May 25, 2007

House Notes no. 4

by Sheila McCant

The focus of the fourth week of the legislative session was money. The Revenue Estimating Conference met Tuesday and revised the amount of money the state has to spend for both the current and upcoming fiscal years. For fiscal year 2006-2007, the adjustment amounts to an additional $118 million, while fiscal year 2007-2008, which begins July 1, increases by $128 million.
According to state analysts, the additional money is due to higher personal income tax collections and interest earnings on the current surplus. The economist with the Legislative Fiscal Office said the increase in personal income tax collections is due in part to the extension on 2005 tax filings given to citizens affected by the hurricanes which are just beginning to come in. But he warned that the hurricane- related growth is starting to level out.
The House Appropriations Committee this week reported House Bill 1, the state budget bill. The bill left committee at $29.6 billion and includes money for education, health care, charity hospitals, infrastructure, and pay raises for teachers, law enforcement personnel, college faculty, and state workers.
The committee also passed House Bill 920, the legislative budget bill and House Bill 931 , the judicial appropriations bill.
House Bill 2 , which contains almost $5 billion in state construction projects, has passed the House Ways & Means Committee. Under the House rules, the bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration before being taken up by the full House.
A total of 251 House bills and 112 Senate bills have made it through their House of origin. Four bills have completed the legislative process, two House bills await concurrence in amendments, and one bill awaits the governor's signature.

To see the full edition, link here.

May 18, 2007

House Notes no. 3

by: Sheila McCant
With the third week of the session behind us, the House has passed and sent to the Senate, 177 of the 934 House bills introduced. In the Senate, 60 Senate bills have made their way through the process and await House action.
After failing to land the Thyssen Krupp steel mill last week, there was discussion this week about what to do with the $300 million set aside to lure the company to Louisiana. One suggestion is for the state to purchase the land where the mill was to have located for future economic development projects.
May 16 was the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the State Capitol. The event went almost unnoticed, except for a resolution passed by the House to commemorate the event.
According to House Resolution 37, the dedicatory address was delivered by John Holmes Overton of Alexandria, a member of the United States House of Representatives, who was considered an outstanding public speaker. Mr. Overton went on to serve Louisiana in the United States Senate.
Dedication of the building was held in conjunction with the inauguration of Governor O.K. Allen.
Some of the bills of interest considered by committees and the full House this week can be found in the full edition located here.

May 15, 2007


by Sheila McCant, Public Information Officer
The Stelly Plan was the focus of one of the House Ways and Means Committee hearings this week. More than 25 bills have been filed in the House to repeal or amend the plan. Although there was considerable debate of the issue, no action was taken. The committee is expected to vote on the issue later in the session when there is a better idea of how all tax exemptions will affect the budget.
The full House also considered tax breaks this week, including
House Bill 772 which was introduced in an effort to attract the ThyssenKrupp AG steel mill. Less than 24 hours after the House unanimously passed the legislation, the company announced it had selected Alabama for the site of its new mill.
The House Insurance Committee considered bills this week to lower the cost and increase the availability of property insurance in the state. Some of the bills of interest considered by committees and the full House this week can be found in the full edition located

May 08, 2007

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast

The high rates of property insurance in the post-Katrina era have made rebuilding difficult and hit the rental market with higher costs. And some insurers have withdrawn from the Gulf Coast because of the high cost of risk and because of Katrina-related litigation. Gulf Coast state legislatures are mulling over solutions to the economic recovery and home ownership problems resulting from this crisis, as reported in an article published by the National Conference of State Legislatures in State Legislatures, May 2007.

May 03, 2007


by Sheila McCant
Public Information Officer

With an overflow crowd looking on, the House Criminal Justice Committee this morning passed HB 108 which bans promoting or conducting cockfighting in Louisiana. The committee amended the bill to provide for an 18-month phase-out rather than an immediate ban. The bill now goes to the House floor for further consideration.

Violation of the proposed law carries a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

NOTE: The adopted amendment will be available on the Web site later today.

May 02, 2007


by Sheila McCant
Public Information Officer

House committees hit the ground running Tuesday debating such issues as tax breaks, supplemental pay, and the state's building code.

The House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony concerning five similar bills (HB 42, 53, 115, 529, and 665) which seek to repeal the state's gift tax. Chairman Taylor Townsend told the committee that he would hear testimony on these and other tax break bills but would not take a vote on them until there is a clearer picture of the state's "overall fiscal status" and an idea of how much these proposals will affect the state's budget. The Legislative Fiscal Office said the state will lose almost $4 million per year if the gift tax is repealed and although they don't have a firm figure, all tax breaks could add up to several billion dollars.

The committee did pass House Bill 368 which excludes money received from the Louisiana Recovery Authority from calculation of "tax table income." The amount of monies received from the authority for repair or reconstruction of the taxpayer's primary residence due to damages from the 2005 hurricanes would be subtracted from the taxpayer's adjusted gross income unless the monies are already excluded.

Also passing the committee was House Bill 633 which proposes a state sales and use tax exclusion on machinery and equipment purchased by auto manufacturers. The bill will mainly benefit the expansion of the GM truck plant in Shreveport.

House Bill 4, which proposes an increase in supplemental pay for firefighters, deputy sheriffs, police officers and some law enforcement officers employed by the state, was unanimously approved by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill would increase the supplemental pay from $300 per month to $425 per month.

The House Commerce Committee met to hear lawmakers and the public's problems and opinions regarding the state's newly enacted Uniform Construction Code. House Bill 704 has been filed to address some of the concerns with the new law, particularly higher building and inspection costs. No action was taken on the legislation.

For a complete list of House committees meeting today and for the House Order of the Day, a listing of the expected daily business of the House, go to You may watch committee committee meetings and House floor sessions in real time by going to and clicking on "Video Live Webcasts." Archived meetings and sessions are also available at the same Web address. Click on "Video Archives on Demand."