As longtime readers know, I like to start my postings as an extension of a news item, in the form of a news story or press release. These readers also know that during sessions of the Legislature I compile the Louisiana Legislature Log where, among other things, I identify “good” and “bad” bills to track.
I tagged HB 1028 and its even worse companion SB 513 long ago as bad bills to track, hoping as with all in that category that they never saw the light of day. Apparently, I was the only one (that I know of) who bothered to even mention them in a published forum. I was wanting to write about them and kept waiting for a news article about them to show up, and waiting, and waiting …
Meanwhile, the things slowly moved through the legislative process. Contrary to the statements of a large number of red-faced legislators now claiming HB 1028 was a last minute surprise, they knew well in advance of the 6/18 and 6/19 votes what it was all about; lead opponent state Rep. Mike Powell said he discussed the bills with a number of his colleagues days before then, telling them in no uncertain terms what they meant.
However, the media black hole continued – until just a couple of days to go before the session’s end, when something about it finally popped up. But not in the mainstream media; rather, at C.B. Forgotston’s site. (Talk radio, however, was onto it a few days prior.)
Only after the session actually ended did the mainstream media kick in – not with stories about the bill, but in the reactions to it. (Or as one put it, “after ultra-conservative Internet bloggers began attacking the bill ….”). Both legislators and the governor’s office seemed a bit taken aback, then impressed, by the amount of grass-roots opposition to the bill, and Blanco with impressive speed vetoed it.
What have we learned?
Yet that leaves one final question: is the effect lasting, or is this just a temporary setback for the good-old-boy attitudes haunting Louisiana? I guess you’ll find out here first – or from some other new media sources.