Legislator to rework jury bill

Advocate staff photo by MARSHA SHULER -- Senators Jody Amedee, left,  Jean-Paul J. Morrell, center, Bob Kostelka talk during a break at the committee meeting. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by MARSHA SHULER -- Senators Jody Amedee, left, Jean-Paul J. Morrell, center, Bob Kostelka talk during a break at the committee meeting.

A Senate panel sent a legislator back to the drawing board Tuesday on legislation attempting to exempt information dealing with jury selection from public records.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee deferred action on Senate Bill 353 sponsored by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Shreveport.

Peacock and Caddo District Court Judge Brady O’Callaghan, of Shreveport, said the legislation will shield from the public personal information prospective jurors share on questionaires.

O’Callaghan said jurors are concerned personal information such as medical problems, religious preference, whether they have been a victim of crime or whether a relative has committed a crime would become public.

Committee Chairman Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, said he is OK with the intent of the legislation. He said he agreed the questionaires should not be made public.But, Amedee said, “I think this bill goes a little further than that. It’s too broad.”

SB353, as written, would have exempted from public view “any records or other information pertaining to selection or service of any grand or petite jury and any personal information of any citizen called for service.”

Peacock encouraged the committee to approve the bill and said he would work on changes that could be adopted when the bill hits the Senate floor.

“We’d rather do it before it gets out of committee,” said Amedee.

Peacock said he’d work on changes to make the legislation more agreeable to the committee.

Alario wins award

Senate President John Alario was the first recipient of a new award from an association of blind vendors for efforts to increase awareness about the state’s visually-impaired population.

Alario, R-Westwego, was given the Ullo Cane on Tuesday from the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of Louisiana, a nonprofit that represents Louisiana’s blind concession stand managers who operate facilities on federal and state property.

The award was named to honor former Sen. Chris Ullo, who helped create a trust fund for the blind vendors in state law.