La. Senate Finance Committee advances $45M insurance incentive bill
BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) - Senate lawmakers on the finance committee have advanced both bills appropriating $45 million to the Insure Louisiana Incentive Fund on Thursday, Feb. 2. There were a few changes, though.
What is legally within the call of the session has been the biggest stumbling block for lawmakers this week. However, one House amendment added to the $45 million appropriations bill for the fund had Senate lawmakers fearing potential legal hiccups. That amendment would require insurance companies utilizing the fund to take 25 percent of their new policies from the books of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp, the state’s insurer of last resort.
“Any idea that the courts would get involved would put the breaks on this program,” said State Sen. Page Cortez (R-District 23). “Is this an attempt to create law in an appropriations bill, and if so, and if someone got involved, would the court stop us from going forward?”
That is a scenario the Senate committee and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon are trying to avoid.
“Anything that could potentially slow you up to getting these incentive programs out there, I want to take out of the bill, or I want to clear the path for you,” Cortez said.
That is exactly what they did, stripping the bill of that amendment and other protections within House Bill 1 and instead looking to see if those protections can be added to the rules of the program.
“Not that we’re saying we don’t like what they do,” added State Sen. Cameron Henry (R-District 9). “What we’re saying is we don’t think that they fit in the appropriation’s bill.”
If the bill passes out of the Senate Friday, Feb. 3, it will be up to the House to approve it. Some fear they could lose House votes over the changes. However, with lawmakers desperate to grant some sort of relief for property owners on the verge of losing their homes, it is unclear whether the change would cause too much of a stir in the other chamber.
The special session must end by Sunday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m., but lawmakers are hoping to wrap things up by the end of Friday.
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