Senate

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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 requiring the motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public schools passed the Senate Education Committee. The legislation by Baton Rouge Senator Regina Barrow mirrors efforts in several other southern states to have the motto displayed prominently in public schools. Barrow says young people are suffering from a lack of proper values.

 

Barrow says the legislation was inspired by a meeting with the governor, where the talk turned to how to best prepare children for the adult world.

 

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Shreveport Senator John Milkovich’s legislation that would give teachers more freedom to decide how to handle bullies in public schools passed through the Senate Education Committee. The bill gives teachers a wide leniency to “take all steps deemed necessary” to stop bullying, including involving the police, and personally restraining offending students. Milkovich says it would cut down on the red tape involved in stopping bullies.

 

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House and Senate committees are meeting today to discuss legislation that if adopted would trigger a constitutional convention. Much of the interest is due to the state’s current budgetary law that restricts cuts to only higher ed and health care when faced with a budget deficit. Senator Troy Carter, who has proposed his own bill to tackle the issue, says it’s time to bring our government into 2018.

 

Carter says, "In order for us to enjoy reform, we have to go back and look back at our practices and bring them in line with the 21st century."

 

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Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor is proposing a bill that would fine reckless drivers for creating potentially dangerous wakes while driving through flooded areas. The bill would add a new specification to existing law that would fine drivers up to 500 dollars, with potential for 90 days in jail. Claitor says the legislation was inspired by flood horror stories from his constituents.

 

Claitor expresses that it's "disheartening" to people who prepare for floods and then have their homes ruined by thoughtless drivers.

 

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U.S. Republican Senator John Kennedy has joined Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware in introducing the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act.  Kennedy says in 2015, the Social Security Administration made nearly ten-billion-dollars in improper payments.

 

Kennedy says that the Social Security Administration won't give lists of the deceased Americans to the Department of Treasury. This has resulted in the government "paying dead people."

 

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Tax reform remains hanging in the balance as U.S. Senators are considering an overhaul that Republicans say will give an average family of four an additional 14-hundred dollars in annual income. The bill passed the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday 12-to-11 and heads to the Senate floor. Senator John Kennedy cites three benefits.

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

It can't be spoken in soft words for there is no other way to put it.  Whether you are for it or against it, the recent sea change in American politics has led to an all-out assault on this country's long-held environmental policies and laws.  Barring effective pushback, a future of drastic change seems certain for our biotic natural resources.

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With time running short, Louisiana's lawmakers have moved the pieces of a budget-rebalancing deal into place.

 

But final passage of the plan to close a $304 million deficit remained far from certain. 

The special legislative session called by Gov. John Bel Edwards to eliminate the gap must end Wednesday.

 

The broad outlines of a negotiated deal between the House, Senate and governor were reached Monday by legislative leaders. But Republican House leaders acknowledged Tuesday they don't necessarily yet have the votes to pass it.

 

Senators have started advancing legislation that would use Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to help close the state's $304 million budget deficit.

 

The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposal Tuesday to the full Senate for debate without action, meaning committee members didn't vote in support or opposition of the idea.

 

Whether to tap into the fund — and how much to use — is the central disagreement of the budget-rebalancing debate.

 

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