Dardenne: Ad needs to MoveOn

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne wants a pro-Medicaid expansion group to stop using the state’s tourism marketing slogan in its billboard campaign.

Dardenne said a cease-and-desist notice will be delivered Thursday to those behind the MoveOn group’s billboard, which plays on the state’s “Pick Your Passion” tourism message.

“It’s a registered trade service in Louisiana for our department,” Dardenne said Wednesday.

“We have invested too much time and money to create a positive message to promote Louisiana,” Dardenne said.

“I’m not going to let partisan Washington politics infringe on the brand we have created to market our state,” he said.

The new billboard funded by MoveOn members is on Interstate 10, outside of Baton Rouge.

It incorporates the state’s tourism promotion theme as it criticizes Gov. Bobby Jindal for refusing to expand Medicaid.

“No matter what side of the issue you are on, it confuses the issue,” Dardenne said. “We think it’s going to create confusion that we are the ones calling on the governor to take that action.”

MoveOn members launched a campaign in Louisiana this week to put pressure on Jindal, who has steadfastly opposed state participation in the federally authorized Medicaid expansion.

Under it, Louisiana residents would get government health insurance coverage if their income is up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The federal government pays 100 percent of the expansion costs the first three years and no less than 90 percent in the years thereafter.

Jindal said he does not want to build on a broken Medicaid system and that it will be too costly in future years.

The ad states: “Louisiana! Pick your passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal is denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”

Dardenne said the same typeface is used in the state’s “Pick Your Passion” ad and the MoveOn ad.

The only difference is the MoveOn version substitutes an exclamation point for one “i” in the word “Louisiana,” while the state’s ad substitutes both “i’s” with exclamation points.

More than 5,400 MoveOn members from Louisiana have signed a petition to the governor urging him to support Medicaid expansion.

MoveOn.org describes itself as a community of more than 8 million Americans from all walks of life who are using innovative technology to lead, participate in and win campaigns for progressive change.

A request for comment placed through MoveOn media contact Brett Abrams was not returned late Wednesday.