Duck boat tours are an encroaching invasive species — we need to act to prevent their unwanted and unnecessary invasion now!
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From the Urban Dictionary: A Goat Rodeo… is about the most polite term used by aviation people (and others in higher risk situations) to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it.” – Chris Thile Thanks to this past Super Bowl, most of […]
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“There is no other place on earth even remotely like New Orleans. Don’t even try to compare it to anywhere else.” ~Anthony Bourdain New Orleans is a huge tourist destination so it’s often featured in various travel media. Trouble is, usually it’s all about the French Quarter and not so much about all the other […]
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I’m sensing a recurring trend with regard to our city officials’ modus operandi… Pass the cost on to ratepayers’ bills!
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Attempting to ban loitering at Jackson Square for four hours daily? Mayor Landrieu and City Council, is this really the best that you can do?
My first 2012 Tales of the Cocktail event took place Tuesday July 24 at the Yacht Harbor in Lakeview here in New Orleans, and it was so much fun, though in true TOTC fashion, it was a marathon. I spent the day photographing the sailing regatta with the Mount Gay crew and what a great time was had. Here are some from this fun sailing event; and of course, wherever there is rum, water, and sailors, there is eye candy.
Could it be that the French Quarter of New Orleans might have its very own “sister city” — the walled city of Pingyao, in China’s Shanxi province?
Does this not look eerily similar to the intersection of Decatur Street (left) and N. Peters Street/the French Market (right) in the French Quarter (albeit with the streets and angles being depicted in reverse), looking in the direction of Canal St. (minus the Joan of Arc statue in the green space triangle)? It’s a virtual mirror image of that sliver of our own Vieux Carré.
Similarities between the French Quarter and Pingyao include:
• Tourism as the primary economic driver;
• infrastructure concerns resulting from “hoards of tourists”;
• projects involving the collection of “oral histories” from residents;
• Disneyland facsimiles (New Orleans Square at Disneyland vs. Pingyao being compared to the Temple of Heaven pavilion at Epcot);
• hole-in-the-wall shops offering “reflexology foot massages” (there are at least four in the French Quarter these days);
• music blaring from loudspeakers; and
• concerns of local businesses being overwhelmed by “souvenir shops selling mass-produced junk next to bars and restaurants.”
Consider this: two cities, half a world apart, offering alarmingly identical experiences to their respective visitors… isn’t that homogenization defined?
“‘The exodus of indigenous residents and the loss of confidence in local Pingyao cultural traditions may be the single biggest threat to Pingyao today,’ says UNESCO’s Dr. Du Xiaofan. ‘There are threats that the Pingyao could become nothing but a city full of souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels,’ adds Tongji University’s Shao Yong.” Sound familiar?
The N.O. Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and the N.O. Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Morial Convention Center would still like to increase the number of tourists present daily in our city from the current estimated 24,000 visitors per day to an average of 37,500 per day (an estimated 95% of whom would likely visit the French Quarter). There are concerns that this many visitors would likely have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for the residential population of the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods, resulting in a further decline in the number of full-time residents.
Pingyao’s master plan, however, calls for the implementation of a deliberate reduction in the number of full-time residents to enhance its appeal. What might happen as a mere consequence in the French Quarter (not as a result of our city’s master plan) is an acknowledged and planned course of action in Pingyao, who’s annual tourist influx is a mere one million — not the 13.7 million figure desired for our city, as prescribed by the Boston Consulting Group’s report of 2009.
In MADAME VIEUX CARRÉ by Scott S. Ellis, he references the French Quarter’s early preservationists (Saxon, Irby, Fields, etc.) with the following words:
“What cannot be overstated is that this first band of preservationists left a legacy that ultimately became the economic engine of New Orleans. Their influence was slow and sometimes faltering, and there were reverses along the way. But it was at the smoky, absinthe-informed parties of the 1920s Quarter ‘bohemians’ that the foundations for New Orleans’ modern tourist industry were laid. Long after most primary industry has fled, tourism, in many ways great and small, keeps the city ever so slightly above utter destitution. Most of the oil industry has decamped to Houston, but the hotels stay busy. The high-tech sector may roll its eyes when thinking of Orleans Parish, but the souvenir shops of Decatur Street still turn the goods to each new generation of tourists. This first band scraped a few sparkling shards of ‘charm’ from the gutter and exposed the mother lode of unique character that is New Orleans’, and the Vieux Carré’s, livelihood.”
