Poll finds it may be time to pass some older bills

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Louisiana’s legislators wrapped up the 2011 regular session last week.

While hundreds of bills made it to the governor’s desk and were signed, countless others languished in the House and Senate or received a veto from the governor. Among these were some that have made the agenda for several years and others appearing before the legislators for the first time.

Accordingly, last week L’Observateur asked visitors to its website which failed bill do they wish had passed during the session.

One bill that has made its way to the Legislature for the past few years is a bill banning the use of handheld devices while driving. Some states have already passed similar measures, and last year Louisiana passed a bill banning texting while driving, but so far the total ban on handheld devices has failed to pass in the state. Apparently, this is not from a lack of support in the River Parishes. Nearly 40 percent of respondents chose this bill as the one they would have most liked to see pass.

Another bill that has been around for a few years, the ban on smoking in bars and casinos, also garnered a good bit of support from respondents. It received 20 percent of the vote.

An anti-bullying measure that was struck down because some legislators claimed it promoted the homosexual lifestyle had a fair amount of support in the area with more than 15 percent of the vote.

Two other measures that made quite a few headlines in the past few months, the proposed merger of UNO and SUNO and the renewal of a 4 percent cigarette tax, each managed to garner over 10 percent o the vote.

Rounding out the list was a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons on college campuses. Just 5 percent of respondents voted for that bill.

A full breakdown of results follows:

• 16 percent of respondents chose “The student anti-bullying bill.”

• 5 percent of respondents chose “The bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.”

• 11 percent of respondents chose “The merger of UNO and SUNO.”

• 38 percent of respondents chose “The ban on the use of handheld devices while driving.”

• 20 percent of respondents chose “The ban on smoking in bars and casinos.”

• 11 percent of respondents chose “The 4 percent cigarette tax renewal.”