Legislative action was light at the Capitol today, with just four committees convening and skinny agendas posted for both the House and Senate floors. That’s because a sizable chunk of those who work in the building relocated today to the University Club for the annual fundraising extravaganza hosted by the Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation.
The golf tournament at University Club this morning was the kickoff for the 35th Elephant Stomp, a staple of the Capitol social calendar. The Stomp culminates this evening in the L’Auberge Hotel Grand Ballroom, where attendees will navigate a lengthy greeting line comprised of Louisiana’s top GOP officials.
While the Stomp is well-attended enough to put a dent in the pacing at the Capitol, it didn’t completely shutter legislative operations Monday. The Senate Finance Committee, for example, got off to an early start to begin hearings in earnest on the state budget bill, which was advanced late last week by the House.
While the budget-writing Finance Committee has already held several meetings related to the spending plan, today’s gathering was the first conducted with the Senate in control of the document. Members heard from departmental and university health care officials, and more testimony was expected this afternoon.
Transportation, Highways and Public Works, meanwhile, blew through a packed agenda today, including four bills that would rename portions of major highways and roadways. Among those now headed to the full House is SB 134 by Sen. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, which would pave the way for three “Home of the Who Dat Nation Highway” signs to be installed along Interstate 10.
The committee also advanced HB 546 by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, which would eliminate the state inspection sticker requirement for certain vehicles. Commercial vehicles and school buses would still face the requirement under the bill, but average motorists would not.
Bagley argued that inspections aren’t actually being carried out the way they should. “They just scrape old one off and put new one on,” he said.
The bill passed by an 8-6 vote, but is expected to face added scrutiny on the House floor.
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.