Sen. Barrow Peacock gives view of 2013 Legislative Session
Less than a week since the 2013 Legislative session ended, Senator Barrow Peacock (District 37) is glad to be back in Bossier-Shreveport.
“It is good to be back home,” he said. “It was a short session, but we covered so much ground that it seemed like it could have been two years long.”
After a contentious session that came to a head with a last-minute passage of the state budget, the main objective of this year’s fiscal session, Peacock said it was mission accomplished.
“We had to make selective choices in the budget. It was not an easy budget and there was a lot of give and take on both sides, but I’m glad we were able to come up with a budget for the state to operate under.”
The biggest obstacle, Barrow said, was the amount of work and discussion affiliated with state tax and the budget.
“We started this session with the Governor’s plan to eliminate state income tax and to shift the burden to more of a self tax,” he said. “A lot of points that drove the Governor’s point are still there, but increasing the burden on the backs of businesses that provide jobs is not the way to go.”
Among other things that passed were bills relating to gun control and those specifically for the medical field. Locally, Peacock said he made sure there was funding available for the LSU-S medical school.
The next step is to make sure things fit into place in Bossier and around the state.
“The pieces are coming together, but it has been a challenge to make it all work,” Peacock said. “We are up to that challenge, but it is going to take a lot of hard work from a lot of different people.”
Looking back, Peacock said had a fairly successful session, noting that he had bills that passed and some that did not. One of the bills was Senate Bill 259, which impacted retirement benefits, provides a sixty-month final average compensation period for members of state and statewide retirement systems.
“The main ones that were controversial on my side were dealing with retirement reform. I think we really need to make sure that our retirement system is secure for all of our retirees and do it in a way that they are soundly funded to be there for years and years,” said Peacock. “A lot of people think we are trying to take away from retirement, but that is not the case. We are trying to secure a system in such a way that it’s there for years and years after people retire.”
Others that have been signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal are SB-260, relating to clarification of certain unsolicited offers for lease or purchase of mineral rights and SB-81, which provides exception to registration requirement of a home improvement contractor for work physically performed by an individual on property owned by the individual when the improvement is less than $7,500.
Overall, Peacock said he feels confident in every bill he introduced and is pleased with the outcome.
He encourages citizens to stay in contact with their legislators now and for future sessions. According to Peacock, less than one percent of registered voters made contact with his office in the last two months.
“We need to hear from the people of Bossier about what’s important. Call your representatives and your senators in your area and around your state. We need to hear from you.”