Too much opposition causes sponsor to set aside bill _lowres

Kevin Pearson

After an impassioned plea Wednesday to stop requiring sponsors from advertising in The Advocate those bills that would change the state retirement system, state Rep. Kevin Pearson conceded the measure was unpopular and withdrew his proposal.

“Is there one green card?” Pearson asked, referring to the color of the cards supporters of a bill sign. Opponents enter red cards.

“It’s pretty red,” replied state Rep. Tim Burns, who chairs the Committee on House and Governmental Affairs.

“I don’t want y’all to have to vote on this,” said Pearson, R-Slidell, as he withdrew House Bill 141. “This is just a philosophical thing.”

Pearson said the requirement of publishing retirement-related bills in the official journal is old and probably started back when almost all of the state government retirees lived in Baton Rouge. But other issues don’t carry the same costly prerequisite.

State Rep. Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales, said the practice began to alert retirees when a piece legislation was aimed at a particular person or special interest. The finances of the state’s retirement systems, which provide benefits for all government retirees, are still hampered by laws passed years ago that helped only a handful.

Pearson said that was not an issue today.

HB141 would make the Secretary of State website the official journal for retirement bills that are required to be published. The Advocate is the official journal.

When state Rep. Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula, moved to involuntarily defer the measure, which essentially would kill it for this session, Pearson asked to let him voluntarily set the bill aside.

“Give me at least that,” Pearson said. “I’m done with this, this year.”

“We appreciate your passion on this issue,” Burn said.