Focus Topic- Transparency, Government Functionality, and Accountability

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

These bills focus on transparency/accountability/ government functionality issues.

House Bill 14 (HB14)-(Richard) Currently a legislator is prohibited from being appointed to or employed in any position in state government for a period of one year following the termination of his service as a legislator. This bill seeks to change that period to two years. Update: This bill was withdrawn on 3/19. 

House Bill 19 (HB19)– (Richard)  Makes governor’s office records subject to public records laws. Provides for certain interoffice communications to be privileged and for that privilege to lapse after 10 years from creation of the document. Requires governor’s documents to be turned over to the state archive. Currently the governor’s records are not subject to public record laws.

House Bill 31 (HB31)- (Montoucet) requires the DOTD to make information about proposed projects available in certain places as well as providing maps and information on miles of roads effected. It also would allow a deleted project to be potentially replaced if certain conditions are met.

House Bill 47 (HB47)-  (Hollis) parishes or municipalities can only send automated traffic violation notices if the vehicle is registered to an address in an area that uses such automated systems as well.

House Bill 73 (HB73)-  (Richard)requires a 10% reduction in the total dollar amount for professional, personal,and consulting service contracts under the jurisdiction of the office of contractual review for the 2013-2014 fiscal year- Contracts that would put it over the 10% reduced amount would have to meet several requirements to be allowed

House Bill 83 (HB83)-  (Brossett) Authorizes the state of Louisiana to forgive loans it made to local areas effected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita

House Bill 88 (HB88)- (Champagne) Also a constitutional amendment that would be up to voters Nov, 2014- Adds term limits of three consecutive terms for statewide elected offices (except for the governor who is already term limited)

House Bill 92 (HB92)-  (Burrell) Alters the appropriations bill by adding a new definition of “authorized other charges positions” as the number of positions in an appropriation bill to be funded by the other charges continuing category of the accounting system of the state.

House Bill 96 (HB96)- (Broadwater) lets the board of commissioners of waterworks district appoint a fiscal agent for up to three years instead of for just one

House Bill 97 (HB97)- (Harris) Requires the legislative fiscal office to analyze the general appropriations bill and report on (an make available online for the public) increases, decreases, and other changes from previous years. Update: This bill was withdrawn on 3/21

House Bill 100 (HB100)- (Harrison) changes from one fund (video draw poker device purse supplement fund) to another (Horse Industry Economic Sustainability Fund) for deposit of proceeds from specific gambling ventures. States that the dedication and uses of the proceeds will not change.

House Bill 101 (HB101)-  (Harrison) Constitutional amendment which allows for transfer by the state treasurer of funds appropriated to a state agency other than the agency which has the legal authority to perform the purpose, function, or program being funded. So if the wrong agency gets money for a project it can be transferred without legislative action. As a constitutional amendment, this will require voter approval.

House Bill 102 (HB102)- (Harrison) Constitutional amendment which would restrict the inclusion of non-monetary provisions in an appropriations bill to cases where those provisions are for imposing limits, conditions, qualifications or restrictions on spending funds in said bill.

House Bill 108 (HB108)- (Broadwater) Authorizes local governments to approve placement of cable services in the public right of way.

House Bill 114 (HB114)- (K. Jackson) Repeals a law limiting which financial institutions can receive public funds. The current law does not allow financial institutions that have received two less than satisfactory ratings under the 1977 federal Community Reinvestment Act.

House Bill 149 (HB149)- (Talbot) limits the commission which a producer may receive from sales of La. Citizens insurance policies through its FAIR and Coastal Plans to no greater than 5% per policy premium and also adds collecting a larger commission to the list of prohibited activities for insurers and insurance producers. Update: This bill was withdrawn on 3/25

House Bill 156 (HB156)-  (Schexnayder) Abolishes a long list of boards/councils/commissions in some cases eliminating their functions and in others moving the function to another board/council/commission. The list being abolished is to long to reproduce here, view the bill for the list, check the digest (pgs 20-25 of the bill) for the easiest way to view the list.

Senate Bill 19 (SB19)- (Allain) prohibits the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Company from raising rates by more than 25% in a year without approval of the House and Senate committees on insurance.

