Delta Chapter State Legislative Update, May 27, 2016
The 2016 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature winds down to adjournment on June 6 at 6 pm. There were several developments with Green Army bills this past week.
Rep Bouie’s HB 371 to prohibit placing schools on toxic waste sites made it out of House Ed Committee but in the process got referred to House Natural Resources where all knew it would surely meet its end in that very unfriendly committee. The bill was scheduled as the only bill to be heard in HNR&E last week and then the meeting was cancelled. We believe the sponsor, Rep Joe Bouie never really wanted to fight for the bill and so he allowed its demise.
HB 469, the fenceline monitoring bill by Rep Connick went down to a much more noble defeat by vote on the house floor, losing 24/65 after a hard fight. The bill is now in part resurrected by the introduction by Rep Connick of House Resolution 186. The resolution requests LDEQ to study the feasibility of sharing internal real-time emissions data from certain facilities with first responders and to report to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment. The resolution is scheduled for House floor debate on June 1. While being only a shadow of the original bill which would have required real time monitoring and public notification where polluting industries are adjoined by residential neighborhoods, this resolution is the “something” which is better than nothing and will receive our support.
We note some success as an outcome of the fight for HB 11 to ban open burning of waste munitions. That is that even though the bill could not pass, it has been turned into a study resolution, HCR 118. And LDEQ has already agreed in meetings with Green Army representatives to closely monitor air emissions from burn sites at Colfax and Marrero.
As of this writing on May 27, 2016 we are informed that the Governor has called for a Special session to commence one half hour after the close of the current regular session on June 6 and which will go to midnight on June 23. The Special Session is to address issues related to state financing of essential programs such as schools and health care. We do not anticipate any opportunity to address environmental issues during the Special Session. And next year’s regular legislative session occurs in an odd number year in which tax and finance issues will be addressed with more limited opportunity for environmental issues. But we will work to get some priority issues introduced next year.
We want to thank again all of our supporters who made calls and sent emails to legislators and who showed up for hearings and lobby days at the State Capitol. Your active support is much appreciated and helps us to make a positive difference in the legislative process. We encourage all to meet with your Representatives and Senators in their home offices and at events in between legislative sessions. Personal familiarity and relationships formed in the home districts will enable us to be more effective leading up to and during the legislative sessions.
For a complete list of legislative updates for Sierra Club and Green Army bills in the 2016 Regular Legislative Session you can go to our website Legislative Updates page at: http://lasierraclub.org/taxonomy/term/4