The 2009 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature will convene at noon Monday, April 27. The session is projected to end no later than 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25.
Our two local legislators are looking forward to this session.
For Representative Bernard LeBas, this session marks experience. He’s no longer a freshman and unsure how the system works. He said many like him will be working hard and taking advantage of their experience.
LeBas has several bills he’s sponsoring, mostly in the healthcare area. He said one will allow students to carry self-administering medicines with them on campus. (For example an asthma pump.) He said this request was from the superintendent of education.
Another bill will be geared toward protecting employees who refuse to provide services due to their conscientious beliefs. (For example, a doctor who refuses to approve an abortion) LeBas said the bill will prevent theses persons from being discriminated against in any fashion for not performing a duty based on their beliefs.
The next proposed bill is to allow those high school students, currently enrolled in a dual program (high school and college) banned from participating in track events, to participate in those events.
There’s also a bill to help clear up some of the prescription restrictions and one to hold the governor and his staff accountable in the same fashion as other state officials.
LeBas sees this session as difficult since there will not be enough money. “At one point, it was predicted there was four billion less than last year. It’ll be very painful.” He said those funds not protected by dedication like higher education and health care, will be the most affected.
Senator Eric LaFleur is looking forward to this session. He will be sponsoring a bill (DWI tracking) that would set up a statewide system for tracking people stopped for driving while intoxicated. “The bill is designed to assist law enforcement personnel, district attorneys and judges in dealing with these cases. It provides a central depository of the information and disposition of the cases,” LaFleur said.
“The bill comes on the heels of the death of an eight-year-old who was killed last year in Baton Rouge.” There was another case at Southeastern. “In both cases, people were killed by an intoxicated driver who could have been forced into some form of treatment before they struck out again on the road,” he said.
LaFleur also has another bill he will be following and trying to see through the process. “I have a resolution that would urge Congress not to address the proposed changes in the tax code that would hurt domestic oil and gas production and another one that would allow the state to accept the stimulus dollars for unemployment compensation.”
Both legislators said they would keep readers updated on the session.