A failed effort in the Louisiana Legislature sought to
provide additional protections for consumers from being gouged at the fuel
Sponsored by Sen. Francis Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, the bill
remained in the House Criminal Justice Committee when the session ended June
19, effectively killing it for the year. The Senate previously approved the
bill by unanimous consent.
Louisiana currently imposes civil fines on merchants who
overcharge for goods and services, including fuel, during or in the wake of a
The bill – SB502 – would have criminalized price gouging and
made it punishable by up to two years in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine. Those
who simply attempt to gouge customers could have been fined as much as $500
and/or spent as much as six months in jail.
Merchants would have been permitted to increase prices if
the mark up is consistent with similar goods and services outside the state.
They would also have been allowed to cover the cost of getting items in preparation
for or after a disaster.
Merchants would not have been able to charge a price that “grossly exceeds the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and
services” during or before the disaster.
The rule would have taken effect during an emergency
declared by the governor or a local official. It also would have taken effect
when a named tropical storm or hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico.
Another failed effort sought to keep clocks in Louisiana on daylight-saving time year-round has died.
The House voted 61-37 to reject a bill – HB94 – that would
have required a permanent spring forward March 11, 2007, at 2 a.m. It would
have made Louisiana the only state in the country to not observe standard time.
Arizona and Hawaii do not
participate in daylight-saving time.
Supporters said the bill would promote economic development
in the wake of hurricane cleanup. Others said an additional hour
of daylight in the evening would save energy, allow adults to commute more
safely, reduce crime and protect children.