What legacy have the current legislators left for the people of Louisiana during their last seven years in office? Bad roads, rusting bridges, poor public schools, uncertain health care for the poor, universities drained of quality, huge giveaways of state money with questionable returns, etc. The state is worse off today than it was seven years ago.

The voters elected the lawmakers to improve Louisiