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Apr 2, 2013 2:40 PM by Press Release

Republicans & Democrats Co-Author Reform Bills

Press Release from the Budget Reform Campaign:

(Lake Charles) The Budget Reform Campaign has pre-filed its package of bills, with forty legislators thirty-one Republicans and nine Democrats -- co-authoring one or more of the bills in the package. Thirty-four legislators are co-authoring all of the bills in the package (see list below). The bills, HB 434, 435, 436 and 437, first previewed for the public on January 29th, focus on Constitutionality, Transparency and Budget Priorities.

The Campaign, founded by a coalition of fiscally conservative state legislators, is Chaired by State Representative Brett Geymann (R - Lake Charles).

Forty legislators, Republicans and Democrats, have joined together on these important reforms to address key elements of the budget process said Representative Brett Geymann. Budget Reform is not a partisan issue, but rather a serious concern of every family and business in Louisiana Geymann said. This years proposed budget, more than ever, demonstrates the importance of this reform effort Geymann continued. The strength of our healthcare and higher education systems have never been more dependent on the passage of real reform in the budget process Geymann concluded.

The package of Constitutional Amendments and reform bills consists of proposals to address reform issues at the core of the Campaigns mission:
- Constitutionality. A proposed Constitutional Amendment regarding budget controls restores Constitutional budgeting by banning appropriations of funds not included in the official revenue forecast; that exceed the official forecast; that are contingent, or that use non-recurring funds on recurring expenses. Only revenue that has been recognized by the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) as available may be appropriated. This proposed instrument addresses concerns about the Constitutionality of the current budget process while clarifying existing language.
- Transparency. Proposes constitutional amendments and statutes regarding budget procedures that clarify the timing and deadlines of the budget process, to enable a more broad-based and transparent review of the budget.
- One proposal requires House notification of Senate Amendments within 24 hours of passage, so that the House has access to Senate changes in a timely fashion.
- The House would be provided the text of Amendments 3 days prior to any House vote to allow time to thoroughly review Senate changes prior to a vote on concurrence.
- Another proposal requires final passage of the general appropriations bill about two weeks earlier in the session, to ensure a more broad-based and transparent budget process.

These proposed instruments address concerns about inadequate time for proper deliberation and the need for more transparent review in the waning days of legislative sessions.

- Budget Priorities. A proposed Constitutional Amendment helps protect higher education and healthcare. This proposal requires that if the appropriations bill contains funding for higher education and healthcare at a level lower than the previous year, the bill would be split into non-discretionary and discretionary appropriation bills that would be voted on separately. This proposed instrument would help ensure that core priorities are funded first, and create a transparent mechanism for reviewing statutorily dedicated expenditures on an ongoing basis. This instrument requires that spending due to constitutional or other mandates be considered in a separate appropriations bill from spending that is not required to be funded if higher education and healthcare are reduced.

The following thirty-four legislators are co-authoring all bills in the package.

Jeff Arnold (D)

Taylor Barras (R)

Johnny Berthelot (R)

Stuart Bishop (R)

Richard Burford (R)

Thomas Carmody (R)

Simone Champagne (R)

Patrick Connick (R)

Mike Danahay (D)

Ray Garofalo (R)

Brett Geymann (R)

Hunter Greene (R)

Lance Harris (R)

Joe Harrison (R)

Kenny Havard (R)

Cameron Henry (R)

Valarie Hodges (R)

Paul Hollis (R)

Frankie Howard (R)

Eddie Lambert (R)

Nancy Landry (R)

Chris Leopold (R)

Greg Miller (R)

Jim Morris (R)

Jay Morris (R)

Rogers Pope (R)

Steve Pylant (R)

Gene Reynolds (D)

Joel Robideaux (R)

Clay Schexnayder (R)

John Schroder (R)

Alan Seabaugh (R)

Kirk Talbot (R)

Jeff Thompson (R)

The following six legislators are co-authoring specific bills in the package:

James Armes (D) Legislative Transparency Reform Bill

Jared Brossett (D) Legislative Transparency Reform Bill

Katrina Jackson (D) Legislative Transparency and Spending Priorities Bills

Ted James (D) Legislative Transparency and Spending Priorities Bills

Pat Smith (D) Legislative Transparency Reform Bill

Ledricka Thierry (D) Legislative Transparency and Spending Priorities Bills

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