12 March 2018

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for the 2018 Regular Session

Hot off an extraordinary session, the Louisiana Legislature now meets for its regular 2018 session. And, as always, we list here the good, bad, and ugly bills prefiled.

THE GOOD: HB 22 by Rep. Barry Ivey would shore up underfunded pension systems; HB 23 by Ivey would reduce the potential for large investment losses by state-run pension funds; HB 30 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would tighten requirements for benefits for persons with disabilities and minor children; HB 39 by Ivey would enroll new employees after fiscal year 2020 into a hybrid defined benefit/contribution pension system (similar bill: SB 14); HB 43 by Pearson would incorporate of the Registrars of Voters Employees' Retirement Plan into the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System; HB 46 by Rep. Lance Harris would provide for work and community engagement requirements in the state Medicaid program (similar bill: SB 77); HB 54 by Rep. Paul Hollis would make for more realistic recall provisions; HB 78 by Rep. Nancy Landry would clarify hazing penalties; HB 88 by Rep. Sherman Mack would create greater disincentive to commit benefits fraud; HB 123 by Rep. Ray Garofalo would make it illegal to sue requesters of public documents lawfully done; HB 161 by Garofalo would require payback of Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars recipient who lost eligibility; HB 163 by Mack would make it easier to fight Medicaid fraud (similar bill: HB 480); HB 271 by Garofalo would increase school safety (similar bills: HB 332, HB 602, SB 298, SB 406); HB 280 by Rep. Jack McFarland would increase Medicaid client responsibility; HB 281 by Rep. Helena Moreno would increase client safety in nursing homes; HB 321 by Rep. Rick Edmonds would increase government transparency; HB 323 by Rep. Franklin Foil would call a limited constitutional convention focused on fiscal reform (similar bills: HB 385, HB 500, SB 218); HB 334 by Rep. Tony Bacala would establish managed care across the Medicaid services continuum; HB 350 by Rep. Jay Morris would induce greater efficiency in Medicaid implementation for hospitals (similar bill: HB 462); HB 362 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would induce greater efficient in Medicaid waiver program implementation; HB 391 by Pearson would affirm public access to waterways; HB 413 by Ivey would raise TOPS standards and create a transfer award (similar bill: HB 414); HB 418 by Ivey would allow management boards control over tuition; HB 485 by Rep. Rob Shadoin would amend the Constitution to eliminate a number of dedications; HB 530 by Speaker Taylor Barras would compute the expenditure limit calculation in a more realistic manner (similar bill: HB 540); HB 555 by Rep. Polly Thomas would bring greater transparency to public sector collective bargaining; HB 561 by Rep. Julie Emerson gets rid of needless occupational licensing (similar bill: HB 563, HB 623); HB 654 by Landry would expand school choice; HB 664 by Edmonds would facilitate streamlining government; SB 31 by Sen. Conrad Appel would amend the Constitution to disqualify recent felons from serving in political office; SB 34 by Sen. Mike Walsworth would make governments’ economic development efforts more competitive; SB 42 by Appel would reduce wasteful, abusive use of emergency response; SB 43 by Appel would amend the Constitution to consolidate higher education governance; SB 50 by Sen. J.P. Morrell would help discourage use of fake identifying receiving telephone numbers; SB 119 by Morrell would facilitate fraud reduction in Medicaid; SB 300 by Sen. Sharon Hewitt would increase access to services by clients on Medicaid waiver programs; SB 309 by Sen. Gerald Long protects religious freedom; SB 314 by Hewitt would remove intrusive regulations over the wine industry; SB 319  by Sen. Ryan Gatti would pare unneeded boards; SB 325 by Sen. John Milkovich would provide better enforcement of abortion legal practices; SB 347 by Hewitt would increase funding to waivers programs through more efficient delivery; SB 357 by Appel would require managed care of long-term supports and services programs; SB 364 by Sen. Rick Ward would strengthen free expression protections in higher education; SB 450 by Sen. Blade Morrish would make TOPS more efficient (similar bill: SB 452).

