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Louisiana House of Representatives Communications Office 2014 Regular Session Week Three, March 28, 2014
To date, the House has introduced 1,058 bills and passed 99. On Monday, Patricia Lowrey-Dufour, Mark Mahaffey and Clerk of the House Alfred Speer conducted a required continuing education seminar for House members on the Code of Government Ethics. Also this week, members of the Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs met to receive the status on Fort Polk and the potential effect of the latest Federal Base Realignment and Closure rounds. Speaker Chuck Kleckley and other committee members praised Fort Polk officials and the tremendous asset the facility is not only to the Vernon Parish communities and the state of Louisiana, but to the entire nation as well, and offered their support and assistance. Speaker Kleckley said, "Let us know what we can do to help in any way. I want to be involved, I want to be part of anything that goes on in Fort Polk–We are here to help." Rep. James Armes thanked Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, Ft. Polk Progress and Barksdale Forward representatives and others for visiting Baton Rouge, and announced a Welcome Home Ceremony at Fort Polk on April 3, when the Army will celebrate the return of the Patriots of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.
NGO APPROPRIATION REQUESTS * House Bill 225 requires additional information from nongovernmental entities for line item appropriation requests. The proposed law would require certification that the entity shall conduct a public meeting that shall be advertised no less than 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting to discuss the expenditures of any appropriated funds; and the entity shall make public any records related to the expenditure of any appropriated funds. Additionally, the nongovernmental agency is required to agree to any audits regarding the expenditure of any appropriated funds. HB225 awaits action by the full House. APPROPRIATIONS * House Bill 832, reported favorably, would allow the state treasurer to invest LA Education Quality Trust Fund monies in open-end mutual funds, closed-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and unit investment trusts provided by internationallyrecognized index providers such as Morgan Stanley Capital International, FTSE, Dow Jones, Standard & Poor's, Barclays, Citigroup and their affiliates. HB832 would limit the total investment in all index funds at one time from
exceeding 10% of the market value of all funds held by the treasurer in the LA Education Quality Trust Fund. PHOTO ENFORCEMENT * House Bill 896, pending House floor action, would prohibit the use of photo speed enforcement devices on interstates in Louisiana, effective January 1, 2015. However, highway construction zones where construction workers are present would be excluded. HURRICANE EVACUATION IN LOWLYING AREAS * House Resolution 2, pending House final passage, urges and requests the Department of Transportation and Development to conduct a study designating Highway 330 south of Abbeville through Henry as a hurricane evacuation route and adding a turning lane at a major economic development site to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow during hurricane evacuation. Further, the resolution calls for assessments of contraflow, coordination with adjoining jurisdictions, methods of communication and preparing citizens in advance of evacuations, communication with evacuees, times required to evacuate, and availability of food, water, restrooms, fueling stations, and shelter opportunities along the evacuation route. HEARING IMPAIRED/MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION * Under present law, the Office of Motor Vehicles is authorized to issue an identification sticker or decal to hearing impaired drivers at no cost. The sticker or decal can be placed on the vehicle's windshield or license plate, and the same
sticker or decal can be imprinted on the back of the driver's license under the lamination. House Bill 484 retains present law and requires the Office of Motor Vehicles to create a flag code to be placed on the registration of a motor vehicle which indicates that the driver is hearing impaired. The placement of the flag code on the registration of a motor vehicle would be authorized when an applicant initially applies for or renews a registration. The proposed law specifies that the flag will be at no additional cost to the driver if the driver produces a statement attested by a medical physician, audiologist or speech pathologist indicating a hearing loss. MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY * Present law requires law enforcement officers to determine compliance if the owner or lessee of each motor vehicle stopped at an administrative violations checkpoint, a motor vehicle accident, or in connection with an alleged violation of the law has evidence of the required compulsory motor vehicle liability security contained in the vehicle. House Bill 126, pending on House action, further requires law enforcement officers to electronically verify, as applicable within his capability, that such documents evidencing that the motor vehicle is compliant are current. REVENUE-BASED LAW ENFORCEMENT * House Bill 961, pending consideration by the full House, would require signs posted at the entry of a community or incorporated area designated as a "speed trap." HB961 defines a speed trap as any local governing authority that derives more than 50% of its revenues from fines for violation of speed limit laws or speed-related ordinances.
