Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part III

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

This is part of my ongoing effort to highlight and provide brief summaries of legislative items in the 2014 session. If you have an item you would suggest I keep an eye on, drop me a line through the contact form. 

This entry covers: SB107, SB115, SB123, SB144, SB151, SB160, SB164, SB175, SB187, SB200

Senate Bill 107 (SB107) (Nevers)– This bill is another attempt to enact the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Unlike some of the other bills on the topic, it proposes the use of premium assistance to provide healthcare and lays out the possibility of cost sharing requirements for some enrolled in the program.

Senate Bill 115 (SB115) (Buffington) – This is a bill to allow retail food stores with outside dining areas to allow pet dogs in those areas. Not important, but I was so entertained by this being  a bill I had to list it.

Senate Bill 123 (SB123)  (Nevers)– This proposed constitutional amendment would change the state minimum wage for businesses employing at least 50 full time workers to require them to pay workers 18 or older $9.50 an hour to be adjusted going forward for inflation. There are exemptions for student workers and tipped workers.

Senate Bill 144 (SB144) (Crowe) – Currently there is a process involving physical meetings and physical copies of textbooks when they are being considered for use in the states schools. This would replace the current process with a digitally focused one.

Senate Bill 151 (SB151) (Peacock) – This is one of the bills that has been put forward to add electronic cigarettes to the definition of products covered by the state’s tobacco laws.

Senate Bill 160 (SB160)  (Murray) – This bill seeks to clarify that the states prohibition on bigamy applies if the other marriage in the case was a gay marriage which was officiated in another state. (If passed that would mean the state would recognize gay marriages from other states for the purposes of bigamy charges, but not for benefits such as filing state taxes jointly or for the purposes of divorce – so as to avoid bigamy- which seems like lawsuit bait to me.)

Senate Bill 164 (SB164)  (Murray) –  Expands protections against and definitions of discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in a large number of areas of state law pertaining to discrimination. Also adds protections against discrimination based on age, sex, or disability in several areas. If you go to the text of the bill and scroll to the bottom a nice chart of the changes is provided.

Senate Bill 175 (SB175) (Peterson) – This is the latest bill in a multi-year struggle to repeal the creationism promoting “Louisiana Science Education Act” 

Senate Bill 187 (SB187)  (Kostelka) – Currently increased sentences for drug free zones do not apply to offenses in private residences with no minor’s presence. This bill is trying to remove that provision so as to increase penalties in those cases that are taking place in private residences and do not involve children. (Here is a bit about the actual impact of these “drug free zone” laws).

Senate Bill 200 (SB200) (Allain)  – This is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require,  in addition to a majority vote (as is currently required),  for certain proposals for political subdivisions or special districts to incur or assume debt, issue bonds, or levy taxes, a minimum turn out of 20% in the election for the proposal to pass.