The Louisiana State Legislature sent a series of bills to Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday, Feb. 26, that would change the way state politicians and lobbyists interact, and also contained legislation that would make it a violation of state ethics rules for politicians to accept tickets to certain events.
Coming at the end of a special session to address ethics violations within the state political system, the bills propose new restrictions on what politicians would be able to accept as gifts from lobbyists, as well as placing more stringent guidelines on financial disclosure forms. Jindal heralded the special session a “home run, complete victory” during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Under the provisions of the bill affecting event tickets, state legislators and other elected officials would be barred from accepting tickets to professional sporting events, college athletic contests, and certain cultural events. The bill would also prohibit politicians from accepting free fishing and hunting trips, and free rounds of golf. However, politicians would still be able to accept tickets for events where the politician is a speaker or part of the event presentation.
The bill passed the state Senate without the latter provision, but was added upon reaching the state House of Representatives. Current Louisiana state law allows a lobbyist to spend $100 per event and $500 per year for tickets for each politician, both cultural and athletic. Under the new bill, Jindal would still have access to the governor’s box at the Superdome, something that has raised some questions among legislatures.
Recently, Texas State Rep. Phil King was accused of, and admitted to, accepting free tickets to the 2004 Super Bowl from a lobbyist., Jindal is expected to sign the Louisiana bill into law.