rep. John Schroder would present the opportunity for off-duty law enforcement officers to use weaponry on school grounds; HB 8 by Rep. Jeff Thompson would keep criminals from targeting defenseless households by prohibiting publishing whether a address was associated with a concealed carry permit; HB 21 by Rep. Henry Burns would make it more difficult for mentally ill individuals to possess firearms; HB 33 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would make it possible for entities under government jurisdiction to withdraw from state-run retirement programs if they pay off the unfunded accrued liabilities for the employees affected; HB 57 by Pearson would help shore up the badly underfunded major state retirement systems; HB 60 by Rep. Kirk Talbot would discourage double-dipping of retirement benefits received from the state while still employed by the state; HB 68 by Pearson clears up perceived ambiguities and problems with last year’s cash balance plan for pensions; HB 87 by Rep. Thomas Carmody would amend the Constitution to allow colleges to set tuition and fees without legislative approval; HB 88 by Rep. Simone Champagne would amend the Constitution to apply term limits to all statewide elected officials; HB 98 by Thompson would make it easier to obtain concealed handgun carry permits that apply to multiple parishes; HB 111 by Rep. Joe Harrison would expand marginally no smoking areas to within 25 feet of entrances to state-owned buildings (related bill: SB 36); HB 161 by Rep. Ted James would reduce the motion picture investor tax credit and make it ineligible for transfer; HB 162 by Pearson would amend the Constitution to provide more deliberation in deciding whether local authorities can raise property taxes and by how much; HB 178 by Talbot would repeal corporate and franchise taxes; HB 197 by Rep. Hunter Greene would encourage local governments to have available timely and accurate financial reporting; HB 217 by Rep. Jeff Arnold would allow the public to decide whether traffic camera enforcement occurs; HB 331 by Greene would allow property taxes collected on the first $10,000 in valuation then exempt the next $75,000; HB 333 by Talbot would eliminate the corporate franchise tax (similar bill: HB 379); HB 347 by Talbot would repeal the income and franchise tax credit for ad valorem taxes paid to political subdivisions on inventory; SB 401 by Rep. Steve Carter would give universities more flexibility to increase tuition in the future; HB 402 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh would clarify legitimate suits for employment discrimination; HB 441 by Rep. Joel Robideaux would eliminate corporate income and franchise taxation; HB 444 by Rep. Roy Burrell would cause a number of tax credits to sunset by 2016 unless reenacted after study of their consequences (similar bill: HB 587); HB 509 by Carter increases Taylor Opportunity Programs for Scholars’ requirements; HB 525 by Rep. Lance Harris introduced more accountability and efficiency into cash-based welfare programs; HB 528 by Rep. Ray Garofalo would amend the Constitution to create a single higher education governing board; HB 535 by Schroder would amend the Constitution to create a more flexible version of the Budget Stabilization Fund; HB 541 by Rep. Scott Simon would increase access to and encourage provision of effective teachers; HB 552 by Seabaugh would remove forced deduction for union dues to state and some local government employees; HB 582 by Simon would help reduce illegal use of handicapped parking spaces; HB 586 by Talbot would impose a flat tax of 1.9 percent on all individual income over $12,500; HB 639 by Robideaux would repeal individual income taxes; HB 644 by Rep. Lenar Whitney would better connect teacher salary to performance; HB 649 by Rep. Barry Ivey would restore party primaries for elections to Congress; HB 666 by Pearson would use Minimum Foundation Program money to put the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana on more solid funding; SB 1 by Sen. Dan Claitor would get around a loophole regarding fiscal matters in even-numbered years of legislative sessions; SB 4 by Sen. Elbert Guillory would create a more realistic assessment of state pension obligations; SB 11 by Guillory will shore up underfunded state pension funds and provide a greater opportunity to have pay raises and cost of living adjustments granted; SB 17 by Guillory would address the same issues without the new mechanism as created in SB 11; SB 20 by Sen. Bret Allain would increase notification requirements for certain tax increases contemplated by local governments; SB 31 by Claitor would increase accountability in the awarding of scholarships by members of higher education management boards; SB 45 by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb would merge Baton Rouge area technical schools into its community college; SB 90 by Sen. Fred Mills would increase women’s when they undergo abortion; SB 105 by Sen. A.G. Crowe would amend the Constitution to discourage assessors from levying artificially high amounts (similar bill: HB 514); SB 118 by Sen. Conrad Appel would grant greater ability of the Board of Regents to direct and to control spending; SB 165 by Sen. Danny Martiny would improve the Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit program by tightening up on eligible funds that would apply; SB 194 by Sen. Mike Walsworth eliminates income taxation on persons, corporations, trusts, and estates; SB 233 by Sen. Neil Riser would create a uniform, state-based single collection unit for sales taxes at all levels of state government. (NOTE: There are a series of House bills that are intended to reenact the parts of Act 1 of 2012 if it is declared unconstitutional in whole this spring; if so, these will be added to the list of good bills).

