Session positive for area concerns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 16, 2002


BATON ROUGE – During the recent Legislative special session, the members of the Senate and House combined to keep the funding for professional sports franchises coming out the New Orleans area’s pocket.

Rep. Gary Smith (D-Norco) said he was “not thrilled about it,” but economic advisors have insisted the sports franchises are a boon to the state’s economy.

“It looks a lot better,” he said, and added that when the city tries to attract new business there, they can point with pride to the New Orleans Saints and the Charlotte Hornets and say, “See? We’re not a dying city.”

Contacted earlier this week, Smith was hopeful the Legislature could fly through the rest of their work and conclude the special session on Friday.

However, both the House and Senate were adjourned Thursday afternoon, the Senate due back on Monday and the House due back Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, considerable headway was made on several front prior the adjournment.

The tax break bill for Bayou Steel in LaPlace, for example, sailed through the legislature and headed for Gov. Mike Foster’s signature.

Likewise, the bill to allow the cleanup of Bayou Trepagnier by providing an exception to the Scenic Rivers Act, cleared as well and it is expected to be signed into law.

“It sailed through the natural resources committee without any hitches,” Smith noted.

“We could fly through and finish on Friday, or get bogged down and into next week,” Smith noted. “But we are winding down.”

The special session must adjourn no later than April 19, allowing legislators time to return home and re-convene on April 29 for the regular session.