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Last legislative session moments produce troubling results

Two bad things happened on the last day of the Louisiana Legislature’s special session, when attention spans of legislators wane and time constraints make some of them do things they ordinarily shouldn’t.

One was allowing the Senate to hijack HB 140 that would have the effect of preventing the full amount of money that should go into the Budget Stabilization Fund from doing so. The idea originally had been in another Senate bill but when that seemed to go nowhere in the House the Senate seized upon this bill and it easily passed both houses – even its Senate opponents in the Senate bill voted for it. However, this may be because of the contention by many Republicans that the bill is unconstitutional in its attempt to amend the Constitution by statute, and they passed it out simply to be able to challenge it in court if Gov. Kathleen Blanco signs it.

If it holds up or the challenge never comes after Blanco’s expected signature, this doesn’t necessarily mean the state will go hog-wild in spending when cuts may make better sense and to show the federal government that the state is serious about bringing more sanity to its fiscal affairs. Still, it’s best not to have the temptation present.

The other was restoring in HB 156 much of the money cut from the state’s Legal Service Corporation, funded also by the federal government, emanating originally from the governor’s executive order. Nationwide, this government-funded activist organization uses taxpayers’ dollars to engage in legal actions on behalf of a leftist political agenda with which the vast majority of Americans disagree, rather than any genuine legal assistance for the poor. Given its history (including falsifying its reporting of its activities), much stronger assurances that the recipients of its grants address genuine needs rather than engaging in political activism should have been sought before giving back most of is previous appropriation.

The last day of any session always is the worst – advocates of efficient government in the interests of the people always must be on the lookout for craziness out of the state’s Legislature in its waning moments.

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