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2013 House Notes - Week 8

2013 House Notes - Week 8

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Published by RepNLandry
Summary of Louisiana House of Representatives action, week 8, regular session 2013
Summary of Louisiana House of Representatives action, week 8, regular session 2013

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Published by: RepNLandry on Jun 01, 2013
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02/14/2014

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With one week to go in the 2013Regular Legislation Session, lawmakers stillface the difficult task of balancing the 2013-2014 state budget.As of May 31, the governor has signed75 bills into law.This week, Facility Planning officialsadvised the House Committee onAppropriations on the progress of theUniversity Medical Center construction project in New Orleans, one of the largestconstruction projects the state has ever undertaken.State Police gave the House SelectCommittee on Homeland Security an updatethis week on the hazardous clean-up activitiesat the October 15, 2012, explosion site near Doyline.Louisiana State Police EmergencyServices Technicians have safely securedmore than 100,000 pounds of highly-explosiveM6 propellant, and transferred an additional100,000 pounds of flammable solid materialand 130,000 pounds of Tritonal from a bunker operated by Explo Systems to safe storagelocations.The following are brief highlights of some of the issues considered this week thatgenerated public interest.
JOINT RULE
*The House approved
, which wouldrequire passage of the annual MinimumFoundation Program formula by a favorablevote of at least the majority of the electedmembers of each chamber---53 in the Houseand 20 in the Senate.
TECH COLLEGES MERGER 
*
, which has completedthe legislative process, would consolidate theCapitol Area Technical College System withthe Baton Rouge Community College System.The legislation provides for thetransfer of all funds, obligations, property, programs, facilities, and functions related toall campuses of the Capital Area TechnicalCollege to the Baton Rouge CommunityCollege.
LA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICALCOLLEGES SYSTEM CONSTRUCTIONPROJECTS
*
, which passed theHouse by a vote of 88-11, would allow theLouisiana Community and Technical CollegesSystem to borrow $251,610,500 for 28specific construction projects on LCTCcampuses around the state.Before state funding is issued, each project would require the availability of  private matching funds of at least 12%.The bonds would be issued outside of the capital outlay process and not be subject tolegislative approval.
HOUSE NOTES
Louisiana House of RepresentativesCommunications Office2013 Regular SessionWeek Eight, May 31, 2013
 
Page -2-The project cost limitations stated inthe bill can be increased by a 15%contingency allowance plus other costs of issuance and interest.Finally, a nonprofit corporation would be established to manage construction projects.
CLASS III FIREARM TRANSFER PERMITS
*
, which has completedthe legislative process, would repeal provisions in state law that require theDepartment of Public Safety to issue possession and transfer permits for Class IIIfirearms, including machine guns, grenadelaunchers, flame throwers and bazookas.HB277 also would prohibit the possession and purchase of firearms that havenot been registered or transferred under  provisions of federal law.
WEAPONS/HANDGUNS
*
, which exempts lawenforcement officers from the crime of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon onschool property, has completed the legislative process.
NOLA FIREFIGHTERS PENSION FUND
This week, the Senate approved four House bills affecting the Firefighters’ Pensionand Relief Fund of New Orleans (NOFF).The following measures would change howretirement benefits are calculated and providefor NOFF board and legislative oversight:
establishes boardmembership, terms of office and votinglimitations. 
provides for the finalaverage compensation for members of the New Orleans Firefighters' Pension and Relief Fund.
provides for a phased-in increase of the employee contribution ratefor NOFF from 6% to 10% beginning January1, 2014, and removes the exemption fromemployee contributions for members with 20or more years of service.
changes the number of years used to calculate final averagecompensation for NOFF members who retireon or after July1 from four years to five years.
LOUISIANA ASSESSOR'SRETIREMENT FUND
*
, which has completedthe legislative process, creates a new tier of  benefits in the Louisiana Assessor'sRetirement Fund (ASSR) for members whoare first employed October 1, 2013.Under the provisions of HB39, anASSR member may retire at age 60 with 12years of service; and at age 55 with 30 yearsof service. Members employed October 1,2013, would receive a monthly retirement benefit based on the following formulas:1.) With less than 30 years of service: 3% xFinal Compensation x Years of Service; and2.) With at least 30 years of service: 3 1/3% xFinal Compensation x Years of ServiceFinally, transferred service with anaccrual rate less than 3 1/3% shall not be usedto meet the requirement of 30 or more years of service unless the member has upgraded suchtransferred service.
HAZARDOUS DUTY SERVICES PLAN
*Under the provisions o
 ,
 pending Senate Retirement, a retiree from theHazardous Duty Service Plan with transferredservice who retired on or before June 30,2013, will receive premium supplements beginning July 1, 2013. Premiums shall be increased by an amount sufficient to payfor any increase in the employer's premiums
 
Page -3-resulting from his retirement. The increaseshall be deducted from the retiree's monthly benefit and remitted to the Office of GroupBenefits. OGB would offset the employer's premium payments by such amount.
INACTIVE BOARDS ANDCOMMISSIONS
*
would abolish thefollowing 13 entities and their functions: theAcademic Advisory Council, Commission onMen’s Health & Welfare, the EmergencyMedical Services for Children AdvisoryCouncil, the Funding Review Panel, theLouisiana Information Technology AdvisoryBoard and Technology Advisory Group, theLouisiana Sustainable Local Food PolicyCouncil, the Methadone MaintenanceProgram Needs Assessment Task Force, theMullet Task Force, the Post EmploymentBenefits Trust Fund and its Board of Trustees,the Reptile & Amphibian Task Force, and theUniform Grading Scale Task Force.In addition, HB156 abolishes thefollowing entities, but transfers their functionsto another entity for continuation: theAmbulance Standards Committee with onlycertification functions transferred to the Dept.of Health & Hospitals; and the LA Bio-FuelPanel with all functions transferred to theCommissioner of Agriculture and Forestry.Further, HB156 requires that theDivision of Administration receive and postcertain information from the boards/commissions on its web site by Feb. 1of each year.Finally, HB156 provides for theevaluation of boards, commissions and likeentities that fail to comply with deadlines.House Bill 156 has completed thelegislative process and is on its way to thegovernor's desk.
TESTING EXCEPTION
*
, approvedunanimously by the House, provides that astudent with disabilities who is not pursuing aregular diploma would not be required to takethe American College Test (ACT), unless thestudent's parent or legal guardian requests, inwriting, that the ACT be administered to thestudent.The proposed law prohibits thenonparticipation by a student with disabilitiesto be factored into the calculation of any performance score or performance letter gradeassigned to any school or school system.
DOMESTIC ABUSE BATTERY
*
, which has completedthe legislative process, provides that domesticabuse battery committed by burning of thevictim that results in serious bodily injuryconstitutes a crime of violence.Under this proposal, the crime of domestic abuse battery by burning provides amandatory penalty of five to 50 yearsimprisonment at hard labor, without benefit of  probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
MEDICAID TRANSPARENCY
*
, which has completedthe legislative process, would require theDepartment of Health and Hospitals (DHH) tomonitor and submit an annual report to thelegislature on Louisiana Medicaid BayouHealth and the Louisiana Behavioral HealthPartnership and Coordinated System of Care programs.The Department of Health andHospitals would be required to make availableto the public all informational bulletins, health plan advisories and guidance published by thedepartment concerning the LouisianaMedicaid Bayou Health program by publishing and posting such information on

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