Baton Rouge: This is a list of the Governor's legislative package for the 2013 Regular Session.
SB 32 by Senator A.G. Crowe establishes procedures for identifying veterans entering the justice system and assists identifying resources available to them at sentencing.
The legislation will allow verbal inquiry or a written form completed by the offender, protecting the offender’s privacy. This will ensure the opportunity to offer mental health and/or substance abuse treatment specifically tailored for veteran offenders at various stages of the legal process if treatment is appropriate and more beneficial than prosecution and/or incarceration.
Many of these offenders have mental health and substance abuse issues that may be related to their offense.
This legislation will take steps to tackle recidivism by providing avenues for veteran-specific rehabilitation.
SB 60 by Senator Robert Adley cracks down on individuals posing as veterans or veteran owned businesses to receive special benefits or privileges afforded to veterans.
Currently, the federal government, states, and many private sector companies administer programs that give preference to doing business with veteran-owned businesses.
This legislation will protect veteran-owned businesses from fraudulent competition by criminalizing the impersonation of a veteran- or disabled-veteran-owned company as a misdemeanor.
Additionally, deterring fraudulent impersonation will prevent the state from designating preferential status for contracts to non-veteran-owned businesses, saving valuable taxpayer dollars.
SB 72 by Senator Francis Thompson and Representative Henry Burns helps protect grieving veteran families by creating a buffer zone that prohibits the disruption or obstruction of a funeral procession, funeral, or burial.
Currently, federal law provides for restrictions on these funeral disruptions by establishing a buffer zone around funeral and memorial services and routes.
This legislation will prohibit the disruptive protest of a religious service, funeral or memorial service within 500 feet of a funeral service and within 300 feet of access routes to funeral service areas.
The protective buffer zone will be effective from two hours before the service to two hours after the service.
In addition, this legislation will raise the fine for disruption of funeral and memorial services and routes from $100 to $500.
HB 312 by Representative Nick Lorusso helps returning service members, veterans and their spouses who have been moved out of state or overseas come back to Louisiana by extending the current time periods for renewing their state or professional licenses.
HB 145 by Representative Jay Morris clarifies that out of state sex offenders, who are given lifetime sex offender registration status in a different state, are subject to the same number of in-person renewals as those sex offenders who are given lifetime registration status under Louisiana law.
This legislation will help keep our communities safe by ensuring that sex offenders are properly identified and registered.
HB 167 by Representative Simone Champagne requires Louisiana State Police to include an arrest record for sex offenses and crimes of violence and a complete conviction record in background checks requested by postsecondary institutions.
This legislation will decrease the likelihood that college students, and high school students on college campuses, are exposed to university employees who are sex offenders or violent offenders.
HB 442 by Representative Joe Lopinto significantly increases access to drug treatment for drug offenders.
This legislation removes certain eligibility restrictions for the judicial Drug Court program and authorizes the Department of Corrections to administratively expand the Drug Court program with mandatory sentencing for eligible first and second non-violent, non-sex offenders to a Department of Corrections (DOC)-managed substance abuse probation program.
For similar but currently incarcerated offenders, the legislation also incentivizes treatment by offering early release to intensive parole supervision to first and second, non-violent, non-sex, offenders who have served two years and are within one year of release and have successfully completed a 90-day drug treatment program.
This reform is smart on crime by ensuring that offenders whose offense is related to their substance abuse receive the treatment they need, which will lower recidivism rates and reduce Louisiana’s prison population.
Juvenile Justice Reform
SB 107 by Senator Rick Ward creates a structural outline for a transition to an integrated case management system.
This legislation allows for proactive treatment of youth who are involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems—“crossover youth.”
An integrated case management system will build on the Coordinated System of Care (CSOC) created in 2011 for youth with severe mental illness by completing the continuum of care for non-secure, secure and child welfare populations. This will improve outcomes, reduce costs and focus on proactive instead of reactive intervention.
SB 227 by Senator Greg Tarver reforms the current Families in Need of Services (FINS) process to slow down the school-to-prison pipeline.
This legislation clearly delineates in law between the formal and informal FINS processes.
This legislation also focuses on keeping non-delinquent status offenders, such as “truant” youth, out of the juvenile justice system by limiting the offenses for which a youth can be referred to the formal FINS process.
HB 629 by Representatives Chris Broadwater and Ted James establishes the office of debt recovery at the Department of Revenue for the collection of delinquent debts owed to certain governmental entities.
