Altimus: Bossier Parish fares well during legislative session

Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus speaks to the Bossier Parish Police Jury during a February meeting. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Stacey Tinsley | Bossier Press-Tribune

At Wednesday’s Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting, the jury heard good news from Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus that took place following the conclusion of the Louisiana Legislature’s second special session.

“Yesterday I was able to forward to you all a report from Ginger [Adam], our lobbyist down in Baton Rouge, concerning the 2nd Louisiana session special report. I’m not going to go through all of it. But you can review it when you get time. I did want to point out a couple of items though. I think they were important,” said Altimus.

Listed below are the three items that Altimus spoke about to the jury:

  1. Speaker Clay Schexnayder passed House Bill 26 that suspends the collection of state sales taxes statewide on November 20 and 21 to provide relief from Hurricane Laura and Delta.
  2. Three bills to add Louisiana to interstate compact licensure laws with 20 other states were passed. The bills cover EMTs/EMS practitioners, physicians, and audiologists. Under the compacts, practitioners must be certified and work under existing Louisiana providers. The compacts do not change the scope of practices. These three bills were supported by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Barksdale Air Force Base.

Senate Bill 13 by Senator Barrow Peacock (Act31) enacts the Recognition of Emergency Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA) and allows Louisiana to join a multi-state compact for EMS personnel to obtain multi-state license privileges; to practice in participating compact states; to decrease redundancies in the consideration and issuance of EMS licenses; and to provide opportunity for interstate practice by EMS personnel who meet the uniform licensure requirements.

Senate Bill 27 by Senator Barrow Peacock (Act 35) deals with the practice of medicine and enacts the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. It allows Louisiana to join a multi-state compact for physicians to obtain multi-state license privileges to practice in participating compact states and to enhance the portability of a medical license while ensuring the safety of patients.

Senate Bill (Act 37) by Senator Barrow Peacock deals with the Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Interstate Compact. It allows Louisiana to join a multi-state compact, which allows audiologists and speech language pathologists to obtain multi-state license privileges to practice in participating compact states.

  1. The state now has an Office of Broadband housed within the Governor’s Office with the passage of House Bill 74 by Rep. Daryl Deshotels (Act 24). The primary functions of the office are to promote connectivity and identify gaps in coverage. They are also required to make recommendations to the Legislature for better broadband services statewide.

The Louisiana Legislature began its 2nd Special Session on September 28 and adjourned on October 23; the third one this year including the Regular Session. There were 70 items included in the call for the 2nd Special Session and 16 items had no bills filed to address the emergency. The goal was to focus on the emergency powers of the Governor, COVID relief measures, and hurricane recovery.

The jury also approved:

  • Scheduling a public hearing on December 16, 2020, to consider approval of new sewer rates for the Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage.
  • Consider an amendment to street names in Magnolia Ridge Subdivision, to change the street names from Ocean Drive to East and West Josie Lane and from Bertolla Street to Joe Ford Drive.
  • Approval of Amendment No. 1 to the Agreement for Engineering Services Contract between the Bossier Parish Police Jury and Cothren, Graff, Smoak Engineering, Inc., for engineering services for the Lars Road Water Line Improvements Project.