Senator’s brother gets exception

Former state Sen. Francis Heitmeier, of New Orleans, would get a special exception to lobby the Louisiana Legislature while his brother is a member under legislation approved Tuesday by the House.

Heitmeier’s brother, David is a member of the Louisiana Senate.

State Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans, said similar instances were approved in the past in which immediate family members of legislators have been allowed to lobby without violating conflict of interest laws.

House Bill 459 does not name Francis Heitmeier but instead inserts language designed to only apply to him. It states “the immediate family member was a registered lobbyist ....for at least one year prior to Jan. 9, 2012.”

State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, asked Arnold who the bill was helping?

Arnold said former Sen. Heitmeier.

Heitmeier is a lobbyist for the New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, according the state ethics agency.

The House voted 58-24 for the measure which now heads to the Senate for debate.