This legislation will strengthen and enhance the collection of debts owed to the state by centralizing debt collection through the creation of the Centralized Recovery Unit (CRU) within the Louisiana Department of Revenue, which will collect state debt alongside the Attorney General’s office.
These collection reforms are expected to generate savings for the state by as much as $158 million over the next five years.
HB 156 and HB 164 by Representative Clay Schexnayder abolishes certain boards and commissions and provides for the sunset of statutory authority for boards and commissions that fail to report required financial information.
This legislation will help reduce the size and scope of state government.
Early Childhood Education Reform
SB 130 by Senator Conrad Appel implements Act 3 of 2012 by creating an accountability system for early childhood programs that receive public funds other than for food and nutrition.
This system, called the Early Childhood Care and Education Network, will use an updated tiered quality rating system, the Tiered Kindergarten Readiness Improvement System, to assess provider quality and issue letter grades to give actionable information to parents.
SB 222 by Senator Mike Walsworth updates the licensing of child day care centers and facilities to bring this regulatory process in line with the new Early Childhood Care and Education Network.
Providers that receive public funds other than food and nutrition will be moved to a new, less burdensome licensing classification called Type 3, which will recognize that these providers are held to a higher bar for quality through the Network.
Other types of licenses will be transitioned to a numerical type for clarification purposes, but see no change in burden.
SB 135 by Senator Neil Riser requires increased reporting standards to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
This legislation will help keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while maintaining confidentiality of individuals’ mental health records.
Increased reporting standards will include individuals who are ineligible to purchase firearms based on their involuntary commitment to an inpatient mental facility, found not guilty by reason of insanity, found not competent to stand trial or convicted of a violent crime.
This legislation also establishes a mechanism by which an individual whose mental illness diagnosis has been reversed may regain their right to possess a firearm through a petition to the court.
Environmental Regulation Reform
SB 139 by Senator Rick Ward and Representative Karen St. Germain helps ensure industry compliance and public safety by increasing the potential fines for violating any regulation or order regarding the creation or use of underground caverns.
The current maximum fine of $5,000 per day for a violation is raised to a maximum of $32,500 a day, and a company can be also be fined up to $50,000 a day for failing to comply with orders from the State.
The civil penalty may also include unpaid state costs associated with response to violations.
For intentional violations or violations causing irreparable environmental damage or endangers human health, a penalty of $1 million may be issued.
HB 493 by Representative Karen St. Germain and Senator Rick Ward requires stricter regulations on the creation or use of underground caverns.
Among several regulations, the bill sets out guidelines for the assessment and monitoring of areas in and around salt domes as well as the duties and responsibilities of permit holders to provide support and assistance during evacuations.
The bill expands upon DNR rules proposed in February, which include requiring all cavern operators to conduct Mechanical Integrity Tests (MIT) and sonar surveys, as well as re-evaluate the geological interpretation of the salt domes hosting their respective operations using up-to-date technology and methods, every five years, and submit this information to the state.
The proposed rules would also require that all solution-mined caverns have a minimum boundary of 300 feet from the edge of salt. Three-hundred feed is considered best practice for exploration and production waste caverns.
The proposed rules also deal with closure, plug-and-abandonment, and post-closure activities and monitoring for solution-mined caverns.
HB 494 by Representative Karen St. Germain protects buyers of property bordering underground caverns by requiring property disclosures and the filling of formal notices.
A property disclosure statement must specify whether a cavern lies under the property or the property is within half a mile of a cavern well, and a cavern owner must file a notice with clerk of court identifying the location of the cavern.
HB 278 by Representative Valarie Hodges adds the coercion of a female child to undergo an abortion to the definition for child abuse.
This bill defines “coerced abortion” as the use of force, intimidation, threat of force, or deprivation of food and shelter by a parent or any other person in order to compel a female child to undergo an abortion against her will.
SB 90 by Senator Fred Mills institutes protections for women who are administered a drug or chemical to induce an abortion.
The bill requires a physician licensed in obstetrics and gynecology to be physically present when a patient is administered a drug or chemical to induce an abortion. It also requires the doctor give the patient instructions to return for a follow-up appointment to assess the woman's medical condition.
Any person who knowingly or negligently performs or attempts to perform an abortion without complying with proposed legislation will be subject to a fine of no more than $1,000, per incident, imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.