Jindal: State shouldn’t tell people how to care for pets

Citing concerns about creating a nanny state, Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed legislation Friday that would have prohibited dogs from riding loose in pickup truck beds on interstate highways.

“(The bill) would place a significant burden on our citizens, particularly those who reside in rural areas, while providing questionable benefit to their pets. The bill’s broad definition of the criterion by which a dog must be crated has rightly caused concern to Louisiana sportsmen and farmers for being overly broad,” Jindal wrote.

House Bill 1091 sought to require dogs be secured instead of riding loose in a truck bed on an interstate highway. It was the second year in a row the Legislature tackled the bill.

The Louisiana SPCA expressed disappointment in the governor’s decision.

“Animal safety is an important issue and this bill was a great opportunity for Louisiana to take a step forward. The Louisiana SPCA is disappointed that Governor Bobby Jindal made the decision to veto the bill after it passed by a large margin,” Ana Zorrilla, Louisiana SPCA CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Under HB1091, motorists would have faced fines for failing to secure their dogs. The fine for one unsecured dog would have been a maximum $150. Additional unsecured dogs would have cost motorists an extra $50 each.

The bill defined safe, humane transport as an enclosed container, crate, kennel or cage, an adequate restraint system or a ventilated top for the pickup bed.

Louisiana Farm Bureau and Louisiana Sportsmen’s Alliance apparently opposed the bill. Several legislators also objected, saying their constituents would be upset by the prohibition.

Also Friday, Jindal announced signing two bills targeting uninsured drivers. But only one of the bills actually becomes state law.

State Rep. Kirk Talbot’s House Bill 851 died the minute Jindal signed state Rep. Barry Ivey’s House Bill 872. Both bills address the same area of law. Ivey’s bill now becomes the latest expression of law by the Legislature, shoving to the side the bill by Talbot, R-River Ridge.

The governor could have vetoed Talbot’s bill. He decided against sullying Talbot’s record with a veto. Talbot has been a friend to the Jindal administration.

Ivey’s bill slaps uninsured drivers with an additional $53 million in fees. The money will help set up a database that will allow law enforcement to immediately determine whether a motorist has auto insurance. Other dollars will boost State Police’s pay scale.

Talbot’s legislation also aimed to increase the penalties for uninsured drivers. His fee hikes conflicted with Ivey’s increases.

“It all worked out in the end,” Talbot said.

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