14 May 2009

the loony looziana legislature gets some "ethics training"

in 2008 on the 10th day of february through the 26th day of that month, the louisiana legislature convened a special sesssion known formally as the 2008 1st extraordinary session to consider legislating relative to the state ethics code.

somewhere in all that "ethics legislation" they passed was a requirement for a one hour "ethics training" presentation. somehow, perhaps statutorily, the clerk of the house alfred w. "butch" speer was designated to make the presentation. this was done on 30 april 2009.

mr. clerk speer, for his part did an outstanding job -- especially considering the caliber of the individuals that he had to work with, was accompanied by a representative from the state ethics board.

what was supposed to have been a one hour presentation stretched to nearly two and a half hours because mr. speer was constantly interrupted with lots of inane questions. some of the legislators couldnt quite grasp the difference between an employee and an owner or the difference between their mailing address -- mailing address meaning the address at which they receive their postal mail.and their street or municipal address.

representative tom mcvea wanted to know if a mailing address would be his office mailing address or his home address.

representive eddie lambert (the clown who wants to make the red light traffic scameras legal state-wide), who says that he is a lawyer, cant seem to grasp the definition of and the difference between part-time and full-time employment. representative lambert seems to think that his job as a legislator is a full-time job until he is reminded by mr. speer that being a legislator isnt a job -- its an elective office and defined constitutionally as part-time.

representative damon baldone, notices that he must file something within ten days of his notice of candidacy and wants to know "what triggers a notice of candidacy?" mr. speer says "a notice of candidacy is when you qualify."

representative jerry gisclair, apparently owns some radio stations that receive money from advertising from truck stop video poker establishments. he is concerned about how to report that. mr. speer has to explain to him the definition of "income."

representative chris hazel, wants to know if he reports his income as a state representative as income from the state or income from a political subdivision.

representative herbert dixon, has an interesting question: he wants to know, if you have to report that suppose you serve on a church board that manages an apartment complex.

at one point mr. speer remarks, kinda jokingly, "you guys, ladies, look at me with these confused looks, just to remind you, i didnt vote on this stuff -- you all did." and that is really the point. the legislature had an entire special session devoted only to ethics reform -- yet they remain clueless as to what they did to themselves, their spouses and in some cases to their families and associates.

it stands to reason that if the legislature is this ignorant in laws that they pass that affect their own interests that they are equally ignorant in every bill they pass that affects you and yours.