THE BAD: HB 4 by Rep. Barbara Norton would increase the chances of deadly violence against homeowners by rendering protective firearms more difficult to use; HB 24 by Rep. Sherman Mack would exempt uselessly schools districts from fuel taxes for their buses; HB 35 by Rep. Regina Barrow would create an unwise exception for some state employees making them eligible for retirement benefits earlier; HB 85 by Rep. Austin Badon would add needless extra regulation to human resources administration in state government; HB 110 by Norton would force the state into a bad financial decision regarding Medicaid expansion (similar bills: HB 233, HB 449, SB 125); HB 115 by James would make more difficult the use of remediation by the state to increase the quality of failing schools; HB 116 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would enable local education authorities to work at cross-purposes with the state in textbook assignments and reduce options for parents in creating an optimal learning environment for children; HB 141 by Badon would put needless restrictions on the ownership on any firearm; HB 160 by Rep. Gene Reynolds would delay needlessly implementation of reforms to improve elementary and secondary education teaching; HB 174 by Arnold would permit generous salary increases to the generous salaries to elected clerks of court in times of tight budgets; HB 175 by Rep. Pat Smith would allow felons to vote who had yet to complete their entire sentence (similar bill: HB 458); HB 179 by Burns would allow job-killing taxes to fund a private sports foundation; HB 206 by Reynolds effectively would prevent realigning of school districts (similar bill: HB 647); HB 235 by Badon would increase tobacco taxes but then dedicate them to new, needless spending (similar bills: HB 417, HB 537; HB 623); HB 240 by Rep. Kenny Havard largely duplicates existing Civil Service and Legislature duties (similar bill: HB 519); HB 249 by Rep. Dee Richard would weaken incentives to improve educational performance; HB 284 by Rep. Stephen Ortego would introduce inefficiency into state health care provision; HB 343 by Rep. John Bel Edwards would weaken accountability standards in education; HB 352 by Harrison would create unneeded extra bureaucracy in the area of elderly affairs policy; HB 387 by Schroder would be superfluous and its vagueness would produce a chilling effect on optimal executive branch personnel practices; HB 438 by Robideaux would add sales taxes to gasoline; HB 445 by Rep. Eddie Lambert would force a deposit to be paid on beverage containers redeemed only by submission for recycling; HB 464 by Rep. Marcus Hunter would reduce disincentives to commit crime by having the state pay workers compensation to the incarcerated; HB 467 by Edwards would hamstring without good cause charter schools in providing quality education; HB 476 by Rep. Jared Brossett would levy a state tax on automobile rentals; HB 529 by Barrow would tax single-use grocery bags; HB 584 by Smith would try to impose state personnel standards on non-state virtual education providers; HB 625 by Rep. Randal Gaines would weaken teacher accountability laws by allowing ineffective teachers to be locked into tenure; SB 22 by Sen. Ben Nevers would reduce statewide discretion in apportioning costs between state and local governments (related bills: SB 29; HB 531); SB 26 by Sen. Karen Peterson would discourage creative thinking and academic freedom in the teaching of science; SB 33 by Sen. Troy Brown would mandate wasting resource with unnecessary reporting; SB 41 by Sen. Bob Kostelka would add an elected state superintendent to a mostly-elected Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that would fragment policy-making power needlessly; SB 61 by Sen. Blade Morrish would except certain elected officials needlessly from some ethics laws; SB 63 by Mills would permit generous salary increases to elected assessors in times of tight budgets; SB 68 by Peterson would create a comparable worth pay regime that seeks to change an illusory wage gap between men and women (similar bills: HB 453, SB 153); SB 215 by Sen. David Heitmeier would force state taxpayers to subsidize underused New Orleans ferries; SB 235 by Sen. Francis Thompson would duplicate oversight efforts with state-owned hospitals. (Note: sales tax increase bills were not included as it is likely they would be linked to other tax cuts listed as good bills. If they were to become unlinked, these would be added to the list of bad bills.)

THE UGLY: SB 195 by Sen. Rick Gallot would allow a Grant Parish unelected body to levy sales taxes for economic development purposes; HB 23 by Rep. Richie Burford would give clerks of court in several parishes a bonus by paying for a car allowance for them – why is this needed; HB 77 by Rep. Frankie Howard would take a tenth of the low alcohol beer tax and have for spending on medical expenses of wounded veterans; the cause may be good, but it creates another inflexible dedication and more bureaucracy; HB 106 by Rep. Gordon Dove would allow an unelected body to increase occupancy taxes; HB 200 by Rep. Andy Anders would change regulations concerning landscape architects; why are they regulated in the first place? HB 231 by Rep. Vincent Pierre would create an entire new local government just to tax car rentals and shovel the proceeds to a special interest (similar bill: HB 463); HB 267 by Rep. Bob Hensgens needlessly interjects the state into the issue-of-the-millennium concerning the structure of high school football playoffs; HB 416 by Rep. Patrick Connick would have tax returns allow for donations to put decorative lights on a bridge; HB 522 by Rep. Katrina Jackson creates a costly special election in 2013 for no good reason; HB 602 by Ortego would have birth certificates produced also in “La. French.”

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