Ellis’ contention that preservationists birthed the modern tourism industry makes absolute sense, but given the recent Hospitality Zone battle and the ongoing skirmishes between the city’s administration and neighborhood groups, the truly warped part is that it may have been this very impulse to protect and preserve that has sown the seeds for the cultural commodification and destruction of our city’s most cherished traditions and customs.
Lately it could be said that the voracious triplets (the Tourism & Marketing Corporation, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Morial Convention Center) seem to want to cannibalize their parent.
In the French Quarter, cast iron ornamentation, fence posts, and columns occasionally feature ornamental pineapples as part of their decorative motif, a Victorian era symbol of prosperity adopted by our city’s earliest French settlers. Much like Pingyao’s tortoise symbol and its relevance to that city’s current struggles, the preservation of our history and local culture desperately needs an infusion of prosperity in the form of community interest. It bears repeating: we are a community — not a commodity.
Please read the Atlantic’s article about Pingyao and consider the corollaries between this city and our own city’s French Quarter — might Pingyao be the Chinese Vieux Carré?: Can an Ancient Chinese City Pursue Preservation Without Disney-fication?
As of 5:18 PM CDT today with the adjournment of the 2012 Legislative session, Louisiana Senate Bill 767 “SPECIAL DISTRICTS: Creates the New Orleans Hospitality Zone” expired without being called from the calendar for its third reading and final passage.
I wish to commend the following elected officials that are on record for being responsive to their constituents as a priority over answering to the desires of industry-related bureaus and corporations: Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Senator Jean-Paul Morrell, Representative Helena Moreno, New Orleans City Council President Jackie Clarkson, Councilmember Kristen Gisleson Palmer, and Council At-Large Stacy Head.
This victory belongs to every single person who wrote to or called our elected officials, wrote about, reported about, or discussed the bill (publicly or privately), and who supported the rally cry of “We are a community — not a commodity!” Together we gave these words meaning: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)
The idea of a Hospitality Zone with dedicated funding for infrastructure, maintenance, provision of appropriate and much-need services, and inclusive management (allowing for resident involvement in the process) is admirable and well worth pursuing. I hope that Mayor Landrieu, our Senators, and our Representatives will go back to the drawing board and revisit this proposed special district in a manner that incorporates community meetings and invites citizen input, as well as ensuring community involvement, transparency, and accountability subsequent to the Hospitality Zone’s possible implementation at a later date.
In the interim, I ask that the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and all other tourism and hospitality industry “stakeholders” carefully consider the opportunity that now exists to do the right thing: please release the $30 million from the canceled Phase IV expansion of the Convention Center and follow through on the previously-noted plans for much-needed infrastructure repairs and improvements. There has been no significant investment in the care and upkeep of our city’s historic heart for almost 30 years’ time; please recognize that these efforts are, in fact, long overdue. Significant wear-and-tear or deterioration of such improvements will not occur between now and commencement of the 2013 Legislative session and the passage of any relevant legislation during that session.
To our elected officials and the hospitality and tourism industries: You have in your hands at this moment the opportunity to create unity between the residents who will continue to make the proposed Hospitality Zone a living and vibrant community and the economic interests that derive benefit from such. Please consider paying it forward by demonstrating your genuine commitment to protect the areas of our city that you seek to promote. Please use the time between now and the 2013 Legislative session to create a true and meaningful consensus.
Let us all make the best effort to work together from this point forward by choosing to create a partnership that is embraced by and inclusive of all concerned parties within this community.
To the readers of this post: I invite you to consider sending an email encouraging our elected officials and the tourism and hospitality industries to move forward with plans to dedicate the $30 million derived from tax revenue previously budgeted for the canceled Phase IV development of the Convention Center to much-needed infrastructure, maintenance, and service improvements within our city. Please commend them for their interest and request their consideration to do what’s best for our city now. Please clip and paste the following addresses to send emails of support for this effort:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Let’s prepare for celebrating New Orleans’ upcoming 300th anniversary in May 2018 as a community. It’s time for all of us to work together to do right by and properly care for our beloved lady who has a pretty face with dirty feet.
