Walter Pierce

LABI grades solons

by Walter Pierce

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has released a report card for Louisiana lawmakers, determined by their votes on bills and amendments related mainly to business. LABI prefaces its report: “On balance, Louisiana moved incrementally toward a more favorable business environment this session, but there is still a long way to go.” The association rated lawmakers on their votes on bills ranging from rules regarding lawsuits stemming from hazardous-material exposure to school board reform — bills which LABI took a position on and lobbied for or against.

Lawmakers’ grades are based on the frequency by which they voted in accordance with LABI’s position on legislation. As expected, Republicans trend toward more favorable grades while Democrats tended to vote less frequently with the business association. However, that is not always the case. In the report, lawmakers are given separate grades for 2008 and 2009 as well as a cumulative grade for both years.

In the House, Lafayette representatives had a wide margin of cumulative scores. Independent Joel Robideaux scored highest with an 81, followed by Republican Page Cortez at 78. Democrat Rickey Hardy follows with a 65, while freshman Republican Nancy Landry received a 63. (Landry’s score is based only on the 2009 regular session; she was elected in November 2008 to replace Don Trahan, who resigned from the Legislature to take a job with the state Department of Education.)

In the Senate, Lafayette’s elder statesman, Mike Michot, scored a 91 — third best, from LABI’s perspective, among state senators. Elbert Guillory, who moved from the House to the Senate between the 2008 and 2009 sessions and whose score reflects his voting record in both chambers, received a cumulative score of 80 — tenth best among all senators and third best among Democrats.