Legislature's regular session developments - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Legislature's regular session developments

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A bid to delay the start of Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to shift future rank-and-file state workers to a 401(k)-style retirement plan is advancing in the Louisiana Legislature with little opposition so far.

Without objection Thursday, the House Retirement Committee passed a resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 2) that would suspend the provisions of the law until July 1, 2014. It heads next to the full House for debate.

A similar piece of legislation (Senate Concurrent Resolution 1) received the backing of the Senate Retirement Committee and awaits discussion on the Senate floor.

Because they are resolutions, the legislation would not go to Jindal's desk.

Lawmakers are backing the suspension because of uncertainties about the change to the so-called "cash balance" plan.

A district court judge has ruled the retirement plan unconstitutional. That ruling is on appeal. Meanwhile, leaders of two state retirement systems have raised concerns about how the plan would be administered and about its tax implications.

The retirement change, approved by lawmakers last year, created an investment account similar to a 401(k) plan for certain state employees hired after July 1. That would stand in place of a monthly retirement payment based on salary and years of employment.

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The House backed a proposal to let people carry concealed weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol. It would eliminate a current ban.

The measure (House Bill 48) by Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, was approved in a 62-24 vote and heads to the Senate for debate.

Burns described the proposal as a gun rights issue. Opponents said it goes too far and undermines safety.

When it was introduced, Burns' bill dealt only with law enforcement officers. It was amended in committee to include anyone with a concealed weapons permit.

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The House voted 87-0 to rewrite the state law that requires public schools to have a written crisis management plan, to require local law enforcement to help with designing the plans and requiring annual safety drills to rehearse them.

The measure (House Bill 718) by Rep. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, moves to the Senate for discussion. It was prompted by the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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In other legislative action:

-A proposal to toughen existing limitations on funeral protests received unanimous approval from the Senate. Under current law, a person can be charged with disturbing the peace if obstructing a funeral or memorial service. The change would extend that to include the funeral route and set a perimeter banning protesters within 500 feet of the funeral. The bill (Senate Bill 72) heads to the House for discussion.

-The House Retirement Committee voted 9-2 to advance a proposal to keep future employees of teachers' unions out of the statewide retirement system for teachers. The measure (House Bill 60) by Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, would grandfather in the 40 people currently enrolled in the system. It moves to the House floor for debate.

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Online:

Louisiana Legislature: www.legis.la.gov

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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