Walter Pierce

Senate committee nixes stimulus legislation

by Walter Pierce

With fewer than five days to go in the legislative session, a Senate committee deferred a bill that would allow the state to accept $98 million in stimulus money in the form of federal unemployment benefits, according to an article in today’s Advocate. The move means the legislation in more than likely out of steam and will not be reconsidered before lawmakers close the session.

Gov. Bobby Jindal opposed the state accepting the stimulus money even before the session started, arguing it would force the state and employers to carry the burden of unemployment benefits for more out-of-work residents after the stimulus money ran out. And lawmakers had complained that the amendment by Rep. Avon Honey, D-Baton Rouge, accepting the money was slipped into the bill without proper consideration.

The bill — with the amendment accepting the stimulus money — had cleared the Senate Finance Committee and was headed to the full senate when, late Sunday, the chairman of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations committee got hold of it. State Sen. Eric Lafleur, D-Ville Platte, opposed the bill’s diversion to the Labor Committee, but it was there, in the Labor Committee, that the bill was sidetracked into almost certain death.