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Real ID legislation advances

The Louisiana House advanced legislation Wednesday that would put Louisiana in compliance with post-9/ll federal rules.
House Bill 907 would give the state’s residents the option of getting a Real ID. The IDs are identification cards and driver’s licenses whose authenticity is verifiable.
“It is opt in or opt out. No one has to do the Real ID. This is strictly up to your constituent and you,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part.
Louisiana was one of 16 states not in compliant with federal Real ID standards. Lingering issues include a gold star on identification cards and procedures to scan and photograph the bearer immediately upon entering a driver’s license bureau.
The House voted 79-22 in favor of HB907 after making a few changes.
The driver’s license bureau would not scan any documents if the motorist elects against a Real ID. Applicants also would be given a complete description of the Real ID.

People dying because of Medicaid gap

One man – Gov. Bobby Jindal – should not be able to block Louisiana Medicaid expansion, state Sen. Ben Nevers said Wednesday.
“How can we turn our backs on 240,000 people?” Nevers said as he prepared a present legislation that would let Louisiana voters decide the issue.
“People have already died because we failed to expand Medicaid in this state,” said Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said at a rally that preceded the work day in the State Capitol. “They have already died because government did not act. Those people who have perished, their blood is on someone’s hands.”
Nevers then went into the State Capitol to debate his legislation, Senate Bill 96, which would allow the state’s voters to decide if the qualifying standards to acquire Medicaid should be expanded to include people who make too much money to qualify today but too little to purchase adequate insurance on their own.
Watch the testimony live at http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/av.aspx?roomid=9
Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, who now is a lobbyist, is scheduled to testify in favor of Nevers’ legislation. He lobbied state senators at private events Tuesday night.
Nevers, state Rep. Patricia Haynes-Smith, D-Baton Rouge, and Alma Stewart of the Louisiana Center for Health Equity spoke during a sparsely attended rally on the Capitol steps early Wednesday.
Smith said the state has a “social responsibility” to provide the expanded Medicaid health care coverage that would cover many low income adults.
Jindal rejected Medicaid expansion for Louisiana declaring it would cost too much over time and it builds on a broken government health care system.
The federal government pays 100 percent of the expansion costs for the first three years and never less than 90 percent for the foreseeable future after that.

Wednesday at the Louisiana Legislature

House convenes at 2:00 p.m.
Senate convenes at 3:00 p.m.

HOUSE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Criminal Justice. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room 6. Agenda includes: Removed: HB 756, HB 826, HB 1171, HB 1221

  • HB15 Adds licensed professional counselors to the list of persons who may serve on a clinical team appointed in lieu of a sanity commission.
  • HB258 Creates the crime of unlawful distribution of material harmful to minors through the Internet.
  • HB329 Amends provisions of law regarding parole eligibility.
  • HB761 Provides relative to the time to produce certain information in response to a subpoena issued in investigations for certain offenses.
  • HB906 Amends penalty provisions for possession of marijuana.
  • HB1142 Provides relative to bail restrictions for offenses against a family or household member or dating partner.
  • HB1189 Creates the crime of unlawful exposure of unsafe firearms to children.
  • SB32 Provides criminal penalties for the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of counterfeit air bags.
  • SB147 Provides relative to the notice of an execution required to be given to the victim’s family.
  • SB168 Provides requirements for the membership of the Louisiana Public Defender Board.
  • SB326 Authorizes certain individuals to view certain videotaped statements.
  • SB333 Provides relative to crime against nature and incest.
  • SB351 Provides relative to burn injury reports.
  • SB383 Provides with respect to parole eligibility.
  • SB388 Provides relative to the registration of arson offenders.
  • SB399 Provides with respect to the parole eligibility.

