While a proposed hike in the state’s gasoline tax has been hogging the transportation limelight at the Capitol, members of the House panel that oversees the broader policy issue spent part of their Monday morning wading through less controversial bills. That action included votes to create a specialty license plate to benefit the ALS work of former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason and to reject a limited proposal that would have allowed a small community to use golf carts on streets.
The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee will get the first crack at hearing the gas tax bill over the next couple weeks, but it’s ultimately up to members of the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee to help guide future policy on roads and bridges.
That meant an agenda today of about a half dozen bills for the transportation committee, which held discussions on classifications in the state highway system, public-private partnerships, permit fees and toll violations.
The committee also approved HB 318 by House Speaker Pro Team Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, which creates the “Team Gleason Foundation” specialty license plate. If at least 1,000 people order plates, royalties from the $28.50 fee will go toward helping those who have neuromuscular diseases similar to Gleason’s condition.
Gleason is best known for his blocked punt during the first game in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina, but Leger told the committee his impact is much wider. “He’s more famous now for the courage he’s displayed since being diagnosed with ALS in 2011,” Leger said.
HB 117 by Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, however, got a red light from the committee. The bill sought to authorize golf carts to cross certain Louisiana highways within the town of Church Point.
“I just have some major, major concerns,” said House Transportation Chairman Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, echoing other sentiments voiced today before lawmakers put the bill on pause.
The transportation committee, along with other legislative panels, will be meeting again tomorrow. Both the House and Senate, meanwhile, were scheduled to convene this afternoon at 3 p.m. Follow all of the bills and agendas at http://legis.la.gov/legis/home.aspx.
Jeremy Alford will publish Capitol Views each afternoon on Daily Report PM through the end of the legislative session. The report is also available to subscribers at LaPolitics.com.