Reservoir bill nearly law

Published 6:23 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

Two of Sen. Beth Mizell’s bills are nearly laws.

This week the state’s House of Representatives passed an amended version of Mizell’s reservoir bill. Now that version must be approved by the Senate, and once that happens, it will be law. Mizell (R-Franklinton) has said she supports the House’s version.

Mizell said the bill is worded in such a way that the governor doesn’t technically have to sign it.

“If the governor just lets it sit on his desk, it will become law Aug. 1,” she said.

The bill keeps intact the Washington Parish Reservoir District but it prohibits the commission that oversees the district from using eminent domain to claim land for the project. A proposed reservoir site in the Oak Grove community with the threat of eminent domain has been opposed for over 10 years. This legislation should kill that plan.

Another of Mizell’s bills, which would require public schoolchildren in Louisiana to learn cursive, is also nearly law.

Mizell said the bill passed the House, although the School Board Association asked for an amendment extending the date of implementation.

“They asked for an amendment to allow them an extra year to basically get them enough time so the teachers could implement it,” she said.

With the amendment, the law will require cursive to be included in school curricula starting in 2017. That bill now requires Senate concurrence due to the House amendment. This bill will require the signature of Gov. John Bel Edwards, but Mizell said she believes he will support the bill.

Mizell said she was watching the governor sign a bill at a recent signing ceremony, and afterward, she complimented the governor on his signature.

“I complimented his cursive, and he stopped and he turned and he said, ‘I have to tell you, my eighth grade son didn’t learn to write cursive,’ so I think he’s pretty supportive,” said Mizell.

Generally, Mizell said legislators on both sides of the aisle have come together to support cursive. In addition, she said she’s heard a lot of public support, as well.

“I have I have had some really interesting emails from people who were really surprised that kids weren’t being taught cursive,” she said. “Someone yesterday in the chambers said, ‘You mean kids don’t have signatures?’ and I said, ‘No, they don’t have signatures because they’ve never learned to write cursive.’”

Mizell said she doesn’t know when that bill will get to the governor’s desk but state lawmakers will be working on Memorial Day to wrap up legislative business. The final day of the session is June 6 at 6 p.m., but immediately following the close of regular session, lawmakers will begin a new special session.

“When I understand is that we’ll be going into special session in the evening after regular session wraps up,” Mizell said.

The special session will tackle next year’s budget deficit.