[StBernard] Jindal veto cites deterrent factor

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Mar 13 18:36:09 EDT 2008

Jindal veto cites deterrent factor
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Mar 13, 2008 - Page: 4A - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed the first bill of his administration Wednesday,
saying one of its provisions could deter the filing of ethics complaints.

Rep. Herbert Dixon, D-Alexandria, called the veto of his House Bill 90

Dixon said he would refile the legislation for consideration in the regular
legislative session which begins March 31.

Dixon said it would not contain the provision that Rep. Nita Hutter,
R-Chalmette, got the House to add to his bill that Jindal didn't like.
Dixon wanted to require the Louisiana Board of Ethics to disclose more
information to an individual accused of misconduct once the board has
decided to pursue formal charges.

Hutter's amendment would have required the board to further disclose the
"name of any complainant and the name of any other person providing
information that the board has considered."

When Hutter proposed the language, she said "I think it will eliminate
frivolous complaints."

Jindal said Hutter's addition stepped over the line.

"While I understand and support the right of an accused public servant to
defend him/herself from formal charges, I am concerned that portions of the
bill would have the unintended consequences of potentially impeding
legitimate complaints," Jindal wrote in his veto message.

Dixon said the administration advised him that the veto was coming.

Dixon, a former Rapides Parish School Board member, was the subject of an
ethics investigation. During House floor debate on the bill, Dixon said he
wanted "to make sure there's due process that's fair and equitable."

Under HB90, the Ethics Board would have had to send a detailed explanation
of the matter including the specific factual allegation that the board made
its decision to investigate.

The board would also have had to cite the law alleged to have been violated;
the meeting at which the board voted to issue charges; and also consider
offering a consent opinion to settle cases prior to them going to hearing.

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