House passes both bills during special session, sends to Senate Finance
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - We’re three days in and both bills are now halfway through the legislative process.
Moving forward they will need the same support they’ve been having but over on the Senate side. Today each House member was able to ask Commissioner Donelon their questions and give their concerns. While most on the floor seemed prepared to vote in favor, there were some who did not see the commissioner’s plan to put $45 million into an incentive fund as the appropriate solution.
“If we’re gonna say that we’re just doing something to do something over nothing, I’m with you okay. If you say that this is the only bill and this the only option that we have, I get that but that’s part of the problem. We should have had more options to deal with this,” said Rep. Edmond Jordan (D).
Commissioner Donelon said he spoke with both Democrat and Republican caucuses earlier this week and tried to get everyone on the same page, but said both groups felt the same for the most part, concerned and skeptical. Several shared their own recent experience.
“My premium went up and I’ve been getting calls over and over that happened to other individuals all over my district. This is not the perfect bill but it is the only bill and it is the only hope for south Louisiana. So, I beg you to support this bill,” Rep. Timothy Kerner pleaded with lawmakers.
“Mine increased by 164% over last year...Is all of our hope tied to this bill? Oh goodness, I hope not...But some hope is,” added Rep. Beryl Amedee (R).
An amendment was added requiring 25% of the new policies from companies who come to the state and take money from the incentive fund, to be taken from Citizens, one of the state’s largest insurance companies.
The bill passed with a 90-8 vote and Rep. John Stefanski’s (R) vetting bill passed unanimously. Both now head to Senate Finance, a committee chaired by Sen. Bodi White, who’s taken issue with the commissioner’s job performance.
Yesterday the commissioner said the senator made it clear he did not support the incentive program when he asked for the money during the regular session.
“I think it will be okay there. I have not spoken to, I’ve reached out to senator white but have not heard back from him. I think he recognizes how, being the savvy and experienced legislator that he is, that this is an emergency,” said Commissioner Donelon.
Senate Finance will take up both bills tomorrow afternoon around 1:30 p.m.
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