This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Latest News from the State Capitol Louisiana House of Representatives Regular Session May 4, 2012
The Legislature began its week with a joint session to commemorate the 200th birthday of Louisiana statehood. Joined by state and federal officials, a dignitary from Quebec, and favorite sons, the session included performances by local artists and the unveiling of a Forever Stamp by the U. S. Postal Service. The stamp, an Atchafalaya swamp scene, is from a photograph by Louisiana photographer C.C. Lockwood. On April 8, 1812, President James Madison signed a bill granting statehood to Louisiana. Less than a month later, on April 30th, Louisiana became the 18th state admitted to the Union. It was the first state to have a majority Catholic French - and Spanish speaking population. It was also the first state carved out of the Louisiana Purchase and the first state located west of the Mississippi River. When it was admitted into the Union, the geographic boundaries of Louisiana were similar to those of today with the exception of the Florida parishes, then West Florida. These parishes were added by a separate bill on April 14, 1812 but the Louisiana Legislature did not approve the bill until August 4, 1812. Therefore, this area was not part of Louisiana on April 30th when it initially became a state. These parishes are East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington. Further information about the Bicentennial Celebration is available at http://www.louisianabicentennial2012.com . The House has passed 713 House bills 1
this session compared to 713 in 2010. Thirtythree House bills have completed the legislative process and have been sent to the Governor. Of these, 3 have been signed. On the same legislative day in 2010, 55 had completed the process with the governor signing 33. On the Senate side, 15 bills have been sent to the Governor with 4 receiving signatures.
This week the House Appropriations Committee passed House Bill 1, the general appropriation bill, and HB822 which provides for the transfer and deposit of $346 million from various state funds to help balance the budget. The bills are scheduled for debate as Special Order of the Day No. 1 and No. 2 on Thursday, May 10.
* House Bill 1092 would authorize the Department of Revenue to make payment of tax refunds by means of a debit card at the option of the taxpayer. Current law directs the Department of Revenue (LDR) to issue refunds of overpayments to taxpayers. House Bill 1092 would allow LDR to refund overpayments on debit cards at the option of the taxpayer for any refund issued by the department. Additionally, the proposed law requires the paper form of the individual income tax return to provide the following options for receipt of a refund: check, debit card, direct deposit, or any other format by which the department may
pay a refund. A taxpayer who files a paper tax return may select the payment method for his refund. If a tax return does not reflect the selection of a specific method of payment by the taxpayer, the bill specifies the refund shall be paid in a manner determined by the secretary of the department. House Bill 1092 awaits consideration by the full House.
* House Bill 674, a proposed constitutional amendment, authorizes an ad valorem tax exemption contract by the State Board of Commerce and Industry, for the property of an eligible business which is located in a parish, and, where applicable, municipality or school district which has agreed to participate in the program. Current law constitutionally allows an exemption from ad valorem taxation for manufacturing establishments as determined by the State Board of Commerce and Industry. The proposed law expands the exemption to other projects as determined by the Board of Commerce and Industry, subject to gubernatorial approval. Contract terms can total 10 years; a 5-year initial term authorized in this amendment and a 5-year renewal provided in the statutory companion bill, House Bill 694. The renewal of a contract shall not be contingent upon continued participation in the program by a parish. The legislature is authorized to establish a program for the approval of contracts by the parish governing authority and the board. Additionally, all property exempted pursuant to a contract would be listed on the assessment rolls, but no taxes would be collected during the period of exemption. The legislation provides that the exemption shall in no way affect or impair the security of any existing bonds payable from the proceeds of a tax. Finally, HB674 would be submitted for voter approval at the statewide election to 2
be held Nov. 6, 2012. * House Bill 694, the companion bill to House Bill 674, establishes the program to authorize the granting of ad valorem tax exemption contracts by the Board of Commerce and Industry. Under this legislation, the exemption is expanded to various non-manufacturing business activities and industries (except gaming) with more than half their sales out-of-state, and any other business sector targeted by LED for projects of at least $25 million in capital expenditures. Local authorities can opt into or out of the program, but existing contracts and renewals would not be affected. The exemption requires the invitation of LED or parish authority, project eligibility determined by the LED secretary, and approval of the Board of Commerce and Industry and the governor. The secretary of LED would execute the contract on behalf of the board. In any parish which has elected to participate in the program, the program requires approval by the governing authority of the municipality or school district to participate in the program. Additionally, the proposed law provides that the election to participate in the program by a parish governing authority shall be evidenced by the adoption of an ordinance. Participation in the program shall be for an indefinite term and may be rescinded at any time by the parish governing authority, or, if applicable, the governing authority of a municipality or school district. Withdrawal by a parish, municipality, or school district shall not affect existing contracts or renewals. HB694 contains the criteria for eligibility of a business to participate in the program: (1) A business which has at least 50% of the total annual sales from a La. site or sites is to out-of-state customers or buyers, in-state customers or buyers but the product or service is resold by the purchaser to an out-of-state customer or buyer for ultimate use, or the federal government, or any combination thereof.
