Jun 6, 2010 2:10 PM by Chris Welty
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Red light cameras and low-riding pants
won't be banned statewide. Gay couples in Louisiana still won't be
able to adopt children together. Bars and casinos will remain
smoke-filled. And Louisiana will keep its lieutenant governor.
Few things are certain as the Louisiana Legislature heads into
its final two weeks, but the list of bills in the scrap heap is
growing. Some proposals have gotten a sound thumping this session
and appear unlikely to emerge again this year.
Now, if only lawmakers could pull together a budget, everybody
could go home.
For those keeping scorecards, let's look at the dead bill list:
-The annual attempt to cap the scholarships available in the
state's free college tuition program called TOPS never got out of
committee in either the House or the Senate.
-A merger of the four-year public college boards couldn't scrape
through a House committee, even with the sponsorship of House
Speaker Jim Tucker and the support of the governor. A revamped bill
that defines board roles, but steers clear of a merger is moving
-A ban on the cameras that take photos of speeders and drivers
who run red lights was stalled for a second year by the House
-Prohibitions on hand-held cell phone use while driving, saggy
pants that show underwear and the sale of energy drinks in
Louisiana to children under the age of 16 have all been soundly
-An attempt to ban smoking in Louisiana bars and casinos was
snuffed out by liquor and casino lobbyists combined with personal
freedom-loving lawmakers. The Senate passed the measure, only to
see it killed in the House health care committee. A similar
situation happened last year.
-A proposal to let gay or unmarried couples adopt children
together failed in both chambers, never advancing out of House or
-A requirement that all Louisiana public schools teach sex
education to students was killed by the state House, where it only
garnered 23 votes of support.
-A controversial bill aimed at shuttering or seriously hobbling
the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic generated hours of debate, but
with all the negative national attention the measure got, it never
had a chance to get out of a Senate committee - particularly with
an oil spill gushing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Proposals to make the state's education superintendent elected,
rather than appointed, to require public school students to
maintain at least a "C" average to play sports on school teams
and to move LSU's medical school to Baton Rouge from New Orleans
all were scuttled.
Other bills are still lingering on the House and Senate
calendars, but they have little expectation of passage.
Rep. Cameron Henry's bill to abolish the lieutenant governor's
office hasn't even gotten a full hearing in a House committee. But
that panel wouldn't advance another bill by Henry, R-Jefferson, to
strip the lieutenant governor of his responsibilities over museums,
state parks and tourism - so it's unlikely a bid to scrap the
office entirely would gain traction.
Rep. Simone Champagne's proposal to enact term limits on
statewide elected officials remains stuck in the House, after
falling two votes short of passage on its first go-round. Even if
Champagne, D-Jeanerette, tried again and won House approval, the
bill would be headed to a Senate committee that has rejected
another term limits proposal.
Some lawmakers scrapped their own bills as concerns were raised
or when it appeared they had no chance of passage, like a sweeping
anti-immigration measure and a proposal to exempt weapons made and
owned in-state from federal firearms restrictions.
That doesn't mean the legislative fights over some - or many -
of these issues are over.
Many are perennial debates, and few lawmakers seem deterred from
ideas just by losing. So, as one session nears its June 21 end,
it's already clear some of the same ideas will reappear next year.
No proposal is ever truly dead at the state Capitol.