Issues for La. include parents’ school rights, insurance

Published 8:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2022

Legislators are sponsoring bills during their current session dealing with insurance adjusters, retiree cost of living increases, inmates convicted by 10-2 juries, interlocking devices, menhaden fishing, no-kill animal shelters, and parents’ school rights.

Property adjusters working for insurance companies have become controversial figures following Louisiana’s recent hurricanes, and legislators are trying to do something about it.

Sen. Jeremy Stine, R-Lake Charles, is sponsoring Senate Bill 330 that would require the state Department of Insurance to maintain an electronic registry for licensed and unlicensed adjusters. The legislation is scheduled for final action Sunday in the Senate.

Sen. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, is sponsoring SB 186 that deals with public adjusters hired to determine whether the insurers’ estimates are accurate. It says a public adjuster who enters into a contract or arrangement with an insured can charge a reasonable fee that includes full flat fees, hourly fees, percentage fees and any other valuable consideration for services rendered.

The fee cannot exceed 10 percent over and above the disputed amount successfully paid by the insurer in order to resolve the claim. Supporters say Henry’s bill gives homeowners a choice to hire on a percentage basis. It passed the Senate 31-4 and was sent to the House.

Rep. Phillip Tarver, R-Lake Charles, is sponsoring HB 31 that authorizes the use of nonrecurring state revenue for payment of non-recurring cost of living increases for retirees, beneficiaries, and survivors. The increases would come behind other priority spending and would depend on whether money is still available after those payments are made.

It is a proposed constitutional amendment and is scheduled for House debate Monday.

Rep. Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace, is sponsoring House Bill 1077  that authorizes the Louisiana Supreme Court to create and establish a board for the purpose of reviewing all cases in which a non-unanimous jury verdict was rendered prior to 2018.

The goal is to provide for a parole hearing for an estimated 1,500 inmates convicted of split juries. The House voted to move the bill from the criminal justice committee to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is awaiting a hearing.

The state Supreme Court is currently considering the issue.

Rep. Mark Wright, R-Covington, is sponsoring HB 769 that would overhaul the state’s drunken driving laws and expand the use of interlocking devices. It is awaiting action by the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Joseph Orgeron, R-Larose, is sponsoring HB 1044 that would establish the first substantial limits on menhaden (pogies) fishing. It passed the House 75-22 and is awaiting a Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing. Pogies are blamed for the decline of prize fish catches.

Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Moss Bluff, is sponsoring House Resolution 89. It urges and requests the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Calcasieu Parish Animal Services and Adoption Center to become a “no kill” animal shelter. A House vote is scheduled Monday.

Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, is sponsoring HB 369 that would require public school governing authorities and schools to share information about the laws providing parents’ rights with respect to their children’s education, including access to instructional materials. It will be debated in the House Monday.