Senate Bill 20 (SB20)-  (Allain) Extends public notice requirements for meetings in which a political subdivision is considering levying a tax or calling an election to do so to require the notice to be published between 30 and 60 days before the meeting and also sets up a system requiring 10 day notice for a rescheduled meeting if the meeting or the vote on the topic is postponed.

Senate Bill 27 (SB27)-    (Broome) Adds a 90 day in advance of a sale date requirement to the requirements for a sheriff serving notice of a property seizure. Requires the use of a form that was previously optional. Adds information on home-owners rights and counseling to the information that must be given when notice is given.

Senate Bill 29 (SB29)-   (Nevers)   Currently there is a constitutional prohibition on unfunded mandates for political subdivisions and school systems with certain exceptions laid out. This constitutional amendment seeks to eliminate the bulk of these exceptions (including one for mandates to comply with federal law) leaving just the ones for laws put in place before the prohibition of the mandates and one for laws providing for firemen and municipal policemen.

Senate Bill 30 (SB30)-  (Morrell) Creates a commission to study, report on, and make recommendations for justice reform in Orleans Parish.

Senate Bill 33 (SB33)- (Troy Brown) allows for a survey (which shall not be classified as a public record for the public records act) to be conducted by the minority affairs division of the dept of insurance into the hiring and contracting policies used by insurers – as it relates to minorities.

Senate Bill 38 (SB38)- (Cortez) doubles the threshold amount used to determine if money to be distributed as purses in horse racing is to be handled by the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association or retained for distribution by the association having the race meeting.

Senate Bill 41 (SB41)- (Kotselka) This proposed constitutional amendment would make the state superintendent of education a position which can not be appointed only elected and require the superintendent to be an elected one by January 2016.

Senate Bill 55 (SB55)- (Johns) Requires the Dept of Health and Hospitals to report on Medicaid to the senate and house committees on health and welfare annually as well as make more information on the state’s medicaid program available on their website. Lays out in depth the information which must be reported to the committees.

House Bill 174 (HB174)- (Arnold) A 4% pay increase for the Clerks of Court which requires them to complete annual certification updates and renewal courses.

House Bill 176 (HB176)- (Ritchie) Changes document requirements for withdrawals from a cemetery merchandise trust fund from a death certificate to documents chosen by rules established by the related board.

House Bill 177 (HB177)- (Leger) Makes the Institute of Public Health and Justice the primary researcher for the legislature on youth criminal justice and behavioral problem issues which will serve as a statewide data repository and resource with information on best practices in juvenile justice. Authorizes funding for the institute as well as cooperation with other educational/research institutes.

House Bill 181 (HB181)- (LeBas) Lets Evangeline Parish accept a bid from a local (in parish) contractor who is not the lowest bidder if the lowest bidder is not local, the local bid is no more than 5% higher than the lowest bid, and the local contractor agrees to do the contract at the same price as the lowest bid. Basically allows for preference to be given to local contractors when accepting bids.

House Bill 184 (HB184)- (Honore) Authorizes background checks for applicants to jobs under the Volunteer LA Commission and any program funded by AmeriCorps

House Bill 190 (HB190)- (Schexnayder) Replaces a requirement for the Private Works Act which currently requires an itemized list of elements to requiring a general description of materials supplies/services rendered.

House Bill 191 (HB191)- (S. Bishop) Requires the state to take actions to ensure the ability to vote for registered voters who can not vote during early voting or vote at their polling place due to out of state work requirements related to a declared emergency.

House Bill 192 (HB192)- (Edwards)  For the code of civil procedure, adds articles addressing proper venue in actions involving certain retirement systems and employee benefit programs, actions involving voting trusts, and actions involving application for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment to the list of articles providing exclusive venue and the rules for application when two or more articles conflict. Also requires the proof for a default judgement to be placed into the court record prior to a judgement. In addition, requires hearings for amending final judgments and for courts to explain their reasons for granting motions for new trials.

House Bill 197 (HB197)-  (Greene) Extends the way political subdivisions can be defined as financial at risk. Increases the authority of fiscal administrators appointed to these at risk subdivisions. Includes penalties for local officials who do not cooperate with/facilitate such a fiscal administrator. While it is distinct from the Michigan emergency manager law, this strikes me as something that could be headed in that horrible direction.