Education. 9:00 a.m. in Committee Room 1. Agenda includes:

  • HB179 Provides relative to employment contracts for school employees being promoted or employed in a position of higher salary.
  • HB306 Provides relative to salaries of certain teachers rated ineffective pursuant to the evaluation process.
  • HB415 Provides for the reconvening of the Educator Evaluation Advisory Committee to make recommendations relative to the evaluation of teachers and administrators.
  • HB533 Prohibits the inclusion of test scores of a student who has excessive absences in the value-added model for purposes of teacher evaluations.
  • HB982 Provides relative to the process for discharging, demoting, or disciplining a permanent public school teacher.
  • HB987 Provides relative teacher tenure and the removal of teachers.
  • HB995 Provides relative to teacher evaluations.
  • HB1129 Provides relative to professional development for teachers.
  • HB1172 Provides relative to due process rights for teachers.
  • HB1177 Provides relative to the governance of schools in large school systems.
  • HCR2 Repeals a State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rule.
  • HCR46 Amends a State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rule relative to planning time for teachers.

Health & Welfare. 9:00 a.m. in Committee Room 5. Agenda includes: Added: HCR 88; Removed: HB 571, 1064

  • HB249 Provides for access to child care assistance by homeless families.
  • HB348 Prohibits termination of life-sustaining procedures for pregnant women.
  • HB691 Provides relative to athletic trainers.
  • HB903 Provides for the Louisiana Telehealth Access Act.
  • HB1058 Requires the Dept. of Health and Hospitals to provide information concerning Down syndrome to healthcare providers and on its website.
  • HB1155 Provides conditions for licensing of therapeutic group homes for youth suffering from mental illness.
  • HB1176 Provides for restrictions on use of TANF cash assistance and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.
  • HCR81 Authorizes and directs the Department of Health and Hospitals to amend the administrative rule relative to the mandatory screenings to be performed for a newborn child.
  • HCR88 Creates the Task Force on Telehealth Access.
  • SB128 Provides for the licensure of specialist in school psychology by the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
  • SB157 Provides for the provisional licensure of psychologists by the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
  • SB279 Changes the domicile of the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners.

House & Governmental Affairs. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room 2. Agenda includes: Added: HCR 51; Removed HB 108, HB 321, HB 477, HB 1090

  • HB143 Prohibits a former legislator from being appointed to or employed in any position in state government for a period of two years following the termination of his service as a legislator.
  • HB161 Requires notification and reporting relative to certain communications made for the purpose of influencing the passage or defeat of legislation.
  • HB190 Removes a nepotism exception for certain health professionals in a parish with a population of between four hundred thousand and four hundred forty thousand.
  • HB265 Prohibits the expenditure of campaign funds on certain specified items.
  • HB277 Provides for additional ethical standards for members of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state superintendent of education, and related persons.
  • HB374 Provides for the election of all members of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • HB406 Requires the consideration of certain provider impact issues and issuance of a provider impact statement prior to the adoption, amendment, or repeal of rules by a state agency.
  • HB452 Prohibits public servants from engaging in certain activities with public funds and assets.
  • HB459 Allows an immediate family member of a legislator to lobby the legislature under certain circumstances.
  • HB739 Provides relative to certain legislative groups and lobbyist expenditure reports.
  • HB764 Provides for the licensing and regulation of health insurance navigators and similar individuals and entities.
  • HB870 Prohibits certain transactions involving charter schools.
  • HB1062 Provides for a task force to make recommendations concerning electronic issuance of SNAP benefits.
  • HB1079 Provides relative to the reporting of expenditures of campaign funds.
  • HB1167 Provides with respect to testing for civil service entrance and promotion for certain city civil service employees.
  • HB1211 Provides relative to precinct changes and annexations for election purposes.
  • HCR51 Creates a task force to study and make recommendations on actions necessary to complete the construction of the Comite River Diversion Project.
  • HCR70 Applies to congress under U.S. Const. Art. V to call a convention of the states to propose a U.S. constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.
  • Insurance. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room 3. Agenda includes:
  • HB909 Provides for the Property Insurance Clarity Act.
  • HB1092 Provides for exclusion of certain vehicle occupants from uninsured motorist coverage.
  • HB1145 Enacts the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act of 2014.
  • HB1201 Provides for an alternative long-term care benefit option for Medicaid applicants with life insurance policies who enter into certain viatical settlement contracts.
  • SB260 Provides with respect to insurance producer license reinstatement.
  • SB281 Provides with respect to insurance anti-fraud plans.

