HOUSE NOTES

Louisiana House of Representatives Communications Office 2013 Regular Session Week One, April 12, 2013

The 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature opened Monday, April 8, with the swearing-in ceremonies of two new state representatives: Julie Stokes, who was elected to fill the House seat for District 79, and Barry Ivey, who was elected to serve House District 65. Governor Jindal addressed the Joint Session and announced he was going to pull his proposal to eliminate state and corporate income taxes. Instead, the governor urged lawmakers to work with him and send him a bill that would phase out income taxes in Louisiana. The subject matter of this session is limited to specified fiscal matters; however, a member may introduce any bill intended to enact a local or special law or may prefile a maximum of five bills not within the subject matter restrictions. To date, 670 House bills and 235 Senate bills have been prefiled, including a total of 54 proposed constitutional amendments. The following includes a few bills that have generated public interest. TRANSPORTATION * House Bill 396, pending House floor action, would allow left turns at red lights. HB396 provides that when a flashing yellow arrow is activated at an intersection, traffic is permitted to cautiously enter the intersection in the direction of the arrow.

Vehicular traffic facing a flashing yellow arrow, turning left or making a U-turn to the left, shall yield the right of way to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. Additionally, such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within the associated crosswalk and to other vehicles lawfully within the intersection. * House Bill 386, would authorize DOTD to regulate sponsorship signs on stateowned ferries, rights-of-way and assets of the department, including the state's nine rest areas. Additionally, HB386 would require DOTD to establish appropriate and reasonable fees, rules and regulations related to sponsorship signs consistent with federal laws. HB386 is pending debate by the full House. SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATES * Four prestige licenses plates gained House Transportation Committee approval and await consideration by the full House: House Bill 147 would create the special prestige motor vehicle license plate known as the "I'm Cajun" plate, provided there is a minimum of one thousand applicants. The plate design, which would be selected by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, shall include the

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phrase "I'm Cajun...and proud" and a prominent image celebrating the Cajun culture. Monies received from the fifteen dollar-royalty fee shall be disbursed to the council's "La Fondation Louisiane for the Escadrille Louisiane" scholarship program. HB147 specifies that the standard license registration fee and a handling fee of $3.50 be retained by the Department of Public Safety to offset administrative costs. House Bill 159 requires the secretary of the Department of Public Safety to establish the "March of Dimes" special prestige license plate if there is a minimum of one thousand applicants. The department shall collect a royalty fee of twenty-five dollars in addition to the standard motor vehicle license tax, and a handling fee of $3.50 for each plate would be charged to offset administrative costs. The royalty fee shall be used solely for the support of programs administered by the Louisiana March of Dimes. * House Bill 334 would create the "Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation" special license plate. Applicants would be charged the standard license registration fee and a handling fee of $3.50. The twenty-five dollar royalty fee would be used by the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation for administrative, operational purposes, equipment and marketing costs. * House Bill 373, would create the "Free and Accepted Mason" special prestige license plate to be issued upon application to any member of the Free and Accepted Mason Ionic Lodge. Applicants would be charged the standard license registration fee and a handling fee of $3.50. In addition, applicants would be charged a royalty fee of twenty-five

dollars which would go to the Free and Accepted Mason Ionic Lodge Number 26 of Lake Charles to be used by the lodge for philanthropic endeavors. CIVIL LAW * House Bill 588, pending House final passage, seeks to revise the Civil Code to allow the extension of prescriptive periods relative to obligations and contracts. Under the proposal, after a liberative prescription period has begun to run, parties in written agreement may extend the prescriptive period. The bill also allows for successive extensions, and provides that the duration of each extension may not exceed one year. INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS * House Bill 578, pending consideration by the full House, would establish adoption procedures for intercountry adoption in Louisiana, including procedures for recognition of foreign adoption decrees; procedures for the adoption of foreign orphans and Hague Convention adoptees; for name changes; for the issuance of new birth certificates; and for related matters. HIGHER EDUCATION * House Bill 650, pending House floor action, would reorganize the top tier of administration in the state Department of Education. This proposal would authorize the positions of the office of the deputy state superi nt en den t of education; the superintendent of the Special School District, the deputy superintendent of management and finance, and the deputy superintendent of district support. The proposed law would eliminate the office of literacy, the office of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the

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office of college and career readiness, the office of departmental support, and the office of innovation from the Dept. of Education and instead, create the office of district support. The bill specifies that the office of management and finance and office of district support shall be under the immediate supervision and direction of the deputy superintendent. The bill also specifies that personnel management shall be a duty of the state superintendent of education. TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES * Under House Bill 525, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) within the state Department of Social Services, is required to develop and implement the Strategies to Empower People program (STEP) as the employment program for work-eligible recipients of cash assistance in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Welfare Reform Act. The bill requires the Louisiana Workforce Commission to collaborate with the department to identify and coordinate employment services for the program. The bill specifies that in order to receive cash assistance, an applicant who is work-eligible shall fulfill each requirement set forth in his Family Success Agreement. HB 525 also adds the provision that employment and job training services be delivered pursuant to performance-based contracts between DCFS and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and other government agencies or any community partner and; adds temporary and permanent job placements, subsidized employment services, and on-the-job training as employment services of the STEP program. Prior to receipt of cash assistance, a

work-eligible participant shall be notified in writing of program expectations and participant responsibilities. House Bill 525 awaits consideration by the full House. HEALTH & WELFARE * House Bill 582, pending House final passage, would require access aisles to have the phrase "No Parking" written on the pavement adjacent to a parking space reserved for mobility-impaired persons that are designated for loading and unloading vehicles parked in the space. The bill requires that the size of the letters in the phrase "No Parking" is not less than twelve inches tall. The penalty for violating the proposed law shall be a fine of $500 or six months imprisonment, or both. The provisions of HB582 would apply to all newly constructed parking spaces or, after the bill's effective date, to existing parking spaces when the markings are repainted. GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL * House Bill 220, pending House final passage, would require the Legislative Fiscal Office to analyze the General Appropriation Bill and issue reports as soon as possible upon each step of the progress of the bill through the legislative process regarding major enhancements and increases compared to the previous year's budget, major reductions compared to the previous year's budget, and means of finance substitutions compared to the previous year's budget. HB220 further provides that immediately upon completion of each report, the legislative fiscal officer would be required to e-mail each report to each legislator and to make each report available on the website of the Legislative Fiscal Office and to the

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appropriate legislative officers who shall ensure that the reports are easily accessible by the public through the joint legislative website as information linked to the General Appropriation Bill.

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