(2) The activities of the business at a La. site or sites include corporate headquarters, logistics, warehousing, data center, clean technology, destination health care, research and development, renewable energy, digital media and software development, or other business sector targeted by the secretary as a focus of the department's economic development efforts. (3) The business intends to either locate a project or undertake an expansion project in La., either of which shall involve a capital expenditure of at least $25 million by the business or an affiliate or partner on its behalf. House Bill 694 would become effective for tax years commencing after voter approval of HB 674 on November 6, 2012 or tax year 2013. Both House Bill 674 and House Bill 694 were unanimously approved in the House and have moved to the Senate for further consideration.
that coverage for such disorders shall be subject to a maximum benefit of $36,000 per year. Under present law, such mandated coverage shall not apply to any coverage plan issued to an employer with 50 or fewer employees. House Bill 771 deletes this provision exclusion. Finally, specific benefits that exceed the specified essential health benefits shall not be required of a health benefit plan when the plan is offered by a health care insurer in this state. House Bill 771, approved in the House by a 97-0 vote, moves to the Senate Committee on Insurance.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE
* House Bill 1143 provides that a public meeting agenda cannot be changed less than 24 hours prior to the meeting and requires each item on the agenda to be listed separately and described with reasonable specificity. Additionally, the proposed law provides that before the public body may take any action on an item, the presiding officer or his designee shall read aloud the description of the item. House Bill 1143 was approved in the House by a vote of 90-5.
* House Bill 61 requires non-hazardous duty new members of LASERS and postsecondary education new members of TRSL, hired on or after July 1, 2013, to be members of the Cash Balance Plan (CBP). Proposed law permits employees of LASERS, TRSL, and LSERS, except members of the Hazardous Duty Services Plan of LASERS, to opt into the CBP. The bill was approved by the House and is pending Senate referral.
* House Bill 1109 permits the sale of individual computing devices that have been used by students for classwork after the school board determines the device has reached the end of its typical life cycle, is no longer needed for school purposes and removed from classroom use. A school board may sell the device to a student enrolled in a school in the school system or to the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of such a student. The sale price for the device shall be reasonably equal to the value of the device, taking into consideration its typical life cycle, current condition, and costs of other methods of alienation or disposal. Further, all such sales shall be in accordance with school board policies, and sale 3
* House Bill 771 provides that beginning January 1, 2014, any health coverage plan issued for delivery, delivered, renewed, or otherwise contracted for in this state shall provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in individuals up to 21 years of age. Additionally, this legislation eliminates the lifetime maximum benefit of $144,000 in present law and instead provides
prices shall be approved by appropriate school system administrative personnel prior to sale. Proceeds from such sales shall be deposited by the school board and shall be used for general fund expenditures of the school board. The provisions of HB1109 apply only to individual computing devices used for classwork by students, and would not apply to other computer equipment or related equipment such as routers, switches, or servers. HB1109 was approved by a vote of 870 on the House floor.
A first offense carries a penalty of not more than $250 and a second offense, not more than $500. The bill passed the House by a vote of 90-0 and awaits Senate referral.
INDIGENT DEFENSE FUND
* The House approved House Bill 325, which increases the special cost assessed in criminal cases in each district court for the district indigent defender fund from $35 to $45. The legislation also provides that the increased cost expire on Aug. 1, 2014 and revert back to$35 thereafter.
FAILED TO ADVANCE * Senate Bill 601 requires persons operating an official inspection station to offer certificates of inspection that are valid for both one year and two year periods. The bill failed to pass the House transportation committee. * House Bill 901 would have allowed parents of public school students to opt out of certain LEAP tests. The bill was involuntarily deferred by the House Education Committee. * House Bill 130 would have required that the members of the Board of Pardons have knowledge, education, or experience in the administration of criminal justice or in the behavioral sciences, specific training, and must reflect, as nearly as possible, a cross section of the racial, gender, economic, and geographic features of the population of the state. The bill was involuntarily deferred by the House criminal justice committee. * House Bill 1018 would have prohibited limitations on the transfer of investment gains to accounts used to fund costof-living adjustments in the state retirement systems. The bill failed to pass the House Retirement Committee.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS
* House Bill 293 provides that provisions under present law that allow an operator to become a regular and permanent operator would no longer apply to any school bus operator whose date of first employment with the school system begins July 1, 2012, or thereafter. Instead, the proposed law provides that after the expiration of the probationary term provided by present law, such an operator may be removed from his position as provided by the personnel policy of the employing school board. House Bill 293 is scheduled for floor debate on Monday, May 7.
* House Bill 204 creates the crime of reckless discharge of a firearm on residential property in and unincorporated area. The bills defines the crime as reckless or criminally negligent discharge on or within 1,000 feet of any residential property in unincorporated areas of a parish. 4
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.