Natural Resources & Environment. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room 4. Agenda includes: Removed: HCR 47, HB 263, HB 1138, SB 239; Added SB 433

  • HB609 Provides with respect to state property in Orleans parish.
  • HB920 Provides for beneficial projects in settlements of Right-to-Know Law violations.
  • HB1081 Provides for the authority to transfer or lease certain state property in Lafayette Parish.
  • HB1082 Imposes an additional fee on the sale of saltwater fishing licenses and dedicates the revenues.
  • HB1084 Creates the Air Quality Monitoring Commission.
  • HB1113 Provides for the suspension of a person’s driver’s license for failure to pay fine or failure to appear in court when charged with littering.
  • HB1117 Provides for water remediation standards.
  • HB1125 Provides for the closure of oxidation ponds.
  • HCR62 Urges and requests the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to study Lake Verret as an alternative drinking water source for Bayou Lafourche.
  • SB433 Provides for the transfer of certain state properties in East Baton Rouge Parish.

SENATE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Commerce. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room E. Agenda includes: Added: SB 507

  • HB183 Provides relative to the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Act.
  • HB340 Creates the Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act.
  • HB448 Authorizes the Louisiana Cemetery Board to impose fines for certain violations.
  • HB621 Provides relative to the authority to act on behalf of a deceased or incompetent member of a limited liability company.
  • HB766 Provides relative to consumer credit transactions.
  • HB771 Provides with respect to cemeteries.
  • HB1002 Provides with respect to embalmers and funeral directors.
  • SB158 Provides for the licensure of professional engineers currently licensed in other jurisdictions.
  • SB314 Provides relative to nonhazardous oilfield waste transporters.
  • SB475 Provides relative to scrap metal.
  • SB507 Provides relative to the practice of dentistry and the regulation of the profession.
  • SCR71 Requests the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to study the feasibility of creating an official “Made in Louisiana” certification, brand, or label..

Finance. At adjournment in Committee Room A. Agenda includes:

  • SB84 Provides relative to consumer credit transactions..
  • SB138 Authorize university logo to be placed on a driver’s license or identification card issued by the office of motor vehicles.
  • SB338 Provides relative to economic reports for projects submitted in conjunction with the request for the review or approval of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.
  • SB409 Provides for lowest available price for certain software procurement contracts.
  • SB573 Creates the office of multimodal commerce in the Department of Economic Development and Multimodal Commerce created from a restructured Department of Economic Development, and transfers powers, duties, and responsibilities with respect to multimodal commerce and corresponding department employees, equipment, facilities, funding, and statutory entities from the Department of Transportation and Development to such office and department.

Health & Welfare. 9:00 a.m. in John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room. Agenda includes: Added: SCR 87

  • SB96 Directs the Department of Health and Hospitals to offer health insurance with essential health benefits to every legal resident of Louisiana whose income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, and to allow the legislature to determine whether to continue the program when federal funding falls below 90% of the total program funding.
  • SB349 Provides relative to Medicaid managed long term care support and services.
  • SB432 Provides relative to disabled persons and assistance dogs.
  • SB568 Provides relative to the practice of optometry and the regulation of such profession.
  • SB600 Provides relative to immunizations.
  • SB619 Transfers the powers, duties, and functions relative to regulating pain management clinics from the Department of Health and Hospitals to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
  • SCR69 Creates the “Erin’s Law” task force..
  • SCR73 Establishes the Community Health Caucus of the Legislature of Louisiana..
  • SCR75 Requests that DHH study and develop a list of best practices suicide prevention training programs to make available in Louisiana to offer for training groups of Louisiana professionals and citizens on a voluntary basis..
  • SCR87 Directs DHH to create a working group to study the future of state health care funding..

Insurance. 10:00 a.m. in Committee Room A. Agenda includes:

  • HB286 Requires life insurers to notify insureds relative to conversion option.
  • HB476 Provides relative to the denial, nonrenewal, or revocation of an insurance producer license.
  • HB506 Provides with respect to notice requirements for qualified health plan issuers on the health insurance exchange.
  • HB601 Prohibits a provider of healthcare services from refusing to submit a claim to a healthcare insurance issuer under certain circumstances.
  • HB647 Provides relative to vehicle mechanical breakdown insurers.
  • HB660 Provides relative to property residual value insurers.
  • HB721 Provides relative to continuing education requirements.
  • HB796 Relative to the Louisiana Health Care Commission.
  • HB820 Clarifies that the valued policy clause provisions apply to all policies providing fire coverage.
  • SB165 Provides relative to prescription drug specialty tiers.
  • SB221 Provides relative to premiums.