House Bill 209 (HB209)-  (Garofalo) Lets the legislative fiscal staff have access to state agency information in a manner similar to that which the legislative auditor and legislative fiscal officer currently do.

House Bill 211 (HB211)-  (Connick) Allows local governing bodies to create local transportation districts and sets up all the powers and duties such districts would have including the ability to collect fees, incur debts, enter into contracts, conduct property surveys, acquire property, and have a seal.

House Bill 220 (HB220)- (Havard) Requires the legislative fiscal office to analyze the general appropriations bill and report on (an make available online for the public) increases, decreases, and other changes from previous years.  – Basically the same thing as HB97 which was withdrawn.

House Bill 240 (HB240)-  (Havard) Creates significant legislative oversight and regulation for privatization contracts for government agencies. Also requires public record law to apply to privatization contracts.

House Bill 254 (HB254)- (Fannin)  Would require legislative oversight and approval of updates to the uniform state construction code no less than 10 days before the bill filing deadline. Such updates will not become effective until it is approved by the legislature by concurrent resolution while in session.

House Bill 294 (HB294)- (Ritchie) Requires the commissioner of insurance to review and approve of any individual or group long-term care insurance policy- including group policies offered to a resident of this state but issued in another state.

House Bill 307 (HB307)– (Lambert) The stay of a final permit action in a decision by the dept of environmental quality may only be ordered after notice has been sent and there has been an opportunity for a hearing.

House Bill 340 (HB340)- (Burford)  Requires the state registrar of vital records to take (largely unspecified- the bill says an administrative actions necessary) actions to ensure timely and efficient preparation, filing, and issuance of vital records.

 House Bill 341 (HB341)- (T. Burns) Revises the LA election code. Most of the changes seem to be relative minor issues, changes to how computerized registration is handled, some deadline changes for candidates and presidential electors for the electoral college, no longer refunding qualifying fees to candidates who drop out of races, etc.  Nothing I could spot to make significant changes to the registration process or voting process for average individuals.

House Bill 353 (HB353)– (Dove) There is a law requiring a system for seeking the lowest bidder for public work contracts in excess of $15ok. There is an exception  to the law to raise that amount to a million dollars in place for work on certain levees which is set to expire. This bill extends that exception to 2016.

House Bill 365 (HB365)- (Dove) Extends the special limit of $1 million (instead of $150k) before having to abide by the public bid law for certain levee projects til 2016.

House Bill 381 (HB381)– (W. Bishop) Prohibits seizing personal property of governmental employees to cover a judgement or settlement as long as those employees were acting within the course and scope of their employment.

House Bill 383 (HB383)-  (Lopinto) Exempts the lease of a hospital in Jefferson Parish from laws requiring voter approval for such a lease.

House Bill 387 (HB387)– (Schroder) Protects public employees who provide information to a legislator or legislative committee upon request from being suspended, demoted, or dismissed as a result.

House Bill 407 (HB407)– (Robideaux) This constitutional amendment requires legislation related to tax rebates may only enacted in odd numbered years.  It also  requires proposed legislation related to tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions, reductions, repeals, or credits to be pre-filed at least 45 days prior to the first day of a regular session.

House Bill 411 (HB411)- (Price) This bill requires the adoption of the Part IV-Energy Conservation of the 2009 (or most recent edition) of the International Residential Code with updates as new editions are published and also  prohibits any state amendment that weakens the efficiency of said code.

House Bill 422 (HB422)– (Talbot) Requires annual rather than biennial unified economic development budget reports and requires that all members of the legislature receive the report. Deletes a few current law report requirements to simplify things.

House Bill 427 (HB427)- (Fannin) This constitutional amendment prohibits the Public Service Commission from regulating any nonprofit water utility cooperative or corporation owned by users where each user can vote for the cooperative’s directors

House Bill 430 (HB430)– (Leger) Increases the amounts of 10 different fees charged by the secretary of state.

House Bill 431 (HB431)– (Leger) Makes a variety of technical changes including removing many limitations pertaining to bonds issued by political subdivisions.

