The state Senate approved legislation Friday that would nearly quadruple a modest fee charged annually to inspect drinking water.
The $3.20 administration fee for the Safe Drinking Water Program would increase to $12 under House Bill 995, which the Senate approved on a vote of 26-10.
Two small amendments — one sets a Jan. 1 start date for the legislation, which was inadvertently left off the bill, and the other spells out a symbol — need the consent of the House. But then the legislation goes to the governor.
The revenue raised from the fee increase would fund up to 40 sanitarian positions at the Louisiana Department of Health (the new name for the Department of Health and Hospitals) and help the state comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Sen. Fred Mills, the Parks Republican who handled the legislation in the Senate for the HB995’s sponsor, Rep. Sam Jones, R-Franklin, noted that Louisiana has hundreds of small municipal water companies juggling aged systems.