The substituted and amended bill, as approved by the Louisiana Legislature’s Local and Municipal Affairs Committee, is now available: “SPECIAL DISTRICTS: Creates the New Orleans Hospitality Zone.”
(Digest Version for enhanced readability: http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=803540)
Its current status on the Louisiana Legislature’s website is listed as follows: Status: PENDING SENATE FLOOR ACTION — Updated: 5/21/2012
This new version of the bill accomplishes the following:
- adds a 10 year “sunset” provision;
- abolishes the advisory board (which was dominated by tourism interests);
- removes the Faubourg Marigny from the Taxing Zone;
- reallocates the new tax revenues in the following manner:
French Quarter Management District – 10% (infrastructure)
Multicultural Tourism Network – 10% (tourism/marketing)
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation – 20% (tourism/marketing)
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau – 20%
City of New Orleans via “Hospitality Zone Dedicated Fund” – 40%
- makes all receiving agencies and organizations subject to public records requests for these funds (but not necessarily for the rest of their operations);
- requires that a written report be submitted to city council annually accounting for the use of these funds by all non-City Council agencies (as the city already has its own budgeting and reporting requirements);
- no longer permits the expansion of the zone via the creation of “special districts”; and
- no longer permits the acquisition of property necessary or desirable for carrying out the objects and purposes of the district.
While these courageous actions by Senator Peterson, Senator Morrell, and Representative Moreno are to be applauded, we, as citizens, must also continue to be active and vigilant.
There are only two weeks left in the legislative session this year – so stay engaged! Your emails, phone calls, and presence in Baton Rouge have already made a real and measurable difference in this matter! THANK YOU!
The creation of the Hospitality Zone is unfortunately a given at this point; it is unlikely that this will go away. The only real question remaining is, “How will this be implemented?” This may be our best shot at a version that provides enhanced accountability and transparency.
It’s as if Senator Peterson, Senator Morrell, and Representative Moreno addressed the specific concerns of the constituents with the addition of each of these amendments; they cannot be lost in the shuffle of whatever happens next. As was evidenced on Thursday, 5/17/12, everything can change in a just a few moments’ time, including when this goes before the House for further consideration.
It is presently understood that the addition of a “sunset clause” is considered to be problematic, as it may be perceived as making the pursuit of bond revenues in the future challenging. It is unlikely that the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation are particularly pleased with the revised allocation of funds and there may be push-back on this issue. It is also possible that revisions could occur prior to this bill’s consideration by the House, including stripping off all of these amendments and their intent to address constituent concerns. And it also remains possible that Governor Jindal could simply veto the bill if it makes it through the House intact in its present form.
(To be very clear: I, personally, am in support of LA SB 767 only if it moves forward unmodified in its present form. Following Senator Peterson’s lead, if the amendments are altered in any way or stripped off, then I’m off — rescinding my support — too.)
Please continue to communicate with our state legislators. Thank them, but let them know we are still paying attention — please take the time to write or call again and let them know that we DO NOT want these amendments weakened.
For your convenience, here’s a list for convenient cutting and pasting into the “To” field of your email in support of the new bill, LA SB 767:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
If you prefer to phone, the Baton Rouge switchboard number is (225) 342-2040. To local district office locations can be found at: http://senate.la.gov/Senators/Offices.asp
Thank you to everyone who has become active and invested in this process. Without you, this new bill would likely never have come into play.
We are a community — NOT a commodity!
On Thursday, 5/17/12, LA Senate Bill 573 “SPECIAL DISTRICTS. Creates the New Orleans Hospitality Zone” was presented to the Local & Municipal Affairs Committee of the Louisiana Legislature.
