12 April 2015

The Good, Bad, and Ugly -- 2015 prefiled regular session bills

Welcome as the Louisiana Legislature Log enters its second decade of service. It’s an election year, so anything can happen as far as legislation. And so with the prefiled versions we take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.

THE GOOD: HB 15 by Rep. Bob Hensgens requires parental approval of a school survey before administration to their children; HB 60 by Rep. Thomas Carmody would amend the Constitution to abolish duplicative higher education governance; HB 61 by Carmody would amend the Constitution to remove legislative oversight of tuition and fee levels (companion bill: HB 66; similar bill HB 168; SB 155); HB 74 by Rep. Dee Richard would increase competitiveness in bidding for some state contracts; HB 78 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh would amend the Constitution to remove income requirements preventing homesteads of the disabled from receiving a special exemption; HB 115 by Rep. Mike Danahay would grant relief to election commissioners and registrars’ offices on election days for congressional contests; HB 122 by Rep. Erich Ponti would change election of Baton Rouge judges to an at-large method; HB 131 by Rep. Johnny Bertholet would prohibit recalled officials from running in the next election for their previous office; HB 235 by Rep. Jeff Arnold would clarify and streamline incorporation of municipalities; HB 254 by Rep. Jay Morris would reduce corporate income taxes; HB 264 by Jay Morris broaden and reduce individual income taxes (similar bill: HB 312); HB 279 by Rep. Lance Harris would accelerate ending the solar energy tax credit (similar bills: HB 454, HB 480, HB 510, HB 557); HB 294 by Rep. Stuart Bishop would extend financial disclosure to judges and justices of the peace; HB 403 by Rep. Julie Stokes would repeal the corporate franchise tax; HB 418 by Stuart Bishop gets government out of the business of being the unpaid collector of union dues (similar bills: HB 512, SB 204); HB 505 by Rep. Barry Ivey would increase school accountability and quality by the abolishment of teacher tenure; HB 520 by Hensgens would amend the Constitution to prevent granting tax exceptions by the state when state revenues are not forecast to increase over the coming year; HB 523 by Rep. John Schroder would amend the Constitution to give greater flexibility to budgeting (similar bill: SB 196); HB 524 by Rep. Darrell Ourso would amend the Constitution to make it easier for citizens to create independent school districts; HB 538 by Rep. Valarie Hodges would allow only individuals legally in the U.S. to receive public benefits; HB 550 by Rep. Ledricka Thierry would reduce individual income tax rates (similar bill: HB 642, HB 776); HB 598 by Rep. Franklin Foil would give preferential tax treatment to persons with disabilities for certain expenditures; HB 600 by Rep. Paul Hollis would prohibit district shopping by candidates for the Public Service Commission; HB 616 by Stokes would amend the Constitution to allow local taxation of motor fuels (similar bills: HB 621, HB 639); HB 662 by Rep. Steven Carter would clarify and strengthen content standards in education; HB 689 by Rep. Bryan Adams would provide stable funding to the Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars and coastal restoration from nonrecurring revenues; HB 701 by Rep. Lenar Whitney would prohibit killing the unborn merely because of their sex; HB 707 by Rep. Mike Johnson would protect religious liberty; HB 749 by Rep. Roy Burrell would require study of the effects of many tax credits; SB 1 by Sen. Bret Allain would clarify legal distinctions among parties involving levees; SB 8 by Sen. Gerald Long provides additional protection to the unborn; SB 13 by Sen. Barrow Peacock would bring greater solvency to the Firefighters Retirement System; SB 18 by Sen. Robert Adley would allow higher education systems to transition to a defined contributions retirement plan;  SB 34 by Sen. Page Cortez would establish a civics knowledge testing requirement for high school graduation; SB 48 by Sen. Jack Donahue would decouple TOPS awards from tuition (similar bill: HB 675); SB 68 by Sen. Sherri Buffington would extend the moratorium on nursing home beds; SB 69 by Sen. Ben Nevers would have Louisiana pay for some college remedial coursework if needed for one of its public high school graduates; SB 80 by Sen. Elbert Guillory would amend the Constitution to establish in law personhood at conception; SB 85 by Adley would amend the Constitution to abolish the inventory tax at the local level and prohibit compensating for that loss of revenue by raising other assessments (similar bills: HB 236, HB 238, HB 613, HB 614, SB 89); SB 91 by Adley would make many tax credits nonrefundable (similar bills: HB 230, HB 366); SB 95 by Sen. J.P. Morrell would attenuate the open-ended nature of the Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit (similar bills: HB 213, HB 276, HB 535, HB 548, HB 569, HB 604, HB 633, HB 660, HB 704, HB 735, HB 748, HB 763, SB 96, SB 98, SB 99, SB 100, SB 101, SB 102, SB 103, SB 104, SB 105, SB 106, SB 232, SB 266); SB 119 by Sen. Jonathan Perry would limit the number of constitutional amendments that may appear on a ballot; SB 122 by Adley would increase the base amount of the mineral revenues prior to diversion to the Budget Stabilization Fund; SB 133 by Peacock would expand Second Amendment rights; SB 175 by Sen. Conrad Appel nudges study of the state’s higher education structure; SB 187 by Sen. Dan Claitor would end the wasteful alternative fuel tax credit; SB 201 by Sen. Rick Gallot would amend the Constitution to allow for initiatives; SB 222 by Donahue would provide more information for better decision-making concerning tax incentives (similar bill: HB 646).