Senate & Governmental Affairs. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room F. Agenda includes:

  • HB206 Re-creates the Department of State Civil Service and the statutory entities made a part of the department by law.
  • HB226 Removes the requirement to reopen qualifying when no candidate qualified for an office or when the number of candidates who qualified for an office is less than the number of positions to be filled.
  • HB246 Provides relative to the Department of Elderly Affairs, including provisions for officers and employees, rulemaking, and funding.
  • HB324 Authorizes secretary of state to disclose certain electronic mail addresses or short message service numbers to other governmental entities, agencies, officials, and employees.
  • HB365 Provides with respect to voter registration information and data.
  • HB383 Makes revisions to the La. Election Code.
  • HB428 Repeals provisions of law that allow for a refund of qualifying fees under certain circumstances when a candidate files multiple notices of candidacy.
  • HB432 Re-creates the Department of State and the statutory entities made a part of the department by law.
  • HB500 Allows a public servant to accept gifts valued at twenty-five dollars or less, up to an aggregate value of seventy-five dollars from any one person in a calendar year.
  • HB501 Provides for voter registration at age sixteen.
  • HB874 Requires an annual report to the legislature regarding litigation instituted by a state agency.
  • HB1013 Provides relative to boards and commissions.
  • SB1 Enacts the “Legislative Scholarship Fairness Act” (gov sig).
  • SB300 Provides relative to the inspector general.
  • SB322 Provides relative to the “Equal Pay for Women Act”.
  • SB334 Provides that the Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act be applicable to men, private employers and requires government contractors to verify equal pay practices.
  • SB443 Requires the “Equal Pay for Women Act” to apply to local governments and political subdivisions.
  • SB535 Establishes the Chief Legislative Security Officer and the Legislative Security Council.
  • SCR64 Designates the city of Scott as the Cajun Art Capital of Louisiana..

Source: Louisiana News Bureau

BGR opposes levee board bill

A New Orleans-based government research group called for rejection of legislation that would give Gov. Bobby Jindal sweeping authority to remove members of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority.

“The expanded removal power would severely compromise the boards’ independence and reverse reforms intended to depoliticize and professionalize governance of the levee districts in the New Orleans area after the catastrophic levee failures in 2005,” the Bureau of Governmental Research wrote in a position paper released late Tuesday.

Senate Bill 79 sponsored by state Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, would allow Jindal – at his sole discretion – to remove an authority commissioner for breach of duty, nonattendance as well as “violation of state law or public policy.”

It would allow the authority boards to do the same thing.

The bill  is pending Senate debate.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East has filed suit against 97 oil and gas companies seeking reimbursement for coastal damages. The lawsuit irked Jindal who has taken steps to try to derail the lawsuit as well as get rid of authority members who supported it.

The legislation impacts both the East and West Bank authorities.

BGR said the bill suffers from serious problems including that the term “public policy” is so broad and vague that it could lead to removal of a member for a wide variety of legitimate board actions.

In contrast to the current law, the governor could act unilaterally, another problem, BGR wrote. In addition, there is no process for a board member to defend themselves against accusations, it noted.

“Allowing a governor to unilaterally remove board members on grounds as vague as violations of public policy exposes the two flood authorities’ boards to ongoing political pressure and intervention from the governor,” BGR wrote. “It would strike at the independence of the flood protection authorities.”

“With the threat of removal hanging over their heads, board members may give greater weight to what the governor wants than what they believe is the best course of action to protect the people and property in the levee districts they oversee.”