Starting at about 7:00 AM, those traveling to Baton Rouge to oppose this matter began gathering at the Decadence Shoppe Café on N. Rampart, a small restaurant that has been supportive of the ZONE OUT opposition. A group of 25 citizens (on their own time and their own dime) arrived to make the trip. We traveled in one bus with enough seating available that everyone could have their own two-seat row if so desired. To identify our group’s participants, we wore simple yellow stickers reading “ZONE OUT.” WWL TV’s Bill Capo was on hand to see us off first.
The ZONE OUT delegation was lucky enough to arrive at the State’s Capitol Building before the multiple buses that also traveled to Baton Rouge on behalf of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) and other industry-related bill supporters. At one point, we were told that the “Tourism Matters” proponents had ten buses to shuttle people from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to Baton Rouge and back… It is unclear to me if this was accurate or if all of those buses rolled. As an added incentive, tourism and hospitality industry workers who were willing to go to Baton Rouge yesterday enjoyed the benefit of free parking at the Superdome as well.
Supporters of the bill were either wearing red prominently or NOCVB-provided red “Tourism Matters” t-shirts and also carrying cardboard fans bearing that motto. I would estimate that, between industry executives and “general supporters,” there were at least 150 people. Casual questioning of some of the younger participants revealed that at least some of the supporting minions were, in fact, “on the clock” (compensated) for their participation.
All in all, I’d guess that we (the ZONE OUT delegation) were outnumbered at least six to one.
We stood in the hallway outside of Committee Room for more than two hours until the doors were opened to allow our admittance. It was crowded. On several occasions, the Fire Marshal and other Capitol Building personnel had to clear a path of travel. It was uncomfortable and, at times, a little pushy as the supporting contingent jockeyed for an improved position. What mattered at that point was simply getting as many ZONE OUT people in the room as possible — given that the capacity was limited (maybe 50 seats for observers and a finite amount of standing-against-the-walls space), this was our best chance for essentially leveling the playing field in terms of visible representation. Once the doors opened, I’d estimate that 2/5ths of the observers were ZONE OUT advocates and that the remaining 3/5ths were present to support the bill.
Although LA SB 573 was technically the second matter on the agenda, there were several other matters coming before the Local & Municipal Affairs Committee yesterday that were dispatched first in an efficient manner. About an hour after the meeting started, Senator Murray opted
to address this bill first of the three that he’d had in consideration for
I’ll be honest… I don’t know exactly what other ZONE OUT participants were wishing for, but I personally was hoping for a “Study Resolution” as the outcome of this bill’s consideration (a resolution authorizing a committee to study an issue following adjournment of a legislative session). Metaphorically speaking, it’s a little like hoping for a “stay of execution” and the chance that it would allow for greater participation in the choice of method in the interim. In my opinion, however, even this was a bit of a long shot.
I’m happy to say that what actually occurred was nothing of the sort.
We’d been aware that yet another newly-revised version of the bill had been created at about 7:30 PM on Wednesday, 5/16/12. The biggest change was that, instead of a “superboard,” there would now be an “Advisory Committee” that would present its proposed budget to the New Orleans City Council (but would still be equally unaccountable with regard to the general public’s participation). I believe that this “Substitute of Senate Bill 573 by Senator Murray” was what was submitted for consideration before the Committee when this matter was addressed yesterday.
From the start, Senator Karen Carter Peterson (District 5-Democrat) became invested in the discussion of this bill; aside from the Committee’s Vice-Chair, Sen. Tarver, she was the only member of the committee to address this matter directly. She spoke with clarity and passion about her experience representing the French Quarter for a decade when it was part of her district and of her concern for its needs, identifying it as “an anomaly,” and adding that it “stands out and there’s much more to be done in that area.”
After introductory remarks by the bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Edwin R. Murray (District 4-Democrat), Sen. Peterson grilled Mayor Landrieu’s representative — Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin — regarding the $30 million in funds to be provided by the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for infrastructure repairs and putting the best shine on the French Quarter in advance of hosting the Super Bowl in February 2013. As reported in the Times-Picayune, she asked Kopplin “why it seems the Convention Center money is a ‘quid pro quo.’ Kopplin disputed the characterization, saying the board and the city merely want a long-term financing stream to support initial investments.”
