Governor Bobby Jindal's special legislative session for ethics reform seems to have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but that was to be expected. The good news is that questions, criticisms and debates appear to be honest and healthy.
All manner of "what if's" and threats of what might happen, are being aired. We were very concerned to learn that some reform measures could strangle ethics reform, such as allowing settlement deals to be worked out for state officials behind closed ethics board doors without public charges being issues. We are pleased to hear this bill will be revisited, but for now is dead for this session.
Another sticking point that has come to light is not only the legislator perk of free tickets to sporting events, but even the access to purchasing those tickets; no other way to view that than a perk that has a financial benefit. It is those types of issues and perks that should and must come to an end.At this early point in the session, we are encouraged and are cautiously optimistic. Governor Jindal has told us he expects the reform effort to be difficult. He expects criticism and a difference of opinions. He has asked us all, legislators and citizens to be bold, and bold may be what finally carries the day.