Additionally, the proposed law would require the Department of Transportation and Development to create signs equipped with blinking lights to label the designated speed traps at the expense of the local governing authority. Next, HB961 provides that any local governing authority that fails to erect the speed trap signs would not receive the money from traffic citations issued in that area. Instead, the money would be deposited into the state treasury. Finally, if a local governing authority is suspected of being in violation of the proposed law, the legislative auditor, with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, shall investigate the local governing authority. The legislative auditor would then submit a report to the attorney general, and require the attorney general to notify the legislative auditor and the secretary of the department within 60 days of receipt of the report whether or not the local governing authority is in violation of the proposed law. COMMERCE * House Bill 319, which awaits action by the full House, enacts the Business Corporations Act, modeled after the Model Business Corporation Act which 30 other states have adopted by statute. The proposed law provides for comprehensive revisions to business corporation law in Louisiana. * House Bill 619, pending House final passage, would provide a Louisiana version of the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act. This uniform law, adop t ed i n a majority of states, is designed to make it easier for out-of-state lawyers to conduct discovery in foreign states.
CUSTODY PROCEEDINGS * House Bill 840 provides for transfer of actions in custody proceedings. If a court transfers a custody or support proceeding, which is incidental to a divorce proceeding pending before that court, then the court would be required to also transfer the related divorce proceeding and any other related incidental matters, provided venue would have been proper under the venue provisions for divorce. HB840 is pending House floor action. SURROGACY IN LOUISIANA * House Bill 187, pending House floor debate, provides for the regulation of surrogacy contracts and related matters in Louisiana. CRIMINAL JUSTICE * House Bill 1077, pending action by the full House, creates the crime of battery of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, or a healthcare professional, and amends the definition of crime of obstructing a fireman to include "emergency medical services personnel" or "emergency medical services practitioners." HB1027 defines the crime of battery of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, or a healthcare professional as battery committed without the consent of the victim when the offender has reasonable grounds to believe that the victim is emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel or a healthcare professional acting in the performance of his employment duties. The offense includes the use of force or violence by throwing any form of human waste by an offender while the offender is transported to or from a medical facility or while being evaluated in a medical facility. The proposed law calls for a penalty of
a $1,000 fine and 15 days to six months jail time without benefit of suspension of sentence. At least 48 hours shall be served without benefit of suspension of sentence. If the battery produces an injury requiring medical attention, the penalty would be a fine of $5,000, imprisonment with or without hard labor for one to five years or both. At least five days of the sentence imposed shall be without benefit of suspension of sentence. HEROIN * House Bill 332, pending House final passage, increases the mandatory penalty from five to 10 years prison for distribution of Schedule I narcotic drugs, including heroin and related compounds. The penalty for possession of a narcotic drug under HB332 would add a minimum mandatory sentence of two years of imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE * House Bill 753, reported favorably, provides that any person against whom the court has issued a permanent injunction or a protective order relative to domestic abuse shall be prohibited from possessing a firearm for the duration of the injunction or protective order if both of the following occur: (1) The permanent injunction or protective order includes a finding that the person subject to the permanent injunction or protective order represents a credible threat to the physical safety of a family member or household member. (2) The permanent injunction or protective order informs the person subject to the permanent injunction or protective order that the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to both state and federal law.
