Small town restrictions lifted

A new exception to the state ethics code is nearing final passage, but faces an uncertain future if it reaches Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk.

The House and Governmental Affairs agreed without objection Wednesday to the proposal by state Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish that would allow local governing officials in a town with 5,000 residents or less to do business with people who have contracts with the town.

Morrish, R-Jennings, said small communities have trouble finding people to serve in office because of current restrictions. But Jindal has vetoed the bill for the last two years, saying he saw no reason for the exception.

“I don’t know if it’s the third time is the charm of three strikes and you’re out,” Morrish told the House committee.

Senate Bill 122 includes new language that would restrict compensation from the contractual relationship to $10,000 or less per year in the hopes of winning passage from Jindal this time. The money would have to be reported to the state ethics board.

The measure moves to the House floor for consideration. It already has received Senate approval.