Louisiana Legislature

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The state legislature is interested in setting up a task force to study daylight saving time versus standard time. Covington Representative Mark Wright says he gets asked about moving the clocks back an hour every fall all the time.


Florida recently passed legislation to stay on Daylight Saving Time year round, but Congress has yet to agree with Florida’s Sunshine Protection Act. Wright says studies have shown turning the clock back an hour creates problems.


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There’s only two months left in the fiscal year, and doubts are growing as to whether a spending plan for next budget year can be approved in the current regular session. A 648-million dollar budget gap is forcing lawmakers to consider deep cuts in state spending. LaPolitics.com Publisher Jeremy Alford says we’re approaching uncharted waters.


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The full Senate could hear arguments today on a bill that would strip local jurisdictions of the ability to mandate real estate developers set aside a certain portion of their housing as lower rent. Metairie Senator Dan Martiny, the bill’s sponsor, says affordable housing initiatives should be voluntary, not mandatory.


Martiny says, "If the city's going to give that incentive, that's fine. But we don't want the cities to mandate to the developers that they have to include the low income unit." 


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A bill to allow the home delivery of factory sealed alcohol beverages to your front door has passed out of a Senate committee. Bill sponsor, Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says there are already several home delivery companies such as Waitr, operating in larger cities. He says alcohol delivery would fit in well.


Morrish says drivers who would deliver the factory sealed alcohol would be held under the same rules as a bartender.


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Minimum wage increase, pay secrecy, and equal pay for women legislation all died on the Senate floor last night. The bills were a major part of Governor John Bel Edwards agenda. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell’s equal pay for women bill died 20-18. He says the best and brightest women in Louisiana are flocking to states that won’t pay them less for the same work a man does.


Morrell says, "California has the sixth highest economy in the world, and they have some of the most stringent equal pay legislation in the world." 


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A bill seeking to make major changes to TOPS faced opposition from LSU students. The Senate Education Committee defeated the measure to make TOPS a flat four-thousand dollar annual award and provide additional stipends for students who perform well on the ACT. LSU Student Body Vice President Rachel Campbell says the proposed legislation would force some LSU students to leave the state.


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A bill to shorten the waiting period for getting married has advanced to the House floor. The legislation by Carencro Representative Julie Emerson would reduce the wait time from the time paperwork is filed to officially hitched to 24 hours from the current 72. Emerson says Louisiana has an abnormally long wait time.


Emerson says that Louisiana was an "outlier" compared to other states. 


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The House Health and Welfare committee is expected to hear legislation today that would allow medical marijuana to be used as a legal treatment for persons with autism. Louisiana Mothers Advocating for Medical Marijuana spokesperson Katelyn Castleberry says her two sons suffer from autism and they need better options made available for treatment.


Castleberry says the FDA "only approves two drugs for autism." She says that the drugs carry side effects like "seizures, tremors, and suicide." 


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Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur has filed a bill that would allow 19 and 20- year- olds to purchase alcohol by themselves, if they pass a drinking responsibility class and have their parents’ consent. LaFleur says binge drinking by young adults is a dangerous trend that’s made worse by laws that try, and often fail to bar young people from getting their hands on booze.


LaFleur says, "19 and 20 year olds currently drink right now whether it's in a public space or a private space."


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Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is warning that lawmakers will not be able to cut their way to a balanced budget for next fiscal year. He testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee today and reiterated the governor’s call to wrap up the regular session in early May, so that a special session that addresses revenue can be called to tackle the fiscal cliff. Dardenne has a challenge for lawmakers who disagree.


Revenue issues can only be brought up in a special session this year.