Legislators vent about Jindal’s budget approaches

Debate on a bill involving the state’s coastal protection fund allowed legislators to let off some steam Tuesday about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s state budget writing.
“I hope I wasn’t too ugly,” state Rep. Simone Champagne said after accusing the Jindal administration of backing legislators into a corner by failing to protect state dollars. Moments earlier, Champagne – a soft-spoken Republican from Jeanerette – told a Jindal aide: “”We have been pushed.”
Another House Appropriations Committee member, state Rep. Jim Morris, said the governor kicked the can down the road until it reached a dead end. “You and I have talked about this several times. You sitting there. Me sitting here,” Morris told Barry Dusse, one of the governor’s budget advisers.
Morris, R-Oil City, said the next governor is going to inherit a financial mess.
The remarks came during discussion of House Bill 490. The bill is a proposed constitutional amendment to restrict use of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund. A two-thirds’ vote of the Legislature would be needed to allow money to flow through the coastal fund into the state operating budget.
In the type of accounting trick scorned by many legislators, the Jindal administration is proposing this year to put $51 million in one-time dollars into the coastal fund and then take out the same amount for the $25 billion proposed state spending plan. The complicated shuffling helps avoid prohibitions against using one-time, or nonrecurring, money for expenses likely to materialize year after year.
State Treasurer John Kennedy accused Jindal of washing money through the coastal fund. He said Jindal’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts in July uses nearly $1 billion in one-time money for operating expenses. The treasurer’s point was that new revenue sources will have to be discovered in just a year’s time.
“The administration needs to take heed and understand the importance of protecting dollars,” Champagne said.
Dusse countered that one-time money was used in the budget long before Jindal took office. He said HB490 would eliminate flexibility in difficult economic times.
Champagne responded with a talking point from her mother. “Just because they did it before you doesn’t make it right,” she said.
The committee agreed, without objection, to advance HB490 to the full House. Because the proposal is a constitutional amendment, it needs two-thirds’ approval by the Legislature before going before registered voters in November. It would not cross the governor’s desk.

Panel embraces bill to slow scuttling of state funding for higher ed

The House Appropriations Committee advanced legislation Tuesday that seeks to slow the supplanting of state funds for tuition and fee hikes at public colleges and universities.

House Bill 222 – which is a constitutional amendment that would need to go before voters – tackles a common complaint. Legislators are unhappy that Gov. Bobby Jindal allowed state funding for higher education to dwindle as tuition and fees grew.

“When a student is asked to contribute more for their education, they ought to get more,” said state Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans and the bill’s sponsor.

Leger created a little wiggle room for budget deficits. The committee added an amendment to delay the restrictions until 2016.

Without objection, the bill advanced to the House floor.

Tuesday at the Louisiana Legislature

House convenes at 2:00 p.m.
Senate convenes at 3:00 p.m.

HOUSE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Appropriations. 9:00 a.m. in Committee Room 5. Agenda includes: Added: HB 979
Removed: HB 217

  • HB222 Prohibits the supplanting of state funds for tuition and fee increases for institutions of higher education.
  • HB333 Provides preferences for extruded woven polypropylene products woven in Louisiana.
  • HB352 Requires the state to provide free assistance to local law enforcement agencies for the transfer of surplus equipment and supplies through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program).
  • HB490 Prohibits certain transfers of monies through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund or the Budget Stabilization Fund.
  • HB515 Appropriates funds for judgment against the state in the matter of “Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College v. 1732 Canal Street, LLC, et al”.
  • HB547 Provides relative to the purchase of seats with arms in public seating areas of state buildings.
  • HB628 Authorizes the investment of public funds in a state infrastructure bank.
  • HB629 Provides for the deposit of certain mineral revenues into the Transportation Trust Fund rather than the Budget Stabilization Fund.
  • HB671 Authorizes the preference for the purchase of Louisiana products in public bid law to apply to purchases of fire fighting or rescue equipment.
  • HB778 Changes restrictions on the deposit of sales tax revenues related to motor vehicles into the Transportation Trust Fund and Transportation Mobility Fund.
  • HB884 Provides with regard to dedications of certain excess mineral revenues and deposits into the Budget Stabilization Fund.
  • HB979 Provides for the creation of the Louisiana Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

Civil Law & Procedure. 9:00 a.m. in Committee Room 4. Agenda includes:

  • HB96 Removes the mandatory retirement age of judges.
  • HB525 Provides relative to civil actions involving firearms manufacturers.
  • HB566 Provides relative to evidence of liability insurance.
  • HB862 Provides relative to the enforcement of the coastal management program.
  • HB887 Provides with respect to discrimination regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  • HB1103 Provides relative to compulsory motor vehicle liability security, failure to comply, and limitation of damages.

