15 October 2007

the rino mike strain voting record

this morning we received, unsolicited, the below email concerning state agriculture commissioner candidate and apparent fake republican mike strain:

wst... note we support wayne carter for agriculture commissioner.

thought you might find this research interesting:

STRAINge Record (for a Republican)

· voted to protect legislative slush funds[1];

· voted several times to expand gambling in Louisiana[2];

· voted to allow bars and video poker within 500 feet of a church, library or school[3];

· voted to make it easier to break-up families through expedited divorce proceedings[4];

· voted against lowering the legal blood alcohol level while driving from 0.08% to 0.05%[5];

· voted to allow thousands of convenience stores to operate Drive-thru daiquiri stands[6];

· voted against an education tax credit for elementary and secondary school children.[7]

· voted against school children reciting the Declaration of Independence[8];

· sponsored bills to impose an additional tax on RV owners[9] and dairy farmers[10];

· voted for over $2 billion in tax increases[11],

· voted for the Stelly Tax;

· voted against attempts to reduce frivolous lawsuits[12];

· voted against improved public bid laws[13];

· voted to delay levee board reform[14];

· voted for ethanol mandate[15];

· voted to delay the ban on cockfighting.

Bob Builds, Strain Finances

Bob Odom has used financing bonded from the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority for construction projects all over the state. These projects have come under fire for, among other things, using state employees as construction workers. Representative Strain has promised to end this practice, which is an interesting pledge from the man who made it possible.

In 2003, Representative Strain cosponsored legislation to expand the powers of the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority and make it possible for Bob Odom to use this source of revenue to finance his construction projects. House Bill 1413 (2003) was a bill to provide for authority of the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority to acquire, construct, renovate, and equip certain buildings. Previously, this money could only be used to construct a single headquarters building, but by removing a few key words HB 1413 (and its duplicate bill SB 707) expanded this authority to allow for the construction of any buildings related to the purposes of agriculture. HB 1413 was cosponsored by Representative Strain.

$train’s $ticker $lush Fund for Odom

Every time you see a Bob Odom sticker on a gas pump, cash register, or scale, remember that Strain cosponsored the bill to double the money Odom made off each sticker and place the money under the direct control of Bob Odom.

Strain co-sponsored and voted for HB 1362 (2003) which increased the registration “fee for commercial weighing and measuring devices and creates the Weights and Measures Fund. This takes all the “fees” that businesses pay for weight measuring devices (grocery store scales, etc), increases those “fees” significantly (more than doubles the fee for small scales), then it creates a special fund under the control of Bob Odom. This fund was estimated to generate $579,940 annually and would be placed into a special fund under the control of Odom.

· Fiscal Note: http://www.legis.state.la.us/leg_docs/03RS/CVT1/OUT/FN020891.PDF

· Vote on Passage: http://www.legis.state.la.us/leg_docs/03RS/CVT4/OUT/0000K9DO.PDF

· Final Text of Bill: http://www.legis.state.la.us/leg_docs/03RS/CVT3/OUT/0000KIVS.PDF

The funds available for use by Odom under this dedicated fee since Strain co-sponsored the creation of the fund:

· FY 2007-08 Weights & Measures Fund $ 1,526,456

· FY 2006-07 Weights & Measures Fund $ 1,507,499

· FY 2005-06 Weights & Measures Fund $ 1,586,841

· FY 2004-05 Weights & Measures Fund $ 1,773,668

Strain Dedicates this Fund to Bob Odom

In addition to the Weights and Measures Fund that was co-sponsored by Representative Strain, Commissioner Odom enjoys the fruits of several other “Dedicated Funds” which generate revenue from fees that were increased by the Legislature and set aside for use by the Commissioner Odom.

Representative Strain Co-sponsored legislation to increase the fees on the following fees (last year’s revenue from these fees is in parentheses):

Agricultural Commodity Dealers & Warehouse Fund[16] ($ 1,220,336)
Apiary Fund
[17] ($ 2,000)
Commercial Feed Fund
[18] ($ 471,273)
Crop Pests & Diseases Fund
[19] ($ 80,000)
Feed Commission Fund
[20] ($ 194,706)
Fertilizer Commission Fund
[21] ($ 407,006)
Horticulture Commission Fund
[22] ($ 832,740)
Livestock Brand Commission Fund
[23] ($ 10,470)
Pesticide Fund
[24] ($ 3,858,223)
Petroleum & Petroleum Products Fund
[25] ($ 4,600,000)
Seed Commission Fund
[26] ($ 258,038)
Sweet Potato Pests & Diseases Fund[27] ($ 309,093)
Weights & Measures Fund
[28] ($ 1,526,456)

Bob Odom’s Dairy “Fee”:

Times-Picayune May 4, 2004 – “Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom on Monday endorsed legislation that would generate an estimated $7.5 million per year from a new fee on wholesale dairy products that he would use for new inspections and to promote the state's declining dairy industry. Opposed by many grocers, the bill also would let Odom enforce price parameters if he determines milk prices are too high or too low. House Bill 1269 by Rep. Michael Strain, R-Covington, would create the Dairy Development Fund financed with a 1.35 percent fee on all milk and dairy products sold or offered for sale by wholesalers and distributors of milk products to retailers. The commissioner of agriculture would write the regulations controlling the fund and determine how the money would be spent.”

Legislative Slush Funds:

April 23, 2003, the Time-Pic quoted Strain defending parliamentary tactics used to maintain the legislative slush funds: “Rep. Michael Strain, R-Covington, offered no apologies for taking the unusual step of asking that the bill be referred to the Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee. "Everything is permissible under the rules," said Strain, who joined with other rural lawmakers and members of the Legislative Black Caucus to oppose the bill.”

[1] HB56 (2003), Times-Picayune, April 25, 2003

[2] HB2 (2001), HB532 (2001), SB828 (2003), SB253(2006)

[3] HB1704(2004), HB297 (2006),

[4] HB1080 (2001)

[5] HB262 (2003)

[6] HB754 (2004)

[7] Times Picayune, June 11, 2002

[8] HB352(2001)

[9] HB301(2000)

[10] HB1269(2004)

[11] www.cbforgoston.com

[12] HB 133 (2001)

[13] HB 132 (2005)

[14] SB 8, Alario amdt. (2006 special)

[15] HB 685 (2006)

[16] HB1472 (2003)

[17] HB1400 (2003)

[18] HB1652 (2003)

[19] HB1696 (2003)

[20] HB1652 (2003)

[21] HB1368 (2003)

[22] HB1402 (2003)

[23] HB1398 (2003)

[24] HB1396 (2003)

[25] HB1533 (2003)

[26] HB1675 (2003)

[27] HB1493 (2003)

[28] HB 1362 (2003)