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Session Information

2004 Regular Session Highlights

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by: Tom Wade
(225) 342-9169


Most of the matters concerning the courts and the judiciary during the 2004 Regular Session were local in nature. Affecting only the parishes of Iberia, St. Mary, and St. Martin, Senate Bill 364 by Senator Romero (Act 364) authorizes the parish school boards and governing authorities of those parishes to each contribute up to $100,000 annually to the district attorney of the 16th JDC to help defray the cost of providing legal services to certain boards and commissions.

Senate Bill 657 by Senator Boissiere (Act 701) affects only Orleans Parish. Under present law, each criminal district court in a parish having a population of more than 465,000 people according to the most recent federal decennial census is required to have the position or office of a judicial administrator, deputy judicial administrator, and assistants, 13 law clerks, and four secretaries. The provisions of this bill require that the costs of these positions and the costs of the jury commission and sanity hearings be appropriated in the judicial expenses bill and require the appropriation be allocated by the Judicial Budgetary Control Council. House amendments added provisions creating a judicial expense fund for the Traffic Court of New Orleans.


House Bill 104 by Representative Toomy (Act 474) changes the current provisions relating to state holidays to provide that the offices of clerks of district, parish, and city courts shall be closed on any day that the governor has proclaimed a state holiday. The current law provides that the governor, by executive proclamation, may authorize the observance of holidays and half-holidays to be observed by the departments of state, other than the statutorily enumerated holidays, as he may deem in keeping with efficient administration of government. It also provides for specified days that each clerk of a district court, parish court, and city court shall close his office. It provides additionally that each clerk of a district court shall close his office on the day upon which the governor has proclaimed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as a legal holiday. Also included in present law is a provision that each clerk of a district court shall close his office on any day an emergency situation has been declared by the governor or the local governing authority and governmental entities, including the courthouse, have been ordered to close. A Senate amendment requires each clerk of a district court, parish court, and city court to close his office on every legal holiday to be observed by state departments.


Senate Bill 594 by Senator Bajoie (Act 673) requires the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to request, no later than February 1, 2005, proposals from non-governmental organizations seeking to provide services as part of a pilot program which will implement programs to operate post-release, non-residential facilities designed to facilitate the successful reintegration of offenders into the community. It requires the secretary of the department to develop rules and regulations to commence the application process for non-governmental organizations who are qualified to operate a post-release facility designed to assist offenders with reintergration into their communities, and provides that the rules shall include criteria for selection of the non-governmental organizations and criteria for evaluation of the program. The department is required to report annually to the legislature on the progress of the program. The department is required, after review of all applications, to choose one applicant who will operate a Post-Release Facilities pilot program in an urban area and one applicant who will operate such a facility in a rural area. The implementation of the Post-Release Facilities pilot program is dependent upon the appropriation of funds for the program.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 106 by Senator Lentini (enrolled) requests the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to extend and expand the pilot program for home incarceration and electronic monitoring that was established by Act No. 1139 of the 2001 Regular Session.


Senate Concurrent Resolution 93 by Senator Fields (enrolled) requests the Senate Committee on Judiciary A and the House Committee on the Judiciary to meet and function as a joint committee to study the need to increase the number of judges on the First Circuit Court of Appeal and the number of supreme court districts and associate justices. This issue has faced the legislature in one form or another for the past several sessions and will almost certainly continue to be raised in future sessions.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 by Senator Chaisson (enrolled) extends the expiration date for the authority of the Forensic Strategic Task Force created by SCR 28 of the 2002 RS and SCR 138 of 2003 RS until July 1, 2006. It requires the task force to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate Committee on Judiciary C and the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House sixty days prior to the convening of the 2006 Regular Session.

Senate Resolution 94 by Senator Dardenne (enrolled) requests the Senate Committee on Judiciary B to study the creation of a youthful offender system or another form of blended sentencing as a sentencing alternative for judges when imposing a sentence upon a juvenile offender. It requests the Senate Committee on Judiciary B to conduct its first meeting upon call of the chairman not later than 11/1/04 and to report its findings not later than 11/1/05.

Questions and comments may be directed to websen@legis.la.gov
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.