Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part VII

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: HB305, HB313, HB321, HB325, HB328, HB332, HB335, HB348, HB356, HB369, HB382, HB385, HB388

House Bill 305 (HB305) (Hoffman)  – This is a bill to prohibit anyone/ any group who provides abortions or any affiliate (defined very, very broadly) of the provider from distributing any materials- even if they are not remotely related to their abortion providing at all- to public schools at all. It has an exception for hospitals.  The broad definition of affiliate is particularly disturbing.

House Bill 313 (HB313) (Champagne) –  This proposed constitutional  amendment would establish that (except as already established in law for the governor) no one who has served as a statewide elected official for more than two and one-half terms in three consecutive terms shall be elected to that same office for the next term.

Update: Scheduled for a March 19th committee meeting Update: The bill did not progress after the March 19th meeting

House Bill 321 (HB321) (Hensgens) – This bill would requires anyone entering into a contract valued at $10,000 or more with any entity of the executive branch of state government to disclose to the supervisory committee information regarding contributions to any statewide elected official, to any candidate for statewide elected office, or to any political committee of any statewide elected official or candidate for statewide elected office.

House Bill 325 (HB325)  (Lopinto)  – This bill expands when use of force is considered justified to include when committed against an intruder to compel him to leave or to stop his attempt to enter a dwelling, business, or motor vehicle when the conflict began. The when the conflict began language seems to open up destructive possibilities. The bill also adds that troubling phrase to the justifiable homicide section of the law.

House Bill 328 (HB328) (Lopinto) –  This bill wants to bring back electrocution as an execution method. (There is a shortage of lethal injection drugs)  Electrocution has been ruled to be cruel in multiple states.

On a personal note, the more of Rep Lopinto’s bills I read, the more negative my opinion of him becomes.

House Bill 332 (HB332) (Lopinto) – This bill increases the minimum mandatory incarceration penalty for Schedule I substances. I think it is important to note that Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Update: This bill is scheduled for a March 26th committee meeting. Update: This bill has passed out of committee unanimously.

House Bill 335 (HB335) (Richard) –  This is an attempt at nullifying the Affordable Care Act by trying to make it illegal in the state.

House Bill 348 (HB348) (Badon) – This bill prohibits the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining procedures from a pregnant woman. (This brings to mind a recent case in Texas)

House Bill 356 (HB356) (Dixon) – This bill would raise the minimum wage to $8.25 in 2015 and $9 in 2016 to be tied to inflation going forward from there. It excludes student workers.

House Bill 369 (HB369) (Smith) – This is a bill to require comprehensive sex ed in public schools. (Which is much better at preventing pregnancy and disease than abstinence only education)

House Bill 382 (HB382) (Brossett) – A bill for a $10.10 minimum wage. As with the other minimum wage bills student workers are excluded.

House Bill 385 (HB385)  (Harrison) – This bill would increase required ACT scores for the TOPS Opportunities Award, requires TOPS repayment in certain cases, and caps TOPS awards. This is a continuation of efforts over the past few years by the state republican caucus to roll back and limit the very popular scholarship program that makes college much more accessible to low income students. Update: This bill is scheduled for a March 26th committee meeting. Update: This bill has been involuntarily deferred.

House Bill 388 (HB388) (Jackson)- Adds restrictions for abortion providers in the state including requiring them to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. (This strategy was used in Texas and Mississippi to try to eliminate abortion access because hospitals refuse to grant the privileges to doctors who admit less than a certain number of patients a year or who are from out of state both of which are commonly the case with abortion providers)

Also requires doctors to provide DHH with the names of women who have abortions. (This effort to make a state “had an abortion” database has gotten national media attention recently) 

It also would change the definition of first trimester from 6-14 weeks to any time up to 14 weeks.

Also- Anti-Choice Democrat alert! This needs to be something the democratic party pays attention to in primaries. Goodness knows it is an issue the GOP is paying close attention in their primaries.

Update: Scheduled for a March 19th committee meeting

Update: At the committee meeting an amendment revised the section about doctor’s providing information to DHH to state it should be anonymous reporting information and that this was not related to Plan B addressing two of the concerns about the bill.  Bill supporters had asserted the information would be anonymous from the start but until this amendment that was not clear from the bill. The bill still would massively reduce abortion access in the state by placing heavy burdens on clinics. It passed out of committee UNANIMOUSLY- further cementing Louisiana’s extreme anti-choice status.