Commerce. 10:00 a.m. in Committee Room 1. Agenda includes: Time change to 10:00 AM. Removed: SB 525, HB 528, HB 871, HCR 83

  • HB351 Provides relative to single business entities.
  • HB551 Makes changes to the Private Security Regulatory and Licensing Law.
  • HB911 Provides relative to provisional occupational licenses for ex-offenders.
  • HB1246 Prohibits tire distributors from engaging in certain practices regarding the return or exchange of tires.
  • HB1249 Provides relative to inspection and supervision fees paid by certain motor carriers and public utilities doing business in this state.
  • SB139 Provides relative to marine products.
  • SB318 Provides relative to the performance of warranty repairs.

Transportation, Highways & Public Works. 9:00 a.m. in Committee Room 3. Agenda includes:

  • HB565 Provides for the disposition of court costs and administrative fees for certain citations issued for exceeding the posted speed limit.
  • HB851 Increase penalties for driving with cancelled auto liability policy.
  • HB872 Provides relative to motor vehicle liability security.
  • HB908 Requires government contractors to document equal pay practices.
  • HB1123 Increases the truck registration fee.
  • HB1139 Provides for a reduced convenience fee for mobility impaired persons at public license tag agents.
  • HB1197 Creates the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, Inc., special prestige license plate.
  • HB1233 Prohibits municipalities from issuing citations on an interstate unless at least one linear mile in each direction of the interstate is included within the city limits.
  • HB1237 Creates a prestige license plate for Saint Katharine Drexel Preparatory School.
  • HB1244 Repeals the Southeast Regional Airport Authority.
  • HB1247 Establishes a special prestige license plate for the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans.
  • HB1250 Designates a portion of Interstate 49 as the “Slow Down Speed Trap Area”.
  • HB1252 Provides that drivers’ licenses be renewed every six years.

Ways and Means. 1:00 p.m. in Committee Room 6. Agenda includes:

  • HB1087 Authorizes the collector of certain taxing authorities to require the electronic filing and remittance of local sales and use taxes.
  • HB1227 Establishes the Fly Louisiana Incentive Program to provide rebate incentives for air carriers transporting international passengers.
  • SB51 Removes the authority of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program to charge participating retailers a membership fee.
  • SB384 Requires issuers of state municipal securities to comply with certain continuing disclosure rules of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

SENATE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Judiciary A. 9:00 a.m. in John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room. Agenda includes: Add: SCR 78, SB 459; Removed: SB 233, 308, 607

  • HB156 Provides with respect to the transfer of surplus monies from jury funds to the Criminal Court Fund of the 21st Judicial District Court.
  • HB218 Provides relative to civil injunctions and restraining orders.
  • HB462 Provides with respect to ex officio notaries public for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
  • HB527 Relative to Family Court in the 22nd Judicial District Court.
  • SB216 Provides relative to courts and vacancies in the office of a judge.
  • SB217 Provides relative to vacancy in the office of a judge.
  • SB306 Provides relative to prescriptive periods and civil jury thresholds for delictual actions arising from vehicular accidents.
  • SB445 Provides for the elimination of two judges from the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court.
  • SB459 Prohibits contingency fee contracts for private attorneys handling matters for the Department of Health and Hospitals..
  • SB559 Provides relative to continuous representation of a client in action for legal malpractice.
  • SB578 Provides relative to an award of visitiation rights.
  • SB620 Provides for settlement practices involving certain claims against nonresident self-insurers and self-insurance plans.
  • SB628 Provides relative to powers of the Judiciary Commission.
  • SB634 Provides relative to groundwater and surface water.
  • SCR78 Requests the Louisiana State Law Institute to create a Water Code Committee..

