- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A resolution calling for a states’ convention that could alter the U.S. Constitution was shot down by a Senate committee Tuesday amid fear it would create a “nightmare” that could dramatically change the country’s primary legal document.

The resolution brought by Rep. Ray Garofalo, R Chalmette, previously passed the House, but was voted down by the Senate legal committee, 4-3.

Garofalo said he brought the measure (House Concurrent Resolution 2) because the federal government is “spending our children’s money and our grandchildren’s money for generations to come with no restraint at all.”

If approved, the resolution would signal Louisiana’s willingness to participate in a convention of states, to deliberate on amending the Constitution to limit federal power, impose federal spending restraints and enact term limits for federal officials.

Four other states have passed similar resolutions, Garofalo said. He said the Constitution could be amended if 34 states agree, a convention is held and three-fourths of U.S. states ratify proposed changes.

Constitutional scholars disagree over whether the proposal could be implemented. The measure drew opposition from conservatives and liberals alike who suggested it could turn into a free-for-all, threatening existing rights and protections.

“It would be a nightmare,” said Sandy McDade of the conservative Eagle Forum. “There’s no way to know what would happen.”

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, questioned why a state lawmaker was concerned with federal issues when the Legislature is approaching the end of its regular session without a budget agreement in place.

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A measure that will allow farmers to use drones as long as they get an operator’s license received final legislative passage with a 39-0 Senate vote Tuesday.

Anyone who wants to get a three-year farm drone license will have to take a safety class, and drone use will be restricted to the confines of one’s property.

Louisiana’s agriculture commissioner will be given authority to monitor drone use for farming. The state will be able to issue a fine up to $500 to anyone who uses a drone without a license or violates the rules.

The bill (Senate Bill 183) by Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, moves next to the governor’s desk.

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Lawmakers on the House ethics committee agreed Tuesday that volunteers for minor boards and commissions shouldn’t have to follow state ethics rules that require the annual disclosure of financial information.

A proposal (Senate Bill 87) by Sen. Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan, nearing final passage would give an exemption to people who don’t receive compensation or per diem for their service and who serve on a board that doesn’t have the authority to spend more than $50,000 a year.

The current law, Perry said, discourages people from wanting to volunteer for small museum and library boards. He mentioned a constituent who served on a local board and faced a hefty fine from the state ethics board for not filing the financial disclosure.

“As a true volunteer, this constituent can’t afford $20, much less a $1,500 fine,” he said.

The Senate-backed bill received support without objection from the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. It heads next to the full House for consideration.

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Online:

Louisiana Legislature: www.legis.la.gov

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