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Story Archives: Area legislators ready for session
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|Area legislators ready for session|
State Sen. Neil Riser wants to give state income taxpayers a one-time tax rebate.
Riser's proposal is just one of more than 1,700 bills up for consideration in the regular session of the Legislature, which begins Monday.
Riser said the one-time payout is similar to the rebates taxpayers will receive later this year as part of President George Bush's economic stimulus package.
The proposed Louisiana economic stimulus package calls for a percentage of any state surplus funds to go into a holding account.
"That money will got into an economic stimulus fund in the 07-08 year and will be paid out to tax payers in 2009," Riser said.
Riser noted lawmakers had just concluded a special session in which they spent some $1-billion in surplus funds but said legislators were prohibited from returning that money to taxpayers by Gov. Bobby Jindal's special call.
During the regular session, Riser said he hoped to correct that because approximately 55 percent of the surplus money came from individual income tax filers.
Riser has also taken aim at protecting a farmer's access to land bordering railroads.
Under the bill proposed by Riser (R-Columbia), state railroad operators would be required to notify Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials before removing any rural railroad crossings.
The proposed law is intended to help guarantee farmers continued access to farmlands bordering railroads around the state.
"It is critical in the farming areas to be able to get in and out of fields without having to take equipment up and down the roads," Riser said.
Riser said removing rural crossings hinders access to farmland and requires farmers to take long routes on public roads, which increases wear and tear on state roads as well as creates potential hazards to motorists.
"We're just trying to keep the railroad crossings open through farmland so farmers will have fight of way to and from the field," Riser said. "That's the gist of the plan."
Also on the agenda for the regular session are new rules governing competition for cable television service.
State Rep. Noble Ellington (D-Winnsboro) said he expected stiff opposition from cable companies around the state to a proposed law to allow AT&T and other local telephone services to offer cable television service to homes via phone lines.
Under the current law, cable television companies can provide phone service. However, AT&T and other phone companies are prohibited from offering cable television service.
This law would allow phone companies to compete for that service, Ellington said.
Closer to home, Ellington said several Franklin Parish projects are tapped for potential funding in the House appropriations bill.
Among the items for which Ellington is seeking funding are the Franklin Parish museum, a new fire truck for Crowville, and several area road projects.
"We have a number of things we're looking at," Ellington said. "Most of them are things that will have to be done in the appropriations committee through the appropriations bill."
The Louisiana Legislature will begin the 2008 Regular Session on Monday. It is scheduled to adjourn sometime before June 23, 2008.