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Jul 02, 2010
Governor Jindal Issues Vetoes

 

 

 

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he vetoed HB 189, HB 277, HB 334, HB 685, HB 1172, HB 1443, SB 584 and SB 749 and issued the attached veto letters:

HB 189

The Honorable Glenn Koepp
Secretary of the Senate
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: House Bill No. 189 by Representative Richard
       
Dear Mr. Koepp:

House Bill No. 189 by Representative Richard provides for early retirement for members of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System (LASERS) with an actuarial reduction of benefits. While I fully support the goal of the bill which adds to existing law allowing for early retirement and the abolition of positions, I am concerned that the proposed legislation exempts three hospitals but does not adequately account for critical positions that have a direct impact on patient care or for critical positions that have a direct impact on public safety, such as State Troopers.

For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 189 and returned it to the House of Representatives.  Please note that I vetoed similar legislation last year for the same reasons.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal
Governor

HB 277

The Honorable Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House of Representatives
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Re: House Bill No. 277 by Representative Sam Jones

Dear Mr. Speer:

House Bill No. 277 seeks to give the newly created St. Mary Hydro-Electric District sole authority over the use of certain river and water resources and the use of all funding derived from these resources. The larger goal of this bill – to promote hydro-electric power - is a laudable goal, but fundamental problems with this legislation remain.

This bill directly conflicts with another expression of the Legislature this session as to how the state should regulate hydroelectric power.  Specifically, Senate Bill No. 183 by Sen. N. Gautreaux calls for the state to manage all future hydroelectric projects as well as the revenues generated by these projects.  I am concerned with setting up a regulatory structure that would result in 63 parishes operating under one structure that is managed by the state and one parish operating under a completely different structure.  Additionally, the Attorney General recently issued an opinion after this bill was introduced indicating that water is a natural resource of the state, requiring it to be managed by the state in a similar fashion to our other resources like fisheries, oil, and gas.

For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 277 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal
Governor

HB 334

The Honorable Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House of Representatives
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: House Bill No. 334 by Representative Leger

Dear Mr. Speer:

House Bill No. 334 creates the Casino Support Services Fund and dedicates certain revenues to this new fund. Under House Bill No. 334, the casino support services fund receives its full allocation from resources that would have been deposited in the Support Education in Louisiana First Fund (SELF), which is used to fund salary expenses for pre-K through 12th grade teachers and college faculty.

Efforts have been undertaken by the author and the Division of Administration to find consensus with the bill language. Unfortunately, House Bill No. 334, as was reported from the conference committee, will cause a $3.6 million shortfall in the FY11 appropriations for Higher Education and the MFP, diverting monies dedicated to salary expenses for pre-K through 12th grade teachers and college faculty.  At a time of declining revenues, we should be working together to increase our flexibility in the budget process to protect education and health care instead of increasing the portion of revenues that are dedicated. 

For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 334 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives. There is merit to the author’s intent with this legislation; I remain open to considering other alternatives next session.   

Sincerely,


Bobby Jindal
Governor


HB 685

The Honorable Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: House Bill No. 685 by Representative S. Jones        

Dear Mr. Speer:

House Bill No. 685 would prevent any student under the age of 17 from enrolling in adult education.  Today, with parental consent, the current policy of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education allows 16-year-olds to enroll in adult education programs if they meet certain conditions, such as family or economic hardship, chronic illness, incarceration, or institutionalization, among others.

As drafted, House Bill No. 685 would no longer allow 16-year-olds who leave school with the consent of their parents to subsequently enroll in an adult education program. Unless incarcerated or ordered by a court, these young people would be forced to wait one year without this option.

I share the author’s intent to reduce the number of dropouts in our schools and signed another piece of legislation sponsored by the author pertaining to the issue.  Unfortunately, the approach taken in House Bill No. 685 is not as targeted as other pieces of legislation that also passed this session. 

Specifically, I prefer the approach taken in Senate Bill No. 297 by Senator Donahue and House Bill No. 1055 by Representative Richmond, which will allow 16-year-olds to enter only those adult education programs that have “demonstrated a proven record of student progress…as determined by quality indicators and performance-based criteria” adopted by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors. 

I believe these new laws should be given time to take effect before we consider simply prohibiting all 16-year-olds from entering adult education programs.  For this reason, I have vetoed House Bill No. 685 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives.

Sincerely,


Bobby Jindal
Governor

HB 1172

The Honorable Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: House Bill No. 1172 by Representative Tucker

Dear Mr. Speer:

House Bill No. 1172 by Representative Tucker changes the space allocation in the State Capitol complex.  I am concerned that the bill unnecessarily restricts the involvement of the Executive Branch in the use of the space within Louisiana’s State Capitol—an iconic and historic building that is the seat of our state government. 

