July 03, 2007

2007 Regular Session Wrapup

by Sheila McCant
The 2007 Regular Session is now a chapter for the history books. A limited number of general issue bills were allowed during this fiscal session and they covered a wide variety of issues from hurricane recovery to ethics, to cockfighting. And although some of these bills generated healthy debate, there was one dominant theme during this session - money. And the money issue came in many forms - a record surplus, breaking the spending cap, tax breaks, incentives, and pay raises for teachers, support workers, college faculty, judges, state employees, and others.
For the first time in recent history, House Bill 1 bypassed conference and went straight to the governor's desk. Although she has taken no action on the bill at this time, the governor has signed House Bill 765, the $1.9 billion supplemental appropriations bill that earmarks surplus money and other funds for, among other things, a new charity hospital for New Orleans, $600 million for road improvements, education, health initiatives, the shortfall in the Road Home program, and coastal restoration. Additionally, House Bill 953 uses surplus money from the 2006-07 fiscal year for a variety of programs and obligations.
Also passing was HCR 10 which raised the spending cap for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 from $10,318,239,142 to $12,196,877,089.
The concurrent resolution has been filed with the secretary of state.The bulk of the legislation now faces its last hurdle, the governor's pen. The complete wrapup may be viewed here .

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