Sen. Peterson also noted that special districts/non-governmental entities are usually created with the inclusion of a “sunset clause” (meaning that it would need to be revisited by the Committee at a future date and either reinstated or retired at such time). Sen. Peterson asked if it would be problematic for the city’s administration to add such a clause; Mr. Kopplin replied, “Yes, it is.”
Four additional speakers spoke in support of the bill, including Darryl Berger of The Berger Company (New Orleans Convention and Visitors Board At Large Board member, French Quarter Management District Board of Commissioners member, etc.), Melvin Rodrigue (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Board President, Chief Operating Officer of Galatoire’s Restaurant), and two spunky hospitality industry workers (one of whom stated that she was also a French Quarter resident; I don’t remember if the other mentioned such). As if coached to do so, supporters of the bill applauded openly in response to the remarks of these two young ladies, both wearing the requisite red “Tourism matters” t-shirts.
After the supporting commentary concluded, a brief flurry of activity ensued at the Committee members’ table. Senator Peterson then introduced “Amendments proposed by Senate Committee on Local and Municipal Affairs to Substitute for Senate Bill 573 by Senator Murray.” At that moment, the entire game changed. I was lucky to receive copies of both the substitute bill as presented and these proposed amendments from the Sergeant at Arms. The details are as follows:
The “Hospitality Zone” boundaries are as follows: “…all territories within the boundaries of the Pontchartrain Expressway, at the point where it intersects with the Mississippi River to Claiborne overpass/I-10; I-10 to Canal Street; Canal Street to North Rampart, along the rear property lines of parcels that front on the downriver side of Canal Street; North Rampart to Esplanade Avenue, along the rear property lines of parcels that front on the lakeside of North Rampart; Esplanade Avenue to the Mississippi River, along the rear property lines of the parcels that front on the downriver side of Esplanade; the Mississippi River back to the point where it intersects with the Pontchartrain Expressway.”
(Technical note: this means that the portion of Tremé that borders on N. Rampart Street is now included in the zone, as well as the portion of the Faubourg Marigny that borders on Esplanade Avenue… I suspect this is to allow for the repair of sidewalks, street lights, signage and such on both sides of these streets.)
Original/Revised version: “Superboard”/”Advisory Committee” made up of appointees and hospitality/tourism industry executives.
New Amended version: ABOLISHED! The New Orleans City Council and the French Quarter Management District would now administer the non-tourism/marketing funds.
Original/Revised version: 33-1/3% to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB), 33-1/3% to the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), and 33-1/3% to the “Hospitality Zone Dedicated Fund.”
New Amended version: 20% to the NOCVB, 20% to the NOTMC, 10% to the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, 40% to the “Hospitality Zone Dedicated Fund,” and 10% to the French Quarter Management District. The amendment also expressly states that funds dispersed to the Hospitality Zone Dedicated Fund “shall only be used for public safety, sanitation, infrastructure, and maintenance thereof, and code enforcement” (meaning that administrative expenses must come from another revenue source). Finally, funds in the Hospitality Zone Dedicated Fund “shall supplement and enhance those services routinely provided by the city or its agencies.”
Instead of 66-2/3% going to tourism and marketing and only 33-1/3% going to repairs, care, and upkeep, this changed the balance to 50% going to the services and maintenance for the Hospitality Zone and 50% going to promoting tourism/marketing. (Note: It is currently estimated that ~$15 million in revenue will be generated annually from the taxes included in this legislative instrument.)
Original/Revised version: Recommendations regarding the expenditure of funds for services/maintenance purposes would be made by the “Advisory Committee,” subject to approval by the New Orleans City Council (submission of a budget would be required).
New Amended Version: Four-fifths of the services/maintenance funds would be administered directly by the New Orleans City Council; one-fifth would be controlled by an existing political subdivision of the state of Louisiana created in 2007 by the Louisiana Legislature pursuant to R.S. 25:796, et seq. — the French Quarter Management District (FQMD). It is expected that the FQMD will hold open meetings that allow for public attendance/participation.