House Bill 432 (HB432)- (Geymann) Provides fund appropriations  for the ordinary operating expenses of state government (including executive branch of state  government, pensions, public schools, public roads, public charities, and state  institutions)  for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

House Bill 434 (HB434)– (Jay Morris) This constitutional amendment states that if the proposed expenditures for health care or higher education are less than appropriated for such in the prior regular session, then separate appropriation bills for discretionary and nondiscretionary expenditures will be required.

House Bill 435 (HB435)– (Seabaugh) This constitutional amendment has 4 prongs:

1) funds shall not be available for appropriation unless they are  included in the official forecast of the Revenue Estimating Conference

2) that funds appropriated shall not exceed the state’s official revenue forecast

3)that appropriations shall not be contingent or use nonrecurring monies for recurring expenditures

4) that the Revenue Estimating Conference shall designate revenues that do not materialize for two preceding years or which will not be available for two succeeding years as nonrecurring to be used only for those nonrecurring expenditures.

House Bill 436 (HB436)– (Garofalo) This constitutional amendment changes the day by which the general appropriation bill must be passed to 1)  in even-numbered years-  in the House of Representatives the 42nd calendar day and in the Senate the 60th calendar day. 2)in odd-numbered years, in the House of Representatives  of the 17th calendar day and in the Senate 35th calendar day.

House Bill 437 (HB437)– (Harris) This bill requires the Revenue Estimating Conference’s official forecast to include projection of all state funds. It also requires the REC to designate  funds which are from any source that has not been available for the preceding two fiscal years or which will not be available for the succeeding two fiscal years  as nonrecurring. It also states the executive budget shall not include recommendations for appropriations from any fund which exceed the forecast for that fund. It also prohibits the appropriation of any funds which are not part of the official REC forecast. Lastly the bill states that except for exception laid out in present law, appropriations out of a fund shall not exceed the forecast for that fund.

House Bill 446 (HB446)– (Champagne) This bill requires (rather than allows) the commissioner of administration to review the initial allocation of expenditures in the state operating budget by category. It also requires approval of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to change the initial allocation of expenditures.

House Bill 452 (HB452)- (Fannin) Adds maintenance and operations of existing park areas to the list of allocations for the Louisiana State Parks Improvement and Repair Fund. Also authorizes a wide range of deposits into the state’s overcollections fund.

House Bill 454 (HB454)–  (N. Landry) Addresses the matter of agenda items, how they are taken up, how they are removed from the agenda, how they are moved within the agenda, etc as they relate to public body meetings.

House Bill 462 (HB462)-  (Arnold) Establishes citizenship and residency requirements for any partnership, corporation, or limited liability company applying for a manufacturer’s permit based on the current requirements for retail permits.

House Bill 469 (HB469)– (Adams) Protects volunteer firefighters from civil liability for actions they take in the course of their work as a volunteer firefighter.

House Bill 471 (HB471)– (Ivey) Requires the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice to present reports for the most recent available calendar year. These reports should be distributed on paper  to the governor, certain legislative committee chairman, as well as others who request a report. The report should also  be made available on the commission’s website. (present law has different reporting requirements and does not include the website)

House Bill 479 (HB479)– (Barras)  Exempts employees of hospitals owned or operated by a hospital service district whose primary duties involve maintenance, custodial services, or food service from annual ethics education and training requirements unless their duties also involve supervising another employee.

House Bill 482 (HB482)- (Stokes) This bill states that an agency head of an audited agency which receives a disclaimer of opinion audit report for three consecutive years while that person is agency head shall be guilty of malfeasance in office and gross misconduct in office  as well as subject to a fine of at least $500 and no more than $5,000.

House Bill 485 (HB485)- (Whitney) Changes the opening day for the qualifying period in congressional elections from the third to the first Wednesday in August. Otherwise maintains current law.

House Bill 487 (HB487)– (S. Bishop) Requires all overhead power lines (along with their wattage and owner) to be illustrated on plans for public works projects. A contractor will not be liable to any damage if this is not done unless they cause the damage through gross negligence.

House Bill 488 (HB488)–  (Ivey) Requires all state entities to accept cash for any transaction of $250 or less and also requires state agencies to accept credit or debit cards for payment.

