08 March 2014

The Good, Bad, and Ugly -- 2014 Regular Session prefiled bills

Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Louisiana Legislature Log. As always, we begin the year with the prefiled good, bad, and ugly bills of which the first two categories fill the bulk of the tracking list for this regular session. Of note, in the 10 years the Log has reviewed prefiled bills, this by far is the most that were deemed relevant, and significantly more bad than good bills also were cited.

THE GOOD: HB 25 by Rep. Kirk Talbot would remove special retirement privileges for future teacher union officials (similar bills: HB 45, HB 81); HB 74 by Rep. Dee Richard would eliminate the ability of officials to grant free tuition scholarships to Tulane University (similar bill: SB 420); HB 80 by Rep. Gregory Miller would provide for less risky investment by state and statewide pension funds; HB 86 by Rep. Barry Ivey would divert resources to better fund pension systems; HB 141 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would facilitate introduction of retirement bills; HB 172 by Talbot would remove the state as dues collector for unions (similar bills: HB 451; SB 440); HB 191 by Pearson would increase accountability of school superintendents; HB 225 by Rep. Simone Champagne would increase accountability of organizations with funds received from state appropriations (similar bill: HB 434); HB 265 by Miller would disallow using campaign funds to fund a vehicle; HB 305 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would prohibit abortion providers from drumming up business in schools; HB 313 by Champagne would amend the Constitution to put term limits on statewide elected officials; HB 328 by Rep. Joe Lopinto would increase options for the state to carry out capital sentences; HB 334 by Richard would prevent scholarships given by higher education board members; HB 373 by Rep. Steve Carter would shorten every other legislative session and limit the number of bill to be introduced then; HB 388 by Rep. Katrina Jackson would increase safety of abortions performed; HB 452 by Talbot would prevent public servants from using resources of their office to advocate for or against an issue; HB 521 by Ivey would reinstitute primary elections for federal office; HB 587 by Rep. Thomas Carmody would amend the Constitution to increase budgetary flexibility; HB 588 by Carter would amend the Constitution to allow added qualifications to member of higher education boards (similar bill: HB 696); HB 590 by Rep. Lance Harris would amend the Constitution to prohibit public funding of most abortions; HB 648 by Rep. Nancy Landry would make it more difficult for public bodies to conduct business effectively without following open meetings laws (similar bill: HB 650); HB 651 by Landry would provide a backstop to restore contested changes education personnel policies (similar bills: HB 652; HB 653); HB 663 by Rep. Joel Robideaux would eliminate loopholes in the ongoing tax amnesty; HB 664 by Rep. John Schroder would increase reasonably accountability for organizations receiving state money; HB 707 by Rep. Ray Garafalo would increase school safety; HB 725 by Ivey would eliminate corporate welfare for newspapers (similar bill: HB 806); HB 774 by Rep. Rob Shadoin would increase course options for more students; HB 817 by Landry would create a parent trigger process; HB 874 by Stuart Bishop would bring greater transparency to legal actions and expenditures by state agencies; HB 876 by Seabaugh expands school education to include winter seasonal holidays; HB 923 by Ivey increases local government transparency; HB 943 by Richard would allow for more efficient revenue collection and planning by higher education; HB 952 by Rep. Lenar Whitney would require drug testing of some means-tested benefit recipients; HB 961 by Rep. Steve Pylant would require recognition of speed trap areas; HB 1013 by Rep. Clay Schexnayder would terminate unnecessary boards; HB 1023 by Speaker Chuck Kleckley would raise TOPS standards. SB 4 by Sen. Barrow Peacock would put the retirement system for firefighters on more solid footing; SB 62 by Sen. Conrad Appel would create a common application for higher education admission; SB 79 by Sen. Robert Adley would create a nomination system to major state flood control districts that would reduce unaccountable board actions; SB 146 by Sen. A.G. Crowe would amend the Constitution to allow for greater flexibility in tackling projected budget deficits; SB 177 by Appel would bring greater coordination to higher education spending; SB 200 by Sen. Bret Allain would require a critical minimum of registered voters to approve local government debt assumption or taxation (similar bill: SB 201, SB 517) SB 210 by Sen. Rick Ward would raise the burden of proof for traffic convictions (similar bills: HB 499: HB 631; HB 801; HB 896); SB 312 by Crowe would give parents greater input into monitoring their children’s education (similar bill: HB 591); SB 337 by Appel would launch development of an outcomes-based formula to assess higher education performance; SB 340 by Sen. Jack Donahue would control Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars costs (similar bill: HB 385; HB 510); SB 343 by Donahue would amend the Constitution to give higher education control over setting tuition and fees; SB 354 by Sen. Bodi White would amend the Constitution to automatically fund existing school districts (similar bills: HB 491, HB 492); SB 361 by Sen. Neil Riser would allow for peace officers to carry concealed weapons wherever; SB 394 by Sen. J.-P. Morrell would prevent service on state boards if owing an ethics fine of more than $250; SB 415 by Sen. Dan Claitor would construct an initial framework to pare redundant judgeships; SB 432 by Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington would increase accessibility for legitimate users of service animals; SB 445 by Crowe would pare two unnecessary judgeships from Orleans Parish Juvenile Court; SB 449 by Appel would protect family data in the process of student testing (similar bills: HB 378; HB 384; HB 555; SB 536); SB 459 by Claitor would prohibit contingency fee contracts for the Department of Health and Hospitals; SB 469 by Adley would create safeguards against government subdivisions initiating judicial action without proper cause vetted by the state (similar bills: HB 855; HB 862; SB 531, SB 546; SB 547; SB 553); SB 484 by White would increase flexibility in delivering education in East Baton Rouge Parish; SB 521 by Ward would protect against birth surrogacy actions; SB 551 by Peacock would remove an abusive practice allowed to unions in strike actions (similar bill: HB 922).

