Politics Column for Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bills presented
with a bit of humor

Legislators presenting their first bills withstood ribbing by their colleagues Tuesday.

The teasing was a sharp contrast to the tense debate over gun bills earlier in the day. The initiation process typically involves ridiculous questions.

State Rep. Bryan Adams, R-Terrytown, was up first with legislation delving into truck stop fuel sales disrupted by road construction.

Adams described the bill as cleanup legislation necessary to tie up ends left loose by an earlier proposal.

“Did someone in here make a mistake?” asked state Rep. Robert Billiot, D-Waggaman.

Adams said he was referring to a spill in front of a truck stop that he had to clean.

Next up was state Rep. Paul Hollis, who presented a bill involving school bus drivers and drunken driving arrests.

“Have you driven a school bus under the influence?” asked state Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell.

Hollis, R-Mandeville, said he has ridden but never driven a school bus, prompting questions about whether he was drunk when he rode the bus as a schoolboy.

“Is it true the wheels on the bus go round and round?” asked state Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans.

Hollis said they do.

Charity football game nets injuries

A charity football game last Sunday pitting House Democrats and Republicans against each other resulted in some legislators getting injured.

One of them — state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covingston — missed several days in the House as a result.

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said he called Schroder to check on him.

He said he assured Schroder that “the fourth floor did not have a bounty on him,” a reference to the Saints’ bounty-gate scandal.

The fourth floor of the State Capitol is home to the governor’s office.

Schroder is an outspoken critic of Jindal’s budget policies.

Another of those injured — state Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge — made it to session early in the week before he had Thursday surgery for an Achilles tendon injury.

The game raised money for the state’s military families.

AgCenter economist to address Press Club

John Westra, economist with the LSU AgCenter, will discuss the record-setting year in 2012 for Louisiana agriculture Monday at a Press Club of Baton Rouge meeting.

The agricultural economy reached $11.4 billion in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase over 2011.

The Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St. in downtown Baton Rouge. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Dardenne to hold news conference

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is hosting a news conference Tuesday announcing the 2012 UNO tourism impact study results, which show an increase in tourism activity setting new records for the industry.

Also appearing are Marion Fox, Louisiana Travel Promotion Association vice chairman; Cory Bahr, chef at Cotton restaurant in Monroe; and Dana Baker, executive director of Festival International de Louisiane.

The news conference will begin at 2 p.m., at the Capitol Park Museum.

Livingston Parish Republicans to meet

State Rep. Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, and Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey are the scheduled speakers for Wednesday’s Livingston Parish Republican Women meeting.

The meeting begins at 11:30 a.m. at Wholly Grounds, 27988 Walker S. Road, which is on Hwy 447 just north of I-12 in Walker.

There is a charge for lunch, reservations are required and may be made by contacting Terri Day at 931-9206 or email terriday@eatel.net.

Panel to discuss rise of partisan politics

Political experts explore the rise of partisan politics and what can be done to help create a better environment when “Overcoming Gridlock In A Partisan Environment” premieres Thursday at 7 p.m. on the six-channel Louisiana Public Broadcasting network

It airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, on WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans.

The program marks the tenth edition of the McLeod Lecture Series at McNeese State University.

Panelists include Stine Lumber CEO Dennis Stine, a former state representative and commissioner of administration during the Roemer administration; LSU professor Bob Mann, former communications director for Gov. Kathleen Blanco who also worked for Louisiana U.S. Sens. John Breaux, Bennett Johnston and Russell Long; and the Rev. Raymond Jetson, pastor at Star Hill Baptist Church in Baton Rouge who served 15 years in the Legislature.

LPB President/CEO Beth Courtney is the moderator for the discussion.

The McLeod Lecture Series was created in honor of former legislator and Judge Bill McLeod.

Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact address is cnb@theadvocate.com.