St. Charles Herald-Guide

Jindalís lap dogs donít bite

C.B. Forgotston - September 21, 2012

Recently, various members of the lege have been whining about Bobby Jindal closing hospitals and prisons in their districts.

When the leges donít want to offend Jindal, but want their constituents to believe they are really trying hard, they blame the problem on others.

Ö Rep. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville, recently told [Southeast Louisiana] hospital supporters that the area delegation had "run the numbers" and determined it just didnít have enough support in the Legislature to seek a special session to try and block the closure. Times Picayune, September 17, 2012.

Perhaps if they "ran the numbers" only for Southeast Louisiana Hospital, they didnít find the majority necessary to call themselves into a special session. However, if Burns, et al., had checked with all of the leges about the issues in their individual areas there would be more than a majority to call themselves into session.

The question is not whether the constituents in the affected areas want the leges to call themselves into a special session to determine a better way to allocate our money. The question is whether a majority of the leges have the guts to defy Jindal.

Jindal is betting that his "lapdogs" wonít bite their master. If the last four and a half years are any indication, Bobby wonít have to take rabies shots anytime soon.

On the road again

For those who thought that after losing out on being the Republican V.P. nominee Bobby Jindal would spend some time in Louisiana, let me disabuse you of that notion.

Despite thousands of people in our state still suffering from Hurricane Isaac and what appears to be a growing healthcare crisis, yesterday morning Bobby was in New Hampshire campaigning for President in 2016 (or 2020).

The story points out that unlike Bobby, Gov. Chris Christie is on the road campaigning for Mitt Romney who has an election on Nov. 6.

This latest Jindal out-of-state trip gives rise to speculation about Bobbyís future:

1) Bobby will not be offered a cabinet post should Romney win.

2) Bobby does not plan to run against Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.

3)Bobby believes Romney will not win in November or he is getting a very early start on the 2020 Presidential election.

One thing that is clear ó Bobby remains focused on Bobby.

Trying to fix whatís not broken

Having drafted more than a few pieces of legislation in my career I find myself in a very unusual situation.

Weíve all heard the saying: "If it ainít broke donít fix it." Well, fixing something thatís not broken is exactly my task.

The state Office of Motor Vehicles has determined that Carol Steckel, a top bureaucrat at DHH, is not required to register her personal vehicle in Louisiana or possess a Louisiana driverís license because she maintains a residence in Alabama.

Steckel began her job in Louisiana in November of 2010.

Steckel works daily in Baton Rouge in a state office building. It is assumed that she works at least 20 hours per week.

For the purposes of registering her personal vehicle in Louisiana, Steckel is considered a "resident."

She cannot claim to be a "non-resident." Under LA R.S. 47: LA 47:451(25) she is precluded because her occupation Ö requires [her] to spend one-half or more of [her] working hours in this state in pursuance of [her] Ö employment.

In other words, Steckel must obey the laws of Louisiana just like the rest of us who live here.

Sen. Rick Gallot and Rep. John Bel Edwards have offered to introduce corrective legislation in their respective bodies to make sure the law applies to Steckel just like it does to us.

Should the law be amended to say: "This law specifically applies to any Director of Health Reform Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals who maintains a residence in Alabama"?

Suggestions would be appreciated.