For this reason, I have vetoed House Bill No. 1172 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal
Governor
 

HB 1443

The Honorable Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: House Bill No. 1443 by Representative Edwards

Dear Mr. Speer:

House Bill 1443 by Representative Edwards establishes new procurement process requirements related to the privatization of certain mental health and addictive disorder facilities and programs.  More specifically, the bill adds additional steps to the Department of Health and Hospitals’ contracting process, which prolongs the process and the Department’s ability to implement best practices for those with mental health needs as well as adding costs to the state.

National best practices indicate persons with mental health needs should receive care in the least restrictive environment while still meeting their health care needs.  Most mental health services delivered by the Department today are provided through private contracts, and this has enabled the state to provide more services to more people at lower cost.  The Department utilizes patient by patient assessments as to needs, involves families and the care team, and seeks to provide the service in the setting best for the individual.  It has been demonstrated that institutional services in certain instances can be operated more efficiently utilizing best practices within the private sector, and it is incumbent upon us to take advantage of those opportunities to save taxpayer dollars wherever we can, with the ultimate goal being to deliver high quality services cost effectively. 

The state is facing a budget crisis that has not been matched in over 25 years.  This is due to multiple factors, such as the federal government’s decreased contribution to the state Medicaid program resulting in a $339 million loss, and the federal DSH audit rule, which will decrease available DSH by $200 million.  The DSH audit rule itself is leading to a $43 million reduction in funding for Louisiana’s mental health institutions.  The proposed executive budget filled this $43 million federal hole with $36 million in state general funds, but we must explore more cost effective measures.  Our budget invests in expanded community-based services, and protects the institutions from what would have been devastating reductions.

The reality is that we cannot keep doing what we have always done and ignore the major reductions in funding by the federal government.  And we must at the same time improve services.  There are sufficient protections in law to ensure the request for proposal process has oversight.  Adding additional steps to the procurement process outside of those protections will hinder the state's ability to deal with the challenges we face, will discourage potential partners from participating, may create legal impediments to implementation, and could result in increased expenditures. 

For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 1443 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives.

Sincerely,


Bobby Jindal
Governor


SB 584

The Honorable Glenn Koepp
Secretary of the Senate
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

Re: Senate Bill No. 584 by Senator Peterson

Dear Mr. Koepp:

Senate Bill No. 584 opens the door to future state funding of construction and renovation of local public school facilities and could result in an unfunded mandate to the Department of Education to establish and staff the authority within the agency.

This would represent a fundamental shift in the planning and financing of school facilities, having traditionally been a local responsibility driven by the needs and wishes of citizens in each school district. Funding for such projects is provided through the approval of local financing measures and discretionary monies received through the state’s Minimum Foundation Program. School systems also have access to more than $244 million in qualified school construction bonds from the U.S. Treasury to finance the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of public school facilities at a lower cost of financing. Furthermore, as public entities, school districts may submit funding requests through the state’s capital outlay program. Creating a separate capital funding mechanism outside of the capital outlay system would not allow for consideration of all the needs of the state and the setting of priorities based on those needs.  

The state currently has unmet obligations such as the unfunded accrued liability of the statewide retirement systems, the backlog of deferred maintenance on roads, and a significant backlog in deferred maintenance on state buildings. The Department of Education also has limited financial and human resources to establish and provide staff support to a new entity without diverting resources from away other priority initiatives aimed at improving student achievement.

For these reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill No. 584 and hereby return it to the Senate.  Please note that I have vetoed similar legislation in previous years for similar reasons.

Sincerely,


Bobby Jindal
Governor

SB 749

The Honorable Glenn Koepp
Secretary of the Senate
State Capital
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: Senate Bill No. 749 by Senator Edwin Murray

Dear Mr. Koepp:

Senate Bill No. 749 by Senator Edwin Murray changes the scope and purpose of the litigation subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget in an unacceptable way that will effect the operations of Executive Branch departments and agencies. 

Senate Bill No. 749 expands the scope of the underlying statute by applying it to “agreements” and “negotiations,” in addition to “compromise or settlement.”  Due to the fact that the statute fails to define “agreement” or “negotiation,” the statute may now be interpreted to apply to any negotiation, agreement, compromise or settlement which any agency or department of the Executive Branch intends to sign, regardless of whether it involves litigation.  Given the magnitude and number of agreements, contracts and negotiations that the agencies and departments of the Executive Branch engage in, the overly board language will be cumbersome and will severely impact their ability to conduct routine activities. 

For this reason, I have vetoed Senate Bill No. 749 and hereby return it to the Senate.

Sincerely,


Bobby Jindal
Governor


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