THE BAD: HB 21 by Rep. John Bel Edwards would limit school choice in higher-performing districts; HB 22 by Hensgens would impair needlessly school accountability measures; HB 30 by Richard would reduce budgetary flexibility by creating another dedicated fund (similar bills: HB 768, SB 160); HB 32 by Richard would amend the Constitution to remove legislative discretion in having a veto session; HB 43 by Rep. Bernard LeBas would encourage greater retirement costs to taxpayers for teachers; HB 55 by Rep. Harold Ritchie would amend the Constitution to raise taxes and result in higher consumer prices on petroleum and loss of jobs in that industry (similar bill: SB 15); HB 59 by Adams would amend the Constitution to narrow unwisely the tax base; HB 70 by Rep. Walt Leger would increase the wasteful earned income tax credit; HB 77 by Ritchie would amend the Constitution unwisely to include a narrow and unpredictable tax for purposes not directly related to health care expenses associated with the activity being taxed (similar bills: HB 224, HB 382, HB 407, HB 427, HB 487, HB 515, HB 544, SB 128); HB 87 by Rep. Barbara Norton would overregulate private sector pay practices for a problem that doesn’t exist (similar bill: SB 219); HB 90 by Ritchie would raise taxes without corresponding broad-based rate reduction (similar bills: HB 182,  HB 262, HB 263, HB 266; HB 434; HB 509; HB 513; HB 551, HB 553, HB 565, HB 584, HB 606, HB 616, HB 624, HB 629, HB 630, HB 713, HB 723, HB 724, HB 727, HB 747, HB 755, HB 757, HB 759, HB 764, SB 124; SB 125); HB 100 by Rep. Ed Price would too aggressively remove archival material about criminal outcomes; HB 113 by Rep. Regina Barrow would interfere with data collection for school accountability; HB 119 by Ritchie would raise cigarette taxation without adequate constraints on uses of the proceeds (similar bills: HB 148, HB 252); HB 129 by Rep. Patrick Jefferson would increase taxpayer subsidization only for two historically black universities and colleges (companion bill: HB 171); HB 132 by Rep. Henry Burns would create an enforcement, regulatory, and liability nightmare for establishments licensed to serve alcohol; HB 137 by Rep. Kenny Havard would place counterproductive constraints on government contracting of functions; HB 166 by Rep. Joseph Bouie would interfere with quality assurance in education; HB 216 by Seabaugh would authorize an unwanted tax in Bossier and Caddo Parishes; HB 253 by Jay Morris would increase individual income taxes (related bills: HB 405, HB 458, HB 474, HB 570); HB 290 by Norton would complicate needlessly voting procedures; HB 323 by Leger would amend the Constitution to create unnecessary restriction of budgetary options (similar bill: HB 617); HB 333 by state Rep. Wesley Bishop would wastefully dilute higher education resources; HB 359 by Wesley Bishop would have schools intrude on family rights with state-defined sex education in Orleans Parish; HB 370 by Rep. Chris Broadwater would impair rational budgeting and coordination in setting insurance rates for state employees (similar bill: SB 260); HB 373 by Rep. Brett Geymann would impair rational and coordinated decision-making on education standards; HB 374 by Geymann places needlessly narrow restrictions on education assessment (similar bills: HB 542, HB 545, HB 644); HB 388 by Leger increases, even if temporarily, retail fuel taxes; HB 406 by Rep. Major Thibault would increase some select corporate income taxes; HB 411 by Rep. Ted James would amend the Constitution to cause inefficient devolution of managerial functions in higher education on the issue of admission standards; HB 412 by Jay Morris would amend the Constitution to give the Legislature less discretion in budgeting; HB 507 by Rep. Stephen Ortego would expand the solar tax credit beyond single-family