Independent designation bill advances

Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that state senators refused Tuesday and advanced a bill that would allow candidates to identify themselves as “independent.”

The House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs recommended, House Bill 193 for consideration by the full House.

Current law requires voters who consider themselves as “independent” of a political party’s philosophy to register as “no party.” Independent is the part of the name of several different political parties and carries a designation that not all unaffiliated voters may want to adhere, testified First Assistant Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.

About 660,000 voters are registered without party affiliation, Ardoin said. Of that number about 41,000 checked that they didn’t want to be identified with a political party wrote “independent” or something approximating that term.

State Rep. Dee Richard, No Party-Thibodaux, said he sponsored HB193 because he preferred being known as an “independent.”

The committee reported without objection the legislation favorably for consideration by the full House.

The House committee vote came the day after the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee deadlocked on a 4-4 vote on a similar proposal, Senate Bill 60.