Additionally, HB753 creates the crime of possession of a firearm or carrying of a concealed weapon by a person convicted of domestic abuse battery. HB753 provides penalties of imprisonment with or without hard labor for one to five years and a fine of $500 to $1,000. If 10 years has passed since the completion of the sentence for domestic abuse battery or from probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, it shall not be a violation of proposed law. Finally, HB753 requires the Judicial Administrator's Office of the Louisiana Supreme Court to amend the Uniform Abuse Prevention Order to include a reference to state law in those portions of the order that notify and warn the person against whom the order is issued of the federal prohibitions relative to firearms and ammunition. TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS * House Bill 891 authorizes access to investigational drugs, biological products or devices that may benefit treatment to terminally-ill patients. The proposed law provides eligibility criteria for a person who has a terminal illness and specifies that the patient's physician determine that no comparable or satisfactory treatment options approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are available to diagnose, monitor or treat the person's disease or condition. The physician also would determine the probable risk to the person from the investigational drug, biological products or device is not greater than the probable risk from the person's disease or condition. Additionally, the legislation requires the terminally-ill patient seeking access to the investigational drugs, biological product or devices to receive a prescription or
recommendation from his physician; the patient's consent in writing or a parent or legal guardian's consent in writing on the patient's behalf; and the physician's documentation indicating that the patient has met the requirements. HB891 authorizes manufacturers to make their investigational drugs, biological products and devices available to eligible patients, with or without compensation. Health insurers would be authorized to provide coverage for these drugs, however, nothing in HB891 shall be construed to require provision of any drug, product or device by a manufacturer. Physicians would be immune from civil liability for any adverse outcomes resulting from a patient's use of the investigational drug, biological product, or device. HB891 awaits action by the full House. VISITING PHYSICIANS * House Bill 672, substitute adopted on the House floor (became House Bill 1074), provides a limited exemption to state licensing requirements for visiting physicians who meet the following conditions: 1.) They have been invited by the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide medical services at one or more training sites designated by the Olympic training center, or to provide medical services at a committee sanctioned event in La. 2.) The U.S. Olympic Committee certifies to the board the name of the physician, the state or country of the physician's license and the dates within which the physician has been invited to provide medical services. (3) The physician's practice is limited to that required by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and such medical services are within the
physician's area of competence and are only provided to athletes or team personnel registered to train at the Olympic training center or registered to compete in a committee sanctioned event. Also, the exemption would remain in force no longer than 90 days. Finally, the team manager is authorized to give consent to hospital, medical and surgical care to a minor who is a team member, and that consent shall not be subject to disaffirmance because of minority. Further, the bill provides that the consent of a parent of that person shall not be necessary in order to authorize hospital, medical and surgical care. NIGHT HUNTING FERAL HOGS * House Bill 353 would allow yearround day or night hunting of feral hogs on private property by any means, but prohibits hunting for feral hogs with dogs at night from September 1 through the last day of February. HB353 is pending House final passage. COURTS * House Bill 569 would authorize district courts to designate a section or division of court for human trafficking courts. Under this legislation, the presiding judge of the human trafficking court would be authorized to be trained in issues of human trafficking and the support services available to victims. H B5 6 9 a l s o r e q u i r e s a l l prostitution-related offenses to be identified at arraignment and if not resolved, transferred to the human trafficking section of the court. If determined by a judge, after a contradictory hearing that a case involves a victim in need of services, the victim shall receive the following if available: (1) Appropriate support services available for
victims of human trafficking. (2) The opportunity to receive non-criminal disposition or dismissal of the case if the victim complies with mandated support services. * House Bill 154 provides for a $.50 fee for the initial filing in all civil cases, all initial filings with the courts of appeal, all civil and traffic matters, and requires the fees to be deposited into a special account and transmitted monthly to the LA Judicial College to defray the costs associated with the Judicial College’s growth and program improvement strategies. CURRICULA * House Bill 944, pending House final passage, creates a career option in Louisiana's high schools that requires all schools to offer a career major program that shall be recognized by all Louisiana public postsecondary education institutions. Additionally, HB944 requires schools to partner with local business and industry leaders, economic development agencies and post-secondary education leaders to review course offerings offered through dual enrollment, industry training programs and digital learning opportunities. Students would be able to complete courses in approved training programs leading to approved industry based credentials. HB944 eliminates the requirement that the student must develop a five year Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) by the end of the 8th grade and allows students to change majors at the end of any semester. Instead, HB944 requires the IGP developed at the end of the 8th grade to identify courses required through 10th grade and those to be taken in the first year of high school. At the end of 10th grade the IGP shall outline graduation requirements relevant to the student's chosen
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