THE BAD: HB 79 by Mack would prevent families from protecting vulnerable relatives in nursing homes; HB 89 by Rep. Pat Smith would portray inaccurately constituencies in electoral districts; HB 99 by Rep. Katrina Jackson would create a needless new government board; HB 126 by Rep. Edmond Jordan would create unnecessary bureaucracy (similar bill: HB 635); HB 143 by Rep. Julie Stokes would amend the Constitution to create another dedication; HB 162 by Rep. Terry Landry would encourage violent crime by ending capital punishment for new offenders; HB 180 by Rep. Denise Marcelle would politicize groundwater management around Baton Rouge;  HB 192 by Rep. Joseph Bouie would establish a job-killing minimum wage (similar bills: SB 159, SB 162, SB 252); HB 202 by Rep. Kenny Havard would amendment the Constitution to allow government-owned utilities to charge people differentially based on age; HB 245 by Rep. Major Thibault would expand gambling (similar bills: HB 581, SB 217, SB 230, SB 266); HB 274 by Jordan would risk public safety by letting people get high (similar bill: HB 579); HB 357 by Rep. Denise Marcelle broadens the reach of unsound “hate crime” laws; HB 383 by Rep. Paula Davis rebates taxpayers’ money to first-time homebuyers for three years; HB 461 by Talbot would remove cost discipline on waiver services; HB 499 by Smith would mandate at the state level what should occur at the local level for schools; HB 519 by Smith would impose useless regulations on business pay practices; HB 587 by Hoffman weakens the value of tenure in public schools; HB 605 by Rep. Barbara Norton would enshrine the unequal pay myth into state law; HB 651 by Hoffman would weaken teacher accountability; SB 51 by Morrell would eliminate capital punishment; SB 55 by Milkovich would lead to eroding of educational standards; SB 61 by Sen. Danny Martiny would give judges an unnecessary pay raise; SB 71 by Sen. Beth Mizell would make enforcing safety at child care centers more difficult; SB 95 by Sen. Gerald Boudreaux would discriminate against virtual charter schools; SB 117 by Morrell would impose needless bureaucratic requirements on state contractors (similar bills: HB 251, SB 118); SB 140 by Gatti would have the state largely pay for veteran benefits already conveyed by the federal government; SB 141 by Gatti would add a needless incentive footed by taxpayers for finishing college early; SB 148 by Morrell would amend the Constitution to complicate, rather than reform, property taxation; SB 149 by Morrell would needlessly interfere with business rights on pay transparency (similar bill: HB 328); SB 150 by Morrell would degrade elections integrity (similar bills: HB 265, HB 628, HB 649, SB 449); SB 155 by Sen. Troy Carter would unduly restrict the right to bear arms (similar bills: HB 277, HB 473, HB 603, SB 185, SB 274); SB 200 by Sen. Wesley Bishop would remove a rehabilitation/restitution tool from law enforcement; SB 209 by Sen. Regina Barrow would impose needless costs on struggling businesses; SB 219 by Sen. Troy Carter would overregulate businesses in personnel matters; SB 228 by Morrell inappropriately privileges some behavior and discriminates against some viewpoints in the public schools; SB 262 by Gatti unwisely allows emergency powers to last more than 30 days continuously; SB 276 by Sen. Dan Claitor would restrict unduly eligibility to serve in the majoritarian branches of state government; SB 278 by Claitor would unwisely remove age limitations on service in the judicial branch; SB 292 by Barrow provides too little flexibility for charter school operation; SB 302 by Sen. John Milkovich would interfere in governance of schools; SB 312 by Sen. Eric LaFleur would weaken notice of tax increases by governing authorities; SB 331 by Sen. Yvonne Colomb would increase opportunities to abuse use of mobility impaired hang tags; SB 343 by Sen. Fred Mills would convey special retirement benefits for certain local judges; SB 374 by Barrow requires needless tasks concerning certain state prisoners; SB 380 by Bishop would expand wastefully TOPS; SB 381 by Carter would interfere with charter schools’ educational strategies; SB 444 by Sen. Bodi White would add another unnecessary dedication.

THE UGLY: HB 191 by Rep. Stuart Bishop would regulate what kind of chairs restaurants may have; HB 258 by Garofalo would allow more nursing home beds into a surplus market; why?; HB 317 by Rep. Robbie Carter would change non-chartered Independence change its election dates from all others in the state; why?; HB 340 by Rep. Jim Morris would create another dedication for a trivial purpose; SB 78 by Gatti needlessly would add a crime to the criminal code already covered by it; SB 122 by Sen. Jonathan Perry removes a provision allowing a police chief personnel authority instead of just writing the office out of statute.

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