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Session Information

2004 Regular Session Highlights

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Legislative Affairs

by: Renee Marshall
(225) 342-1482

GOVERNOR

Governor Blanco's package lead, along with proposed bills by several legislators, efforts to attract new industry to Louisiana by attempting to strengthen and improve the states image and governmental ethics. Part of the package included: House Bill 1015 by Representative Lancaster (Act 783) prohibits the governor and legislators from accepting or depositing certain campaign contributions, loans, or transfers of funds for his own campaign during a regular legislative session and for a period of 30 days after such session adjourns it must be returned within 10 days of receipt. Relative to campaign finance contribution restrictions, House Bill 530 by Senator Lancaster (Act 115), changes civil penalties for any person who makes a contribution in the name of another person. It provides for a penalty of the amount of the contribution plus 10% for persons who unknowingly violates the prohibition and twice the amount of the contribution for any person who knowingly and willfully violates the prohibition.

House Bill 1126 by Representative Murray (Act 862) would require persons making independent expenditures, in support or opposition to a candidate, to file 48-hour reports in 20 days prior to an election if such contributions or expenditures are in excess of: $1,000 to a candidate for any major office, $500 to a candidate for district office and $500 to a candidate for any other office. House Bill 1246 by Representative LaFleur (Act 116) regulates lobbying of the executive branch by providing for the registration and disclosure of expenditures of lobbyist including expenditures by lobbyists principals and employers for legislators which is administered and enforced by the Board of Ethics.

LEGISLATIVE AGENCIES

Senate Bill 379 (Withdrawn from files of the Senate) and 380 by Senator Nevers (Withdrawn from files of the Senate) removes authority of the Legislative Auditor to perform an audit on a quasi public body which is subject to open meetings law and partially funded with public monies. In addition, Senate Bill 380 would have added new law that specifies that the legislative auditor shall not be authorized to perform an audit on a voluntary membership organization, either not for profit or for profit, even if the organization's membership includes public entities or public employees.

LEGISLATORS

Identical bills were introduced addressing term limits of members appointed to the Senate and House of Representatives. Current law prohibits a person who has been elected to serve as a member of the Senate or House of Representatives for more than 2 terms in three consecutive terms from being elected for the succeeding term. Senate Bill 114 by Senator C D Jones (Subject to call Senate final passage) and Senate Bill 68 by Senator Hainkel (Assigned to Senate & Governmental Affairs) would allow voters to vote on November 2, 2004 whether to eliminate provisions which limit the number of consecutive terms a member serves.

REAPPORTIONMENT

The House of Representatives introduced several bills that would reconfigure House Districts. House Bill 1026 by Representatives St. Germain and Dartez (Assigned to House & Governmental Affairs) would reconfigure House Districts 51 and 60 in Assumption Parish and House Bill 1566 by Representative Pitre (Assigned to House & Governmental Affairs) would reconfigure Districts 54 and 55 in Lafourche Parish. Reconfiguration, in House Bill 910 by Representatives Lancaster, Burrell, Dartez, Glover, Pitre, St. Germain, and Triche (Act 535), not only contained Districts 51 and 60 in Assumption Parish, and Districts 54 and 55 in Lafourch Parish but included Districts 2 and 4 in Caddo Parish.

SENATE

It has been over 20 years since the Senate has conducted a comprehensive review of The Senate Rules of Order. A request by Senator Mount, Hainkel, Hines, Lentini and Schedler in Senate Resolution 14 (enrolled) urges the Senate and Governmental Committee to study, review and make recommendations to revise the Senate Rules of Order.

HOUSE

House Rule 9.10 and 9.13, House Resolution 16 by Representative Hebert (Rejected in the House), of the House of Representatives would have required approval of the majority of elected members of the House and voting to move the previous question and the previous question on the entire subject matter, and to end consideration of amendments. If voting machines are locked (House Rule 10.3), House Resolution 41 by Representative Hebert (enrolled), would have provided that only a member shall cast his own vote, unless the member is present in the Chamber and publicly directs his vote. If any other person including the Clerk, takes any action to cast a vote for the member, such person may be punished in such a manner as the House may determine.



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