Bond Bill Defeat Aims To Send A Signal To Jindal
by Ed Anderson - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
BATON ROUGE -- The House dealt an unexpected setback Friday to Gov. Bobby Jindal's spending plans, refusing to pass a routine bill that would allow the state to sell $500 million in bonds from last year and another $335 million in bonds proposed for this year.
House Bill 3 by Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, failed to get the 70-vote majority it needed, failing 62-24 with 19 lawmakers absent. Greene can bring the measure back next week for a second try. "It is all a process," he said.
The failure of the bill followed the 90-3 passage of Greene's House Bill 2, the state's five-year $5.365 billion capital construction budget, which contains $85 million in surplus money from last year to renovate the Superdome, part of the state's new agreement with the New Orleans Saints to keep the team in the state through 2025. The capital construction bill now goes to the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs for more debate.
Opponents of Greene's bond authorization bill -- a usually routine measure that draws little debate -- included four Republicans who normally vote with Jindal, one independent, and 19 Democrats. Many voting no have been critical of the cuts Jindal has made in higher education and health care. Others were unhappy because they could not maneuver money into the state's $5.3 billion construction bill for projects in their areas.
"He is running a train," LaFonta said of the way Jindal's bills have been moving through the Legislature so far. "We have to make a stand. We should not let one man think he can control the state . . . At the end of the day, this sends a clear message that the governor does not control this Legislature." "This should bring everybody back to the table" to talk about budget cuts and how revenue is being spent on both the capital construction bill and the state's $27 billion operating budget, said Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus. "This gives us some leverage on renegotiating."
Jindal's chief of staff Timmy Teepell, who watched the vote from the rear of the House chamber, also blamed the setback on the lack of attendance. "It is not a big deal," he said. "We are always happy to talk (to lawmakers about their concerns). "I don't think we will have any problem with it next week."
Picture: Jindal's chief of staff Timmy Teepell