Transparency bill deferred by panel

State senators sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration Wednesday and killed a House-backed bill that sought to protect public employees from punishment for giving information to state lawmakers.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee deferred House Bill 387 by state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, without objection and with little discussion.

The Louisiana House had unanimously agreed to the measure.

Schroder said he wanted to allow for a free flow of information to lawmakers. He said he’s heard concerns from state workers about reprisals for talking to lawmakers about the inner workings of state agencies.

The Jindal administration, which didn’t testify in Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing, had previously argued HB387 was too broad and could create unintended consequences that would limit the ability of agency leaders to manage their departments.

“I’m concerned about too broad of a statement, shooting a fly with a shotgun,” said state Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe.

State Sen. Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, made the motion to defer, with little explanation.

The legislation comes after some state officials who disagreed with the Jindal administration lost their positions and as lawmakers have said they’ve had difficulty getting information from agencies.