(Technical note: It should be noted that the FQMD also has an appointed board without term limitations for Board of Commissioners members and there is no known mechanism for removal of a Board member for unsatisfactory performance. The majority of its board members remain as appointed in 2007, including appointees by former Mayor C. Ray Nagin and former Councilmember James Carter that haven’t changed during the current administration. This may need to be addressed in the near future, particularly since the sunset date for this district is June 30, 2014.)
New Amended Version:
A. There shall be a pubic accounting of all funds received as a result of this Subpart as well as a prompt response to public records requests in relation to these funds irrespective of the status of the receiving organization.
B. All entities identified for funding under R.S. 33:130.557(F), except R.S. 33:130.557(F)(3), shall submit an annual report to the New Orleans City Council and the Legislature that identifies their use and allocation of the funds. The annual report shall be submitted on October first each year. The first report shall be due October 1, 2013, and shall cover allocations made in the prior fiscal year.
(This means that the NOCVB, the NOTMC, the French Quarter Management District, and the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network must publicly report and be accountable regarding the disbursement of these funds; the exception applies to the portion of the funds controlled by the New Orleans City Council, which is already bound to existing budgetary deadlines, reporting requirements, and public records requests responsiveness.)
Original/Revised version: The special district would have no expiration date.
New Amended version: The special district would “sunset” in ten years’ time, meaning that it must be re-approved by the Legislature at that time or it would be dissolved.
Original/Revised version: Included the right to “acquire by gift, grant, purchase, or otherwise all property, including rights of way; to hold and use any franchise or property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, or any interest therein, necessary or desirable for carrying out the objects and purposes of the district.”
New Amended version: Removed/abolished.
Original/Revised version: “The district may create subdistricts…”
New Amended version: Removed/abolished.
New Amended version: The New Orleans City Council is required to adopt an appropriate resolution giving notice of its intention to levy taxes, and the proposition for the levy of such taxes has been “submitted to the electors of the city at an election held for that purpose and the proposition has received the favorable vote of a majority of the electors voting in such election.”
The city is also authorized and empowered to levy an additional tax on the occupancy of hotel rooms in the city (not to exceed 1.75%), to levy a tax on food or beverages for consumption on or off the premises “not intended for home consumption” within the “Hospitality Zone” (not to exceed 0.2495%), and to levy an additional 1% tax with respect to overnight registered guest’s overnight parking. (I would prefer it if this applied to all commercial parking enterprises within the zone — not just “overnight” parking.) These taxes do not appear to be subject to the previously-noted requirement of a proposition and vote; I believe that they are automatically “empowered” via this act of legislation.
After these amendments were presented and read into the record, five speakers from the opposing ZONE OUT delegation spoke (prominent neighborhood association leaders and business/community figures). Given that many of the major issues were addressed by the amendments (abolition of the new and unnecessary governing structure, lack of accountability, subversion of processes that would allow for oversight and citizen participation, etc.), comments were brief — there simply wasn’t time to fully consider the amendments presented just moments before in order to react in a more direct manner.
(I was later informed that our delegation had submitted a list of seven speakers, including my name; for the sake of parity, however, the number permitted to do so was five. I’m grateful to have “made the cut” for the list that was submitted, even if I did not have the opportunity to address the Committee directly.)
The amendments were approved unanimously by the Legislature’s Local & Municipal Affairs Committee. In all truth, everyone in the room was stunned to some degree — support (by my observation, particularly Sen. Murray and Mr. Kopplin) and opposition alike.
What comes next? The bill will now head to the full Louisiana Senate, where it will need to be approved before June 4, 2012. Keep in mind, however, that this bill can still be be pulled from further consideration or changed/amended again at any time between now and then (although Sen. Peterson did state unequivocally, “Blanket statement: If these amendments come off, I… probably… am off” (meaning that she would withdraw her support). She continued, “And I would hope that that would not be the case, because they are all significant and there’s a constituency that’s reflected behind each one of those amendments.”
Please keep your fingers crossed that any modifications that might occur from this point on are limited to improvements to this legislation… this isn’t over yet.
Thank you to EVERYONE who took the time to contact our elected officials, either by email or phone, to express your concerns re: LA SB 573. I am absolutely certain that these amendments were created, in part, in response to your actions. These game-changing amendments belong to every citizen who chose to get involved.