This is crunch time at the Louisiana state legislature. Bills that are not heard this week must resort to difficult parliamentary manipulations and many good, godly legislators are acutely aware of such.
This week there is an important hearing occurs in the House Ways and Means committee. Up for a discussion is the modifying of tax exemption for churches and nonprofits in New Orleans. HB 463, HB 473, and HB 484 are a package of bills that establish a procedure for charging ad valorem taxes on church and nonprofit property. There is “exclusive use” language in the bill but the big question is unanswered. Who determines what “exclusive use” looks like?
I know this is for New Orleans, but once the camel’s nose gets under the tent, it creates all kinds of havoc for others. The best choice is for the state or municipality not to determine what the purpose of a church’s ministry looks like. They would be well served to leave the Constitutionally guaranteed exemption in place and allow our churches and nonprofits to fulfill their mission goals as creatively has they see fit.
Several other important bills are up for discussion this week including HB 636 by Hoffmann “Signs of Hope” in the Senate Health and Welfare and HB 588 by Rep. Hoffmann, positive modifications to the textbook adoption process in the House Education.
While this is week is packed with plenty of legislative activity, next week is already loaded too. There are some important bills including Rep. LaBruzzo’s personhood bill scheduled for floor discussion on Monday, June 6. This bill is simple. It legally identifies the conceived child as a person. There are problems with this bill. While we are all about saving every life, this prolife bill is like the long touchdown pass to the end zone. There are some great risks. The challenge is that those opposed to the prolife movement are excited for the bill’s passage because they believe the courts will strike it and along with it other regulatory measures. Consequently, it sets us back rather than moving forward. Pray our legislators are wise and prudent.