When Vitter surfaced this session

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

“I didn’t pull the bill because of David Vitter,” says state Rep. Jack Montoucet. “I did it because it was the right thing to do.”


In the past, U.S. Sen. David Vitter could be counted on to become an outside player in any given session, inserting his opinions through press releases and personal appearances. But as a candidate for governor, Vitter seemed to steer clear of the 2015 session.

Except, that is, during the session’s final days earlier this month when lawmakers attempted to advance HCR 15 by Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley, to suspend for one year all of the state’s sales tax holidays.

When the resolution was brought up in the Senate on June 6, when it was returned to the calendar at the author’s request, senators started pointing out the influence Vitter was throwing around on the issue. In particular, Vitter wanted senators to protect the state’s Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday for firearm purchases.

Vitter sent an email to lawmakers, writing that the resolution “would likely have a very dramatic negative impact on Louisiana gun and sportsmen stores in particular with very little additional revenue produced from the suspension of that particular sales tax holiday.”

The timing is worth nothing. Vitter held a campaign event with Gun Owners of America in north Louisiana just days prior to the Senate floor hearing. A campaign spokesman said the issue was brought to the senator’s attention while touring local gun shops in conjunction with the event.

Montoucet said he saw the merit in Vitter’s argument, but made the decision on his own.

“I didn’t pull the bill because of David Vitter,” said Montoucet. “I did it because it was the right thing to do.”