Friday, January 27, 2006
On Thursday, the House passed a bill (HB1318) that will allow the Legislature to monitor how the $5 billion in Katrina CDBG funds is spent. It doesn't give us veto power, just a say-so for accountability sake. The governor has let out RFPs for the $200 million contract to manage the fund and has stopped taking bids as of this past Monday. Didn't hear about that? Don't worry, the governor's friends did, and they got their bids in on time. Hopefully, the Senate will pass this bill, so we can tell the world, who got the contract and how they plan on spending it. The catch: the governor has to sign off on it, which early indications say he isn't.
Meanwhile, I was successful in getting an amendment passed on a bill (HB 192) that will make sex offenders have to wear GPS bracelets once they are out of jail. My amendment would make it a misdemeanor to house a known sex offender in a home where children are present. As the deadline approaches to get bills out of their respective committees, a number of my bills will surely die, but surprisingly, a number of bills that have faced a similar fate in the past seem to have life this year. Once they get out of committee, I will give you updates on how they fared on the floor. So next week will be a big one as far as what bills make the cut in becoming the stories of this session. Also, as a footnote, Richard Hall, of the failed cull cow beef plant, plea bargained a deal to be guilty of a charge of mail fraud and money laundering. Look for some names to be dropped before the end of session. Spell will not be one of them, since he defected to the GOP. Odds are that Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston, will be the main one in the hot seat, if anyone, but if something substantial were already there on him or others implicated by the C-L, Auditor Bryant would have already let that cat out of the bag. The worst place to keep a secret is in your state capitol.