06 June 2005

Committee and floor action, Jun. 6: HB 728, SB 354

Trying to achieve the difficult, author of SB 354 Sen. Rob Marionneaux told the chamber that already 11 states had similar smoking bans, how imposition of such a ban didn’t have an adverse impact on business, and that health cost savings could be achieved with the bill’s passage. However, he argued for an incremental approach and felt that his amendment to it to exempt casinos should be passed.

Trying to achieve the impossible, Sen. Jay Dardenne, however, said at a philosophical level, a ban on smoking in public places should make no difference depending upon where a person was or who owned what. In fact, Dardenne said it would drive people to casino restaurants to give them an unfair advantage. Sen. Jody Amedee called it amended “a bill to help the gambling industry.”

Dardenne, however, said he’d be likely to vote against the bill with the amendment. Sen. Charles Jones said he would vote for the bill regardless. The amendment failed 3-29.

Closing, as a joke, Marionneux made like he was lighting a cigarette, prompting Senate President Don Hines to jokingly call for the sergeant at arms to enforce the state’s ban on no smoking in state buildings. He repeatedly referred to the restaurant industry’s lobbyist as “not having slept for a month” in efforts to lobby against it. Apparently, the lost sleep was worth it; the bill failed 14-19 with Amedee voting against it. Perhaps not amending out casinos, as some had conjectured, killed it.


“I’m sorry you have such negative feelings about what this committee would do with your bill … we were just going to take you out and field dress you, that’s all.”

Rep. Avon Honey, when Rep. Cedric Glover said he was going to withdraw some of his bills from the House Ways and Means Committee because he felt its members would not support them.
“I will not be taking questions.”
Rep. Charmaine Marchand, next to the podium after Glover, to her colleagues’ general laughter, although she did then take some questions before voluntarily deferring the bill. HB 726, which taxes ammunition, she admitted she got this idea from a Chris Rock comedy sketch.

TUESDAY: SB 323 is scheduled to be heard in the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee; HB 317 and SB 53 are scheduled to be heard in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee; HB 242 is scheduled to be heard in the House Health and Welfare Committee.

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