Chris Broadwater

State Representative Chris Broadwater, Republican from Hammond, discusses his decision to resign from the Louisiana House midway through his second term in office.

Congressman Garret Graves, Republican from Baton Rouge, assesses the impact of the sweeping tax bill passed by Congress this week.

courtesy: Chris Broadwater

State Representative Chris Broadwater, vice chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, has tendered his resignation from the Louisiana House, effective March 1.

 

"My decision was not influenced by anything inside the body, or the politics of it. Nor was it affected by things externally — by any scandal or anything else," the Hammond Republican states. 

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The full House put a number of bills through the mill Thursday, having some bi-partisan fun along the way.

“This is my rescue-a-Republican-bill day,” New Iberia Democrat Terry Landry joked, as he helped Denham Springs Republican Valerie Hodges pass her ignition interlock bill.


Conferring and Waiting

Jun 6, 2016
Sue Lincoln

On this, the final day of the regular legislative session, the House and Senate each convened just before 9:30 a.m, with a deadline of 6 p.m. to complete their business.

Having gotten the budget out of the way Sunday evening, what are they doing today? For many, a whole lot of waiting.

“Members, if you could hang around for a couple of minutes. We just need to make sure we have a quorum, so please, nobody stray away,” House Speaker Taylor Barras said at one point, then the “couple of minutes” stretched into a couple of hours.

LOFSA

“The real issue here is the fact that TOPS is in peril,” remarked Representative Julie Stokes (R-Kenner) in the House Education Committee. 

For next year's budget, which begins on July 1, the state only has $60 million of the $300 million needed to fully fund the popular scholarship program.

Six bills to try and make TOPS more compatible with the state’s fiscal reality were heard in the committee Wednesday. Changes proposed included raising GPA requirements, limiting award amounts, and requiring repayment if students drop out.

louisiana.house.gov

“This bill would prohibit requiring school uniforms,” Representative Chris Broadwater of Hammond  told the House Education Committee Wednesday. And he acknowledged it’s one of the most controversial bills he’s ever authored.

But there’s a backstory to the measure. It’s part of a practical lesson in civics.

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When discussing Louisiana’s budget troubles, the blame is often laid on statutory dedications.

“We have $400-million of taxpayer money tied up in statutory dedications. We need to unlock that money,” Treasurer John Kennedy frequently criticizes.

Four House members -- Chris Broadwater, Rick Edmonds, Kirk Talbot and Jay Morris – all Republicans – decided to try it.


“We stand here and declare the 2015 regular session adjourned sine die.”

With that, the 2015 legislative session came to a close. The uncertainty and drama continued right up to the 6 p.m. deadline, but the legislature did pass a budget supported by tax increases. They also passed the SAVE plan offset, after all.

Earlier in the day, it appeared dead.

“This is one of the two bills that we did get the SAVE language stripped off of it, and I appreciate your favorable vote,” House Ways and Means chairman Joel Robideaux announced before lunchtime.

Anticipating the coming fiscal year’s massive shortfall, Louisiana’s legislature commissioned a comprehensive analysis of the state’s entire tax structure. That report was delivered Tuesday.

“Do we have the right tax structure for 2015 and on?” LSU economist Jim Richardson said was the main question being considered. “It’s a tax structure we put in place in 1973.”