Judiciary B. 10:30 a.m. in Committee Room E. Agenda includes:

  • HB314 Re-creates the Dept. of Justice.
  • HB326 Provides relative to the district attorney’s participation in parole hearings.
  • HB330 Authorizes the use of electronic means for the delivery of an order for protective custody and transportation to the sheriff.
  • HB332 Amends criminal penalties for certain offense involving Schedule I narcotic substances.
  • HB460 Provides relative to mailing of official correspondence by the office of alcohol and tobacco control.
  • HB496 Provides relative to wine and malt beverage permits.
  • HB569 Relative to human trafficking courts.
  • HB641 Relative to the office and duties of coroner.
  • HB1036 Provides for the donation of alcoholic beverages to certain organizations.
  • SB132 Provides relative to the certain records held by the Board of Gaming Control.
  • SB133 Provides relative to significant influence for purposes of certain gaming licenses.
  • SB294 Provides relative to rights of law enforcement officers while under investigation.
  • SB676 Provides relative to firearm suppressors.

Judiciary C. 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room F. Agenda includes:

  • HB747 Provides relative to domestic abuse battery and other offenses involving domestic abuse.
  • HB750 Provides relative to restraining orders, protective orders, and injunctions issued in conjunction with domestic abuse cases.
  • HB753 Provides relative to the possession, forfeiture, and seizure of firearms as it relates to persons convicted of domestic abuse battery or subject to a protective order.
  • SB140 Provides that failure to provide law enforcement with affidavit of theft of vehicle shall not create civil presumption of insured’s participation in vehicle theft.
  • SB286 Provides relative to sentences imposed on crimes of violence.
  • SB323 Reduces criminal penalties for marijuana possession and prohibits application of enhanced sentencing laws to second and subsequent offense marijuana possession.

Source: Louisiana News Bureau

 

WalletHub finds La. ranks poorly

Louisiana taxpayers are getting the third worst return on their investment among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a WalletHub report issued Monday.

The consumer finance website compared state and local tax payments with the  quality and efficiency of state government services funded.

The review  - at http://wallethub.com/edu/state-taxpayer-roi-report/3283/ - covered  six categories: infrastructure, education, health, safety, economy and pollution.

WalletHub looked at state and local tax payments and services funded. For instance, infrastructure included the quality of roads and bridges; education, the ranking of public schools and universities; and health, infant mortality rate and average life expectancy.

Arkansas ranked the worst and Missisippi second worst on taxpayer return on investment.

The best ranking went to Wyoming and the second best Alaska.

Among southern states, Texas and Florida tied for having the seventh best return on taxpayer investments.

Jindal to speak at Liberty University

Gov. Bobby Jindal was named Thursday as the keynote speaker at Liberty University’s 2014 Commencement ceremony.

It’s highly sought-after gig for presidential candidates seeking the support of the conservative Christian community.

“Many believe he could hold the highest office in the land someday,” said Liberty University President Jerry Falwell in prepared statement. “I believe he will be an inspiration to our graduates, not only because of his life’s story, but because he shares many of the conservative and Christian values that Liberty University graduates hold dear.”

Liberty was founded in 1971 by Falwell’s late father, the televangelist and political commentator of the same name. The Lynchburg, Va. college calls itself the largest private Christian university in the world. It has 350 programs and claims more than 100,000 residential and online students.

Notable alumni include Tony Perkins, a former Louisiana legislator who now is in charge of the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates conservative Christian values in government policy and opposes of gay rights.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Falwell said he was hesitant to give his personal opinion of Jindal since they have never met. Instead, he deferred to Liberty’s law school dean, Mat Staver.

“He’s a committed Christian,” Falwell said. “Mat Staver said he heard him speak and he sounded like a Baptist preacher.”

Jindal’s May 10 speech will begin at 10 a.m. in Williams Stadium on the 7,000-acre campus near the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s back to work for McAllister

U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, reportedly plans to return to Capitol Hill after Easter.

McAllister has been in seclusion since he was captured on videotape passionately kissing an aide. McAllister is married. The aide – who left the payroll after the video went viral – is the wife of a childhood friend.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and others have called upon McAllister to resign. At the same time, Democrats are accusing Jindal and his fellow Republicans of hypocrisy for not asking U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to quit seven years when his phone number appeared on a madam’s call list.

McAllister’s chief of staff, Adam Terry, told The Ouachita Citizen that the congressman will be back at work once Congress returns from Easter Break.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that McAllister’s political office manager in Monroe resigned Wednesday. There was speculation that Leah Gordon leaked the security tape to the press. Gordon denied she had a copy of the tape.