state legislature

“We have told the Governor we give up. We’re ready to go home,” Senator Robert Adley announced, prompting laughter from his fellow lawmakers, as Senate President John Alario responded, “Very good.”

2014 can be viewed as a session of hits and misses. Governor Jindal told the press he believes he scored a hit with his budget, which includes pay raises for state workers, as well as a bit more money for higher education.

Conference committees are where all the action is now, at the end of the session. But just what is a “conference committee”?

“There are bills that, you know, the House and Senate will disagree on and in many cases you can’t get it worked out,” Slidell Representative Kevin Pearson explains, “So a conference committee is selected to try and resolve that.”

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Legislation legalizing the sale of alcohol at more movie theaters won final passage Friday in the Louisiana legislature, the Times-Picayune reports.

Senate Bill 654 narrowly passed the House. It would allow movie theaters to obtain liquor licenses as long as the alcohol sales are separate from other concessions being sold.

It now heads to Governor Jindal for a signature to become law.

Five Louisiana movie theaters received their liquor permits prior to 1994, and already sell alcohol.

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The oil and gas industry won a significant victory in the Louisiana Legislature Friday with Senate passage of a bill that seeks to kill a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans area levee board against 97 oil and gas companies.

The lawsuit alleges the companies' drilling activities damaged Louisiana's coast.

Senators voted 25-11 for the measure that is aimed at retroactively voiding the lawsuit. The vote sent the bill to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is likely to sign it.

State lawmakers have been showing an independent streak this session. Defying Gov. Bobby Jindal on some of his most defining policy positions that he’s hoping to keep on his resume as he looks beyond his time in the governor’s mansion. 

Senators saw a pile of unallocated potential money as part of a House bill to extend the tax amnesty program, and they jumped at it.

“Let’s do something we can go home and say, ‘Yes! We did something for economic development’,” Delhi Senator Francis Thompson urged.

“My amendment will give 25-million dollars to the Board of Regents, to higher education,” New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson offered.

“Let’s put it where we got a 12-billion dollar backlog. Put everything we got into those roads,” Benton Senator Robert Adley pushed for infrastructure funding.

Louisiana has billions of taxpayer dollars tied up in thousands of contracts—for goods and services, consulting, privatization and more. Lawmakers, frustrated by the continuing battles to balance the state budget, are pushing to take a closer look at those contracts.

It looks like the cost of a driver’s license is going up—but so is the length of time between renewals.

“The fee will be more, but it’s a six year fee, so over time it’ll be the same,” explains Franklin Foil.

The Baton Rouge representative authored the measure increasing both the cost and expiration dates for all Louisiana drivers’ licenses. A basic license, which now costs $21.50 and is good for four years, will be going up to $32.50, and will be valid for six years.

With just 10 days left in the legislative session, we’re down to the nitty gritty: lawmakers are trying to figure out how to sew up the state budget. And earlier this week, the Revenue Estimating Committee rebuffed the Jindal administration’s wish to include $54 million in revenue that could come with changes to how the state Dept. of Revenue does its tax collecting, according to a group of consultants on the hunt for savings in the state budget.

“I’m not a communist.”

But Senator Conrad Appel isn’t a happy camper, either. He took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to deliver a tirade directed toward Governor Bobby Jindal.

“You can call me a communist. You can call me a socialist fascist—that’s a good one,” Appel declared forcefully. “Anything you want to call me? Do it!”