SLU Pundit

The weblog of Kevin Boyd, a student at Southeastern Louisiana University

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

More of what's wrong with Louisiana

This article detailing the bills Governor Blanco have signed and vetoed gives some idea into what's wrong with Louisiana.

First up, the river pilot bill:

As expected, Blanco signed into law HB 1708 by Rep. Gil Pinac, D-Crowley, that creates a new structure for setting rates for river pilot services and provides oversight of some pilot functions.

Pinac's bill, which goes into effect Jan. 1, lets the four existing pilot groups continue to operate monopolies for their services on separate segments of the Mississippi and Calcasieu rivers but gives a new fee commission authority to re-evaluate the rates pilots charge, the number of pilots needed and pilot pay. Industry groups and pilots will have equal representation on the fee commission. The governor will have a major influence on the direction of the commission through the appointment of three independent members for the panel.

In other words, the river pilots can continue to screw Louisiana businesses at will. The socialistic premise of the river pilots program remains intact. Furthermore, this opens the doors to even more corruption and extortion type pay raise agreements. The most troubling part about this new commission is the new gubernatorial appointees. Again, leading on reform has not been a Blanco strong suit.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana state legislature found time to be mommy and daddy for Louisiana's parents:

Blanco also signed HB 1580 by Rep. Ernest Baylor, D-Shreveport, prohibiting street sports that block driveways, tie up traffic or create "a hazard to public safety." Baylor's bill, which goes into effect Aug. 15, allows games to be played in streets if a local government authorizes it, closes a street and issues a permit for the games.

The new law is experimental and goes off the books on July 1, 2005, unless extended by lawmakers.

Violators can be fined $25 and held responsible for court costs. If a minor is involved, a parent or guardian is held responsible.

Blanco also signed a bill whose premise is silly. It criminalizes a previously legal activity under state law, however Louisiana parishes and towns can make it legal if they want.

Blanco also signed into law, effective Aug. 15, HB 1260 by Rep. Donald Cazayoux, D-New Roads, giving parish or town councils the power to authorize riding mini-motor scooters on sidewalks during daylight hours at speeds up to 20 mph and by riders who are at least 8 years old.

Without council approval, the scooters are banned from sidewalks and streets. The bill also mandates businesses that rent or sell the scooters to post signs informing customers that state law requires operators up to age 18 to wear helmets.

How about saving the ink and paper and just letting the parish and town councils decide this issue entirely? But I forget, this is Louisiana.

Finally, in Louisiana, some of the best bills are vetoed. Here's an example:

-- HB 1605 By Rep. William Daniel IV, D-Baton Rouge, to let minor-party candidates be listed on the ballot with their party affiliation if the party has at least 1,000 registered voters in the state or their national candidate received at least 5 percent of the Louisiana vote in the previous presidential race.

Anything to save Louisiana's Third World election system, right Blanco?


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