19 May 2015

Committee action, May 19: SB 222, HB 323, HB 118

SB 222 by Sen. Jack Donahue would produce a tax exemption expenditure forecast annually. Donahue told the House Appropriations Committee that this was similar to a bill passed last year but eventually vetoed, requiring these listed in the executive budget then but that not included now to remove the governor’s objections. He said it would provide tools for better budgetary control, even as the information was available elsewhere. It would include only a subset of tax incentives. Technical amendments were approved, and then it was approved without objection.

HB 323 by Rep. Walt Leger would amend the Constitution to prohibit taxpayer subsidies to be lowered for higher education as tuition and fees increase. It would set the fiscal year 2013 level as the baseline that could be overridden by supermajorities, and was similar to a bill that got out of the House last year. Without objection it was approved.

HB 118 by Rep. Jim Morris would revert back to previous law the ability of Caddo Parish constables to appoint one deputy. A couple of years ago this had been changed. An amendment explained to the Senate Judiciary B Committee by Rep. Thomas Carmody related that if constables acted outside of the legal instructions of the justices of the peace and ran into legal trouble, the state would not pay for their defense.

Caddo constables opposing the bill said there has been no instances of improper behavior by constables or deputies and that they were well-qualified. They asked that the bill be amended to set a limit of five and that they be POST-certified.

Carmody closed by repeating a resolution by the Caddo Parish Commission supporting the bill. There was no objection to the amended bill’s reporting.

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