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Louisiana Legislators Pre-file Bills 

  Despite the looming fiscal crisis, lawmakers are taking advantage of this even-numbered-year regular session's rules, which allow them to pre-file an unlimited number of bills. "We're going to end up with more bills than we did in the regular session two years ago," House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said last week. "That could possibly be problematic because we won't have any money for new programs, no matter how good they are." Independent journalist John Maginnis had reported a week earlier that a "light session agenda" was shaping up this year: "All-consuming budget issues seem to be crowding out consideration of other major matters for the upcoming legislative session. By [last] Thursday evening, 318 House bills had been pre-filed and 66 were in the Senate. Legislative staffers say that's about half the number of bills usually dropped in the hopper by two-and-a-half weeks before the start of the session. The depressed revenue picture is said to be minimizing new initiatives from agencies or outside groups." That prompted Hammond attorney and blogger C.B. Forgotston to ask in an email blast: "Who should we believe? The lege staff or the House Speaker, or should we simply believe nothing we hear from the Capitol?" In 2008, the last even-numbered year, 1,389 bills were introduced in the House and 813 in the Senate. — Jeremy Alford

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