Much is said about perception, especially when it comes to corruption and ethics in our state. Governor Bobby Jindal, as we all know, is trying to do something about the reality of corruption and ethics. But along with that goes the perception of corruption and ethics. Legislators have been getting free tickets to sporting and cultural event for a long time. That has led to the perception of legislators being influenced and or bought by lobbyists who want their vote. The state Senate voted 39-0 to ban the practice of free tickets for all elected officials. You could probably describe this as a history-making moment in Louisiana. The free ticket ban is huge. It could change perception.
But we don't think it will, because at the same time, the Senate failed to ban special access to buy the big tickets, those set aside for the championship games, the really big events that many of us, perhaps most of us, could never even get a chance to purchase. The elected officials purchase these special access tickets, but the access is what it's all about. It's the reality that will keep alive the perception of legislators and other state elected officials as the upper class, somehow more privileged and more important than the rest of us. Tickets will be put aside for them, hand-delivered for them, and even sold by them if they choose to take the cash. These two issues, free tickets and special access, go hand-in-hand. To be bold, as Governor Jindal entreats us, is to ban both freebies and special access. We'd like to see it happen before this session ends. Call your legislator and let them know how you feel on the issue.