Capital outlay bill OK’d by Senate

The state Senate advanced a state construction budget Saturday morning that contains $300 million more in projects than the state can afford.

House Bill 2, the capital outlay spending plan, also now calls for the Legislative Auditor’s Office to take control of a lot next to the State Capitol that used to house the state Insurance Department.

The Senate voted 39-0 in favor of sending the bill back to the House for concurrence on the changes.

Gov. Bobby Jindal wanted to sell the old insurance lot, which now is used as a parking garage.

Amendments offered on the Senate floor would take $3 million from the Legislative Capitol Technology Enhancement Fund for the design, planning, construction and demolition of the garage. The Legislative Auditor’s Office has long wanted to move out of cramped quarters in the appellate court building.

State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, deflected a question on whether the Jindal administration agreed to the amendment.

“It’s a legislative act. It’s from the Legislature,” he said.