Leslie Turk

Where's Bobby?

by Leslie Turk

Although it only took him half a year to set a record for allowing legislation to become law without his signature -- strange move for any "leader" of a state -- Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Sunday that he actually vetoed two bills designed to allow exceptions to state ethics laws. Jindal vetoed House Bill 278, which would have created an exception to the limitation on food, drink and refreshment for public servants attending an "event related to recruitment, fundraising or philanthropic activities by or on behalf of an agency or for the benefit of an agency or its programs, activities or mission.”

The bill was sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part.

Jindal also shot down House Bill 947 by Republican state Rep. Nita Hutter of Chalmette, which would have allowed a public servant to accept complimentary admission to a fundraising event held for the benefit of certain educational institutions or programs, excluding professional, semi-professional or collegiate sporting events.

“I do not see the need to create this exception,” Jindal said in announcing each veto.

Now if we could just determine what he thinks about all of the other legislation that has been piling up on his desk, 90 pieces becoming law without his signature so far — more than any other governors, combined, dating back to at least 1990. His closest competitor is his mentor, former GOP Gov. Mike Foster, who was a spectator on 47 bills during his eight years. The Advocate reported that former Govs. Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards took action on nearly every piece of legislation that hit their desks — signing or vetoing all but a handful of bills into law. Since 1990, The Advocate reports, Edwards and Blanco let one bill each become law and Roemer three without signatures. Once a bill reaches the governor's desk it becomes law, unless vetoed, after 10 days during a legislative session. After the session adjourns, the time limit is extended to 20 days.

True to form, Jindal says he will not veto the exorbitant legislative pay raise bill. The regular session ends today.