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Session Information

2006 Regular Session Highlights

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Local Government

by: Michael Bell
(225) 342-1175

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

During the 2006 First Extraordinary Session House Bill 70 by Representative Jefferson (Act 36) mandated that the office of homeland security and emergency preparedness, by May 31, 2006, to promulgate standards and regulations in accordance with guidelines issued by the Administrative Procedure Act for local governments when a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the evacuation of people located in high risk areas utilizing all available modes of transportation, including but not limited to school and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles, vehicles provided by volunteer agencies, trains, and ships in advance of the approach of the storm to public shelters located outside of the risk area with priority consideration being given to the special needs of the following classes of people: (1) The people with specific special needs such as the elderly and the infirm; (2) Tourist; (3) Those who refuse to leave; and (4) Those without personal transportation.

BONDS

House Bill 93 by Representative Hammett (Act 41) of the 2006 First Extraordinary Session authorizes the issuance of state general obligation bonds and other evidence of state debt issued pursuant to Art. VII, 6 of the constitution and the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 to provide relief from natural catastrophes by providing monies for the payment of debt service of affected political subdivisions and the state. The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, adopted by congress in December 2005, provides certain tax relief and bond-related provisions including authorization for the state to issue not to exceed $200 million in gulf tax credit bonds and to issue advance refunding bonds. The gulf tax credit bonds must be matched with an equal amount of state funds.

HOUSING

During the 2006 Regular Session several bills were introduced addressing the priorities for housing needs in Katrina/Rita FEMA disaster areas and for citizens displaced from Katrina/Rita disaster areas. Senate Bill 445 by Senator Jackson (Act 654) allows the state to deposit proceeds acquired under The Road Home Housing Program administered by the Louisiana Recovery Authority and authorizes that the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency to give priority to assisting municipalities and displaced citizens, of a declared disaster area, with developing, rehabilitating, and preserving affordable housing. House Bill 1071 by Representative Hunter (Act 355) creates the Louisiana Housing Preservation Act to provide for the identification and rehabilitation of blighted housing and procedures therefor and for the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of parishes, municipalities, and courts relative thereto. House Bill 1399 by Representative Gray (Act 810) authorizes and permits municipalities and parishes that adopt land use or zoning ordinances to adopt inclusionary zoning ordinances to promote the development of affordable housing for low and moderate income families.

ASSESSORS

This session several bills were introduced addressing the consolidations of political offices in the Orleans Parish. Senate Bills 141 and 647 by Senator Duplessis (Act 863 and Act 622) provides for a change in the constitution to delete authorization for seven tax assessors in Orleans Parish and to provide for a single tax assessor in Orleans Parish. Also, specifies submission of the constitutional amendment to the voters at the statewide election to held on November 7, 2006.

SPECIAL DISTRICTS

Senate Bill 369 by Senator Cravins (Act 531) authorizes the governing authority of the town of Washington to create a special district and political subdivision of the state whose boundaries are the same as that of the town of Washington. The district is governed by a board of commissioners consisting of the mayor and three members appointed by the governing authority of the town from the town at large who serve until the last day of the terms of the governing authority. The district's declared purpose is to create housing, renovate and restore any historical properties, and to provide for economic development for the town or the district. Senate Bill 469 by Senator Schedler (Act 537) renames the East St. Tammany Events Center to the Northshore Harbor Center District and exempts the executive director of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission from residency requirements. House Bill 274 by Representative Doerge (Act 75) creates the Springhill Downtown Development District within the city of Springhill to redevelop and revitalize the downtown business district in order to provide for substantial economic activity and employment opportunities.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT

Senate Bill 665 by Senator Schedler (duplicate to HB 1130, Act 839) authorizes creation of local and regional economic development districts for the purposes of: (1) facilitating the creation of jobs and to lower unemployment and under employment by coordinating and facilitating local and regional efforts for economic development programs and projects; (2) to act as the coordinating entity in acquiring and developing real estate needed to grow the economy; (3) to receive public and private funds for such purposes; (4) to assist in business within the district; (5) to receive public and private funds for such purpose.

MISCELLANEOUS

Senate Bill 490 by Senator Barham (Act 539) provides for mutual aid between law enforcement agencies responding to disasters by allowing local law enforcement agencies responding to disasters and recovery efforts to apply for, administer, and expend any grants, gifts, or payment in aid of homeland security, disaster prevention, preparedness, response, or recovery. Senate Bill 709 by Senator Murray (Act 666) provides for additional commissioners for and preparation and implementation of community improvement plans by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority from seven to eleven. Provides the authority to issue bonds for commercial projects and to facilitate new markets tax credit financed projects and authorizes a community-based organization to request that an area be designated appropriate for a community improvement plan or project, through the city council housing and human needs committee.

 



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