Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part V

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: HB203, HB208, HB217, HB240, HB247, HB261, HB268, HB283, HB290

House Bill 203 (HB203) (Brossett) – This adds Sunday early voting hours from noon to 5 during the early voting period. Currently Sundays do not have early voting. Update: This bill was voluntarily deferred at the House and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on March 12th. Update : The bill is scheduled for a March 19th committee meeting

Update: This bill has failed a vote to be reported out of committee.  Voting against the measure to expend voting access were Representatives Taylor Barras, John Berthelot, Tim Burns, Michael Danahay,  and Stephen Pugh. Voting in favor of expanded times to access the polls were Representatives Jared Brossett and Randal Gains.

Traditionally, Sunday early voting is heavily used by African Americans who have “souls to the polls” church events. I think it is significant to note that the white members of the committee all voted against this measure (including one white Democrat.)

House Bill 208 (HB208) (Hoffman) – 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.

House Bill 217 (HB217) (Smith) – This prohibits state contractors from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application form unless the application is for a position which requires a criminal background check.

House Bill 240 (HB240) (Smith) – Another approach to the low income uninsured problem in the state. This one requires the state to provide to a legal resident employed for the previous calendar year for at least 1,000 hours and whose income is below 100% of the federal poverty level the opportunity to participate in a state program providing health insurance.

House Bill 247 (HB247)  (Ortego) – This makes it legal for farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers.

House Bill 261 (HB261) (Dixon) – This is another bill aiming to expand Louisiana’s medicaid coverage. It also lays out premium assistance and cost sharing plans.

House Bill 268 (HB268) (Reynolds) – This requires an accountability system to be set up for nonpublic schools participating in the school voucher program.

House Bill 283 (HB283) (Smith) – This bill would allow felons to regain their voting rights upon no longer being incarcerated rather than regaining it only after probation. Update: This bill is scheduled for a March 19th committee meeting Update: At the March 19th meeting, this bill was voluntarily deferred.

House Bill 290 (Hb290)  (Smith) – This is a proposed constitutional amendment to increases the state’s medicaid coverage to the levels laid out in the affordable care act.