THE BAD:  HB 88 by Rep. Regina Barrow would amend the Constitution to lock without discretion a portion of surpluses into increasing pensions for retirees (similar bill: HB 90); HB 96 by Rep. John Bel Edwards would amend the Constitution to increase the possibility for lifetime judges (similar bill: SB 11); HB 101 by Edwards would impose artificial restrictions on charter school hiring (similar bill: HB 124); HB 108 by Schroder would restrict inappropriately managerial powers of executive branch officials; HB 111 by Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger would allow taxes to be raised in Orleans Parish; HB 112 by Richard would hamper legislator interaction in their districts during sessions; HB 121 by Richard would create a chilling effect on executive branch negotiation and discussion in policy-making (similar bill: SB 466); HB 125 by Rep. Joe Harrison would amend the Constitution to create duplicative state educational executives (similar bills: HB 127; HB 246; HB 342; HB 343); HB 128 by Rep. Kenny Havard would create unwarranted disincentives to efficient state government (similar bill: HB 662); HB 129 by Havard would create unwarranted disincentives to efficient charter school operation; HB 142 by Richard would introduce artificial constraints and increase state liability in contracting; HB 152 by Harrison would introduce an inefficient reorganization of the executive branch; HB 161 by Rep. Major Thibault would put a chilling effect on political communication; HB 174 by Rep. Jared Brossett would amend the Constitution to have taxpayers pay more for worse outcomes in the state’s Medicaid program (similar bills: HB 240, HB 261; HB 290; HB 536; HB 759; SB 77; SB 96; SB 107); HB 175 by Richard would encourage an unaccountable and politicized redistricting process (similar bill: HB 627); HB 187 by Lopinto would insert the state into encouraging destruction of human life; HB 199 by Rep. Austin Badon would create state regulations in commerce for actions and attitudes beyond those related to free speech or religious belief (similar bills: HB 804; HB 871; HB 887; SB 164; SB 424); HB 205 by Champagne would induce inappropriate legislative micromanagement of the executive branch; HB 217 by Rep. Pat Smith would disallow employers from requesting relevant information from job applicants (similar bill: HB 485; HB 813; HB 849); HB 222 by Leger would amend the Constitution to create unnecessary restriction of budgetary options; HB 237 by Rep. Sherman Mack would to increase the possibility for lifetime constables; HB 249 by Rep. Ed Price would create a child care entitlement; HB 260 by Rep. Kenny Cox would lower TOPS award standards (similar bills: HB 760; HB 977); HB 268 by Rep. Gene Reynolds would place an artificial standard on parental voucher use (similar bill: HB 836); HB 270 by Reynolds would make it easier for governments to raise taxes without adequate public notice; HB 283 by Smith would make it easier for felons to vote; HB 309 by Smith would encourage violation of motor vehicle laws (similar bill: HB 310); HB 322 by Rep. Sam Jones would duplicate Louisiana Register services already provided; HB 359 by Harrison would needlessly suspend school accountability measures (similar bill: HB 423); HB 360 by Harrison would reduce state funding flexibility; HB 374 by Rep. Brett Geymann would reduce coordination on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; HB 375 by Geymann would promote less accountability in education delivery; HB 377 by Geymann would lead to excessive legislative micromanagement of education delivery (similar bill: HB 380: HB 554); HB 424 by Rep. Ledricka Thierry would add to the burden of the Legislative Auditor to perform a task already required by federal law of state funds recipients (similar bill: HB 626); HB 490 by Geymann would amend the Constitution to place a supermajority requirement on funds transfer from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and Budget Stabilization Fund but the ballot wording is disingenuous; HB 501 by Rep. Wesley Bishop would allow people too young to vote; HB 516 by Rep. Marcus Hunter would deemphasize behavior in legislative consideration of future criminal legislation; HB 545 by Barrow would put too stringent of penalties on rental property with toxic mold; HB 556 by Rep. Cameron Henry would without sufficient justification halt implementation a more rigorous, non-federal-driven school curriculum (similar bills: HB 557; HB 559); HB 592 by Hunter would reduce state discretion in minimum wage policy (similar bill: HB 644); HB 596 by Rep. Neil Abramson would limit both legislative and executive discretion in making spending priorities (similar bill: HB 604); HB 601 by Abramson would cause delays in providing potentially life-threatening health care services; HB 703 by Edwards would allow operation of substandard schools if other schools in the district perform better; HB 757 by Norton would reduce incentives for civil service reform and legislative discretion; HB 777 by Smith would weaken school discipline; HB 826 by Wesley Bishop would increase crime; HB 846 by Henry would introduce too much legislative micromanagement into contracting; HB 858 by Barrow would introduce too much legislative micromanagement into staffing levels; HB 1017 by Edwards would create selectively an arbitrary employment burden. SB 46 by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb would provide for a job-killing minimum wage (similar bills: HB 356; HB 382; HB 589; HB 645; HB 646; HB 969; SB 123); SB 50 by Nevers would create a preschool entitlement; SB 60 by Sen. Rick Gallot would sow confusion in voter registration by political party; SB 70 by Claitor would discourage critical thinking in science education (similar bill: SB 175); SB 84 by Nevers would reduce options for borrowers (similar bill: HB 685); SB 94 by Gallot would make acquisition of teacher tenure less demanding (similar bill: HB 982); SB 109 by Adley would reduce budgetary flexibility in times of deficit; SB 126 by Nevers would increase TOPS spending; SB 160 by Sen. Edwin Murray would allow special privileging for people married outside the state outside its definition of marriage; SB 162 by Murray would discourage charter school formation; SB 283 by Sen. Troy Brown would place more financial regulation over small business; SB 322 by Murray would introduce wasteful comparable worth standards into private sector hiring (similar bills: HB 658; HB 908; HB 956; SB 334; SB 443; SB 548); SB 364 by Nevers would reintroduce too much subjectivity into evaluating teachers (similar bill: HB 890; HB 947; HB 995); SB 411 by Morell would institute a needless $6,000 a year additional taxpayer liability for each emergency medical service personnel; SB 512 by Sen. David Heitmeier would force restaurants to provide nutritional information the expenses of which would be passed on to consumers; SB 554 by Sen. Gary Smith would place arbitrary pricing constraints on insurers.

THE UGLY: HB 98 by Rep. Patrick Williams would change allocation of tax dollars going from one private group to another – why; HB 367 by Reynolds would carve out another dedication – for weed control in a local area; HB 425 by Rep. Andy Anders creates a tourism district in Vidalia with the power to tax; HB 459 by Rep. Jeff Arnold creates a loophole for very specific lobbyists; HB 675 by Hunter creates a minimum wage for a local government – no reason to dictate to them (similar bills: HB 676; HB 677); HB 699 by Rep. Greg Cromer would carve out an exception to official journal laws – the whole idea needs to be scrapped (similar bills: HB 785; HB 787); HB 746 by Rep. Helena Moreno would prohibit minors for paying for using tanning equipment – is this really necessary; HB 792 by Reynolds would fund a car expense for an assessor; SB 28 by Heitmeier would create special room in state buildings for breastfeeding – why pay more to segregate mothers and imply they should hide to do it; SB 31 by Brown would use taxpayer resources to spoonfeed a report to legislators they could get on their own (similar bill: SB 36) SB 152 by Sen. John Smith would increase the membership of a board in DeRidder to 10 – why is this even a matter of state law and so important; SB 206 by Smith would make the mayhaw the state fruit tree; SB 213 by Ward would make the American Paint horse the official state horse; SB 262 by Nevers would allow members of a utility board in Washington Parish to get paid; SB 549 by Gallot adjusts the salaries of firefighters in Bastrop and for an Indian tribe.

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