Lawmakers no longer can introduce bills in the current legislative session. That means amendments — or hitchhikers, as they're sometimes called — are now the main vehicle for advancing measures not already in the hopper. On the House side, 1,459 bills had been introduced as of the April 20 deadline. The last two House bills are interesting: House Bill 1458 by Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, calls on local school boards to establish rules for cyberbullying; and House Bill 1459 by Rep. Fred Mills, D-Parks, stiffens the penalties for the crime of exploiting the infirm.
On the Senate side, 790 bills have been introduced. The final spot in the Upper Chamber goes to no-party Sen. Troy Hebert of Jeanerette, who wants to prohibit drunk drivers from participating in pre-trial diversion programs. Despite the task lawmakers face in trying to balance the state budgets for this year and next, they actually introduced more bills this year (2,249) than two years ago, the last comparable regular session, during which they offered up 2,202 bills. To see all the bills up for consideration, visit www.legis.state.la.us. — Jeremy Alford