House Bill 490 (HB490)-  (Champagne) Adds elected officials to the list of officials and employees about which information must be included in the first report of each year showing the expenditures of various offices and agencies within a parish. Also requires that travel expenses be included in the report. Lastly requires any parish that has a website to put the report on their website within 10 days of receiving the report.

House Bill 491 (HB491)- (Pylant) Allows the secretary of the DOTD to issue a special permit to those vehicles transporting hay due to a disaster or emergency (including but not limited to severe and extended drought conditions).

House Bill 498 (HB498)- (N. Landry)  Prohibits anyone who has contracted or is seeking to contract with the state or any political subdivision of the state to house prisoners from making campaign contributions in support of or opposition to candidates (or related political committees) for governor, legislator, or sheriff or to officials who hold those positions. Sets up penalties for the violation of the prohibition.

House Bill 510 (HB510)– (Chaney)  Removes one stipulation from the requirements for the state veterinarian. (which had required 3 years of experience in the regulatory control of livestock disease) Lays out 5 powers for the state veterinarian.

House Bill 516 (HB516)- (Leger) Expands the authority of the Ernest N. Morial-New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority to allow lodging/hotel related projects. Authorizes an expansion project with public infrastructure, park, and hotel integration elements.

House Bill 519 (HB519)– (Henry) Creates the Privatization Review Act which sets up and requires a review process for government agencies to enter into privatization contracts. Requires an oversight and approval process which involves the state legislature.

House Bill 522 (HB522)– (K. Jackson) Creates a special election on Sat October 19th, 2013 for the purpose of submitting the proposed constitutional amendments to the electorate.

House Bill 523 (HB523)– (Gaines) Courts can not issue an injunction against a state agency, department, or board to compel the spending of funds when that would cause a deficit within the agency. This bill would require that agency to prove in an affidavit through a preponderance of evidence that it would directly cause a deficit and allows the averse party to examine and show evidence to disprove the affidavit.

House Bill 526 (HB526)- (Robideaux) Requires the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay to approve nonstate entity line of credit recommendations (which were recommended to them by the commissioner of administration at least 15 days before the meeting of the bond commission) in order for those recommendations to be eligible to be considered by the state bond commission for lines of credit.

House Bill 530 (HB530)- (Geymann) This constitutional amendment is very similar to HB 437. It requires that all funds that are appropriated to be included in and not exceed the funds in the REC’s official revenue forecast, that appropriations cannot be contingent or rely on non-recurring funds for recurring expenses, that the governor’s budget must meet these guidelines, and that non-recurring funds must be specified as such and only used for non-recurring expenses.

House Bill 535 (HB535)- (Schroder) This constitutional amendment creates the Working Cash Stabilization fund and requires 2% of the official revenue forecast each year to go to this fund. With 2/3 legislator’s approval, up to half of the fund can be used to eliminate a projected deficit. Fund balances beyond a certain level in the account can be used to retire state debt or pay for non recurring offenses.

House Bill 538 (HB538)- (Schroder) This bill changes the allocation and use of space within the state capitol complex. It also allocates the capitol annex to the legislature. It also requires the state police to develop and implement a security plan for the complex.

House Bill 547 (HB547)- (Price)  Changes some definitions related to used motor vehicles. Clarifies some rules about who is regulated by the LA used motor vehicle commission. Makes procedural changes to the denial, revocation or suspension of a license through the commission. Increases the fine related to black market sales. Clarifies causes for a denial of license.

House Bill 548 (HB548)- (Willmott) Creates an Elevator Safety Review Board and lays out the responsibilities and authorities of the board. Puts in place inspection requirements for elevators and other conveyances (such as platform lifts, escalators, moving walkways, and dumbwaiters) and sets up licensing for elevator contractors, inspectors, and mechanics.

House Bill 549 (HB549)– (Leger) Establishes the MediFund- a special fund within the state treasury to support “advancement of biosciences and medical centers of excellence in Louisiana.” Specifies the goals, the board, and the general functioning of the fund. Specifies funding from the fund to go only to public or non-profit entities. This bill would expire in 2018. It also repeals the law to create the “Dedicated Research Investment Fund for support of biomedical and biotechnological research and development.”

