With less than a month left in the session, the full Senate spent most of Tuesday afternoon digging through a mountain of House bills awaiting final passage. More than 120 House bills were on the Senate’s to-do list, and the upper chamber managed to complete the legislative process on about half of those.
Louisiana got some bad news from the federal Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) late last Friday. CMS says “no deal” on six of the LSU hospital public-private partnerships.
“I don’t know what their issue is, but it appears that the basis for the denial is related to the means of financing—specifically as it relates to the advance lease payments,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the House Appropriations committee Monday.
If you can’t get lethal injection drugs, how do you impose the death penalty?
"We have the death sentence. Whether some of you agree with that or disagree with it, that's what we have,” said House Criminal Justice committee chairman Joe Lopinto. “If we're going to have that we need to be able, as a state, to follow through with that order."
The Senate Education Committee took testimony on the MFP Thursday, and ended up rejecting the formula for funding public schools.
The formula included $150-million in new spending: for a growing number of students, for career education and for kids with special needs. On a conference call following the committee meeting, state Superintendent John White said he’s not worried about students losing out, despite the formula being turned away. That’s because House Appropriations already added the extra money to HB 1, the next state budget.
Louisiana’s legislature approved medical marijuana for certain diseases in 1991. Twenty-three years later, a bill that would finally set up a prescription system for dispensing the drug was heard in Senate Health and Welfare Wednesday.
A Senate-approved bill to prohibit the camera-equipped unmanned aircraft known as drones from overflying chemical plants and refineries crashed and burned in the House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday.
“Drones are becoming more and more prevalent,” explained the bill’s author, Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White. “And it’s just an effort to try to at least have some rules or laws for the state of Louisiana with our critical infrastructure.”
“There’s no one-time money for recurring expenditures in the budget,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols guaranteed from the start of this year’s budget process. Yet as the House Appropriations Committee worked to modify and approve Governor Jindal’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, the secret behind “no one-time money” was revealed.
Although they didn’t actually “hold hands and sing Kumbayah”, there was a brief moment of peace and accord between the Jindal administration and teachers unions last week. After more than two years of name-calling, angst and lawsuits, they found common ground around a bill to modify the process for terminating tenured teachers who receive “ineffective” ratings.
At the conclusion of nearly five hours of emotional testimony, Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman David Heitmeier read the names of those weighing in on Senator Ben Nevers’ bill. The proposal would have put a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act before voters in Louisiana.
“You’ve got a lot of support here, Sen. Nevers," Heitmeier said.
But Nevers didn’t have the support of the committee. His bill was stopped on a 6 to 2 vote that fell along party lines.