Sunday, February 13, 2005

No More Freebies for Lawmakers?

Following up a story we reported on earlier, a Baton Rouge Senator wants to abolish the ability of lobbyists to give legislators free tickets to sporting events. WAFB reports that “This comes after an editorial criticizing the practice by WAFB and a blistering report from the government watchdog group PAR. The issue has been brought up before, but recently New Orleans area Representative Charles Lancaster publicly said that the one-hundred-dollar limit imposed on gifts from lobbyists was just too low. Lancaster says ticket prices have risen so much since that limit was enforced, that the seats legislators can get for free just aren't good enough.

Republican State Senator Jay Dardenne of Baton Rouge has prefiled a bill for the upcoming regular session repealing the section of law that exempts sporting event tickets under $100 from the "things of value" legislators are prohibited from accepting from lobbyists. Dardenne said, "In the wake of recent discussion about raising the maximum amount of acceptable ticket values, I think it’s preferable to repeal this special perk for legislators all together. It’s appropriate in the context of education to be supportive of the No Child Left Behind Act, but in terms of attendance at athletic events, we certainly don’t need a No Legislator Left Behind Act."

The bill Senator Dardenne is filing for the 2005 session is a duplicate of one he filed last year. The 2004 version of the bill passed Senate committee, but died on the Senate floor. The 2005 Regular Session begins April 25. Since this will be a fiscal session, Senator Dardenne must use one of his five allotted non-fiscal bills on this issue.”

We will see if the full Senate gets how unseemly this is, their expectation of the best of everything on the nickel of lobbyists. They will squeal that they can’t be bought for a mere $100 game ticket, well let us remove the temptation. What do you think?


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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