House Bill 550 (HB550)– (Thierry) Creates a fund and program to inspect homes and retrofit  homes (insured by La. Citizens Property Insurance Corp) to make them less vulnerable to hurricane damage.

House Bill 552 (HB552)– (Seabaugh) Removes the ability for union fees to be an authorized deduction from a public employees paycheck. (ACK! This is really bad for the future of our already limited collective bargaining in the state)

House Bill 556 (HB556)– (W Bishop) Authorizes both the Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board to use (according to procedures laid out in the law) the competitive sealed proposal method (As defined in the law) to contract out work to be done on certain hurricane damaged property in Orleans Parish until July 1, 2015.

House Bill 559 (HB559)- (Brossett) This extends the authority of areas damaged by hurricane Katrina or Rita to use a “design  build contract” from the current 6 years to 7.

House Bill 560 (HB560)– (G Jackson) This bill provides amnesty for, erases fines related to, refunds fees based on, and cancels violation notices related to failing to pay the toll on the Crescent City Connection between January 1, 2013, and March 5, 2013. Related to this court decision. 

House Bill 566 (HB566)– (Dixon) Allows the state to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states  or the US govt which facilitate recovery of overpaid benefits.

House Bill 567 (HB567)– (Ponti) Creates regulations to govern and require the registration of debt management and debt settlement services in the state (to be governed through the state attorney general office). Repeals the current law prohibiting debt adjusting when conducted for profit and the current law regulating financial planning and management services though the director of occupational standards.

House Bill 579 (HB579)- (Adams) Allows a local governing body to take legal action to recover costs associated with a disaster, accident or emergency from the party responsible for the disaster accident or emergency.

House Bill 580 (HB580)–  (Greene) Requires a review of the state uniform construction code and the adoption of part 5- mechanical of the international residential code. Clarifies the list industrial facilities that provisions of the code do not apply to

House Bill 581 (HB581)- (Connick) Exempts from seizure for payment to a seizing creditor any amount from the income of a worker whose income is less than 125% of the federal poverty line. Also has a provision for a minimum  weekly exemption from seizure of 50 times the federal minimum hourly wage.

House Bill 588 (HB588)- (Abramson) This revises the Louisiana Civil Code as it pertains to prescriptive periods. Allows for extensions of liberative prescription in some cases.

House Bill 589 (HB589)– (Abramson) Extensively revises the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure – this law is probably only of interest to / understandable by lawyers.

House Bill 600 (HB600)- (Montoucet)  Allows nonprofit water utility cooperatives wholly owned by water users (and not under the jurisdiction of the public service commission) to conduct elections of  user members to make changes in rates charged for water.

House Bill 601 (HB601)– (Schroder) (appears to be basically the same as HB526) Requires the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay to approve nonstate entity line of credit recommendations (which were recommended to them by the commissioner of administration at least 15 days before the meeting of the bond commission) in order for those recommendations to be eligible to be considered by the state bond commission for lines of credit.

House Concurrent Resolution 5 (HCR5)- (Foil) Creates a commission to research the possibility of calling a state constitutional convention and to report their findings to the legislature.

House Concurrent Resolution 6 (HCR6)– (Jim Morris) Would direct the commissioner of the administration to change the 2013-2014 expenditure limit. It would be changed from $15,686,646,424 to $12,916,140,954.

House Concurrent Resolution 21 (HCR21)- (Talbot)  Directs the attorney general to review and report on laws relative to lobbying by public servants and the use of public funds for lobbying, public relations, and related purposes

House Concurrent Resolution 34 (HCR34)– (Carmody) Requests that the governor itemize and project separately expenditures which rely upon a transfer of fund balances laid out in a funds bill from other recommendations in the executive budget and General Appropriation Bill.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 (SCR2)– (Ward)  Suspends provisions which create single-member districts for members of the Iberville Parish School Board for use in the regular election of board members in 2014 and after until 60 days after the end of the 2014 session because the change has not yet received pre-clearance under the voting rights act.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 (SCR12)- (Amedee) Creates a task force to study and make recommendations related to the capitol park, with respect to the state capitol building, traffic congestion, Capitol Lake, and the surrounding infrastructure.


–to be periodically updated as new bills are filed–