dwellings; HB 534 by Bouie would bring an inappropriate statewide regulation to local narrowcast delivery; HB 543 by Rep. Joe Harrison would impose inappropriate accountability standards of private schools in the voucher program; HB 547 by Rep. Ebony Woodruff would create a needless tax credit; HB 571 by Rep. Eddie Lambert would constrain artificially use of general fund revenues; HB 610 by Harris would fragment economic development policy-making power; HB 612 by Rep. Austin Badon would create unnecessary regulation and add sexual behavior as a form of protected class (similar bill: HB 632); HB 657 by Ivey would commence revenue sharing to parishes from sales taxes based upon property taxes (similar bill: HB 671); HB 667 by Ortego would increase needlessly paperwork and costs to the state with no guarantee of savings; HB 672 by Harris would confuse unnecessarily content standards in education and threaten federal funding; HB 677 by Rep. Marcus Hunter would kill jobs needlessly; HB 686 by Hunter would reduce incentives not to commit crime by too easily restoring citizenship rights to felons; HB 703 by Rep. Helena Moreno would increase payroll taxes to pay for family and medical leave by employers; HB 708 by Hunter would restrict unwisely employment opportunities for TOPS recipients and would be unenforceable; HB 712 by Rep. Karen St. Germain by would increase statewide taxation for local transportation purposes; HB 714 by James would halt unwisely granting of charter schools; HB 726 by Stokes would allow taxes to be levied in parishes on wireless communication services; SB 10 by Sen. Karen Peterson would amend the Constitution to force the state to spend more money and less efficiently on health care; SB 32 by Sen. Fred Mills would weaken education accountability measures; SB 40 by Nevers needlessly would expand Medicaid eligibility at higher cost and likely worse outcomes to the state (similar bill: HB 517, HB 560); SB 54 by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome would weaken disciplinary measures in public schools; SB 61 by Buffington would put the state in the business of running more nursing homes; SB 70 by Sen. Mike Walsworth would extend an expiring sales tax break on alternative fuels; SB 74 by Peterson would discourage critical thinking in science education; SB 81 by Peterson would create extra cost and bureaucracy for businesses by forcing them to pay for sick leave (related bill: SB 84); SB 120 by Adley would inhibit optimal executive branch decision-making (related bill: SB 190); SB 142 by Morrell would increase the value of the wasteful Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit; SB 153 by Sen. Danny Martiny would remove too much control of the lieutenant governor over the State Museum; SB 173 by Sen. David Heitmeier would have taxpayers foot the bill for welfare recipients to lose weight; SB 202 by Adley would subvert the purpose of the Budget Stabilization Fund (related bill: SB 259); SB 218 by Sen. Edwin Murray would involve taxpayers more deeply in hosting money-losing events (similar bill: HB 583); SB 258 by Peterson would encourage election fraud (similar bill: HB 561); SB 262 by Donahue would divert too much fiscal authority to a joint committee;

THE UGLY: HB 18 by Rep. Sam Jones would allow a legal holiday in St. Mary Parish to celebrate black bears; HB 328 by St. Germain would carve out an exception for a particular newspaper to serve as an official journal; HB 410 by Rep. Patrick Williams micromanages school lunch times; HB 438 by Lambert would regulate the size for sale of crawfish.

Stay tuned throughout the session to see how these do, what gets added, some posts on how these did, and voting scorecards for all legislators and the governor at the end of the session.

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