Chamber gets legislator reports on 2006 sessions

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 31, 2006


Managing Editor

LAPLACE — River Region state legislators cited accomplishments of the 2006 Louisiana Legislature for members of the River Region Chamber of Commerce Thursday at the Quality Inn-LaPlace.

Those able to attend included Sen. Joel Chaisson II, Rep. Bobby Faucheux and Rep. Gary Smith.

Chaisson said in the two special sessions, the legislature demonstrated &#8220Louisiana is serious about taking care of business, and that laissez-faire is a thing of the past.” He added that reform legislation proved &#8220the old ways are not acceptable.”

Appointment of a levee &#8220superboard” to clean up the inequities of the past was aimed not only at public safety but also toward economic development.

The regular legislative session which followed, where 2,100 bills were filed but only 850 became law, included several achievements in heading off shortfalls in health care and in higher education.

A teacher pay raise, shoring up of the Minimum Foundation Program and providing funds for construction trades training were among those achievements, Chaisson said.

&#8220There’s plenty we can do in the upcoming sessions to improve our image,” he concluded.

Faucheux said the regular session’s biggest accomplishment was HB-1, the annual state budget, which was boosted by $8.1 billion in federal hurricane assistance.

The Road Home Program, aimed at helping uninsured and under-insured homeowners return and rebuild, will be a significant help in restoring Louisiana, he predicted. So far, 90,000 have signed up for the program, in which 120,000 homeowners were expected to participate.

Faucheux also pointed out accomplishments in clearing out the top-heavy office holders in Orleans Parish, going from seven assessors to one and from two sheriffs to one.

Smith noted the session took up topics from abortion and gun seizures to anti-smoking legislation.

However, he added, &#8220You were well represented, because I heard from Henry Friloux on half of those bills.”

Friloux is chairman of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee.

Smith pointed out that he, Chaisson and Faucheux worked as a team to represent the region, working closely together and coordinating their efforts.

He urged Chamber members to push their Congressional delegation for a national catastrophe program and to support increased mineral revenues for Louisiana.