Louisiana legislature

Not every bill a legislator files is to make new law. Sometimes a bill is needed to repeal an old law. Such was the case Tuesday in the House Criminal Justice committee.

“No matter what you might think about the language, it is unconstitutional,” said Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith, in reference to the state’s sodomy law, also known as “crime against nature”, and her bill to repeal it.

   “This is for personal protection,” Senator Bret Allain said of his bill to allow legislators to carry their guns in the state capitol. The Senate and Governmental Affairs committee considered the Franklin lawmakers’ bill on Tuesday.

  You live on a limited income, paycheck to paycheck. Now your next paycheck is in jeopardy, because your car won’t start. What to do?

There’s that payday lending store around the corner, so you go take out a loan and buy a new battery for your car. You give the lender a post-dated check for the amount of the loan, plus interest and fees. The lender cashes your check after you get paid. Done deal, right?

Not always, according to David Gray with the Louisiana Budget Project.

Sue Lincoln

A bill that would change how civil lawsuits are handled in state courts is headed to the House floor. The tort reform bill removes the threshold for having a civil case heard by a jury, instead of only by a judge. Current state law allows a jury trial only if the amount involved exceeds $50,000.

Louisiana is known as a foodie paradise, but wine ice cream--one of the latest gourmet trends--can’t be sold here without a change in the current alcohol laws. Monroe Representative Marcus Hunter’s bill to allow sales of the new product was heard in the House Judiciary Committee Friday, and members were quick with the quips.

Bill Feig / The Advocate

Whether you love it--like Vera Collins of Jefferson Parish, who says, “Louisiana’s Common Core State Standards is vital to making the dream a reality”—or hate it, like Ralph Roshto of Lacombe, who says, “Supporting Common Core is like a chicken supporting Colonel Sanders,”—Common Core is driving parents to the state capitol in droves.

But just what is this education issue that’s polarizing Louisiana moms and dads?

A bill that would impose tighter restrictions on abortion providers is headed to the House floor. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson is the author of the measure, HB 388, which requires any doctor who performs more than five abortions annually to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of his or her practice. That rule is not just for those who perform surgical abortions, either. It’s required for doctors prescribing the so-called “abortion pill”, also known as RU-486.

It might seem obvious…when the U.S. Supreme Court rules a state law “unconstitutional”, then the state repeals that law. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor has been trying to get one of those old laws off the books for several years now, but prior attempts never made it past the first hurdle—the Senate Education Committee. This time his repeal bill, SB 70, has made it to the Senate floor, and it’s eligible for debate there as early as today.

Each session, lawmakers file appropriations bills, trying to get the state to pay what courts have ruled is owed to plaintiffs.

This session, one of the 26 “Appropriations/Judgment” bills is authored by Crowley Representative Jack Montoucet, on behalf of the Louisiana Probation and Parole Officers Association. The amount due that group is $3,722,315.00.

State Retirement 101

Mar 14, 2014

Figuring out how to pay for retirement plans might not be the most scintillating topic, but it’s a growing issue for Louisiana lawmakers. Here’s why:

Just as with Social Security, active workers pay into the system while retirees take money out. The difference between the pension plan’s cash on hand and how much will be paid out over time is known as the unfunded accrued liability, or UAL. In Louisiana’s state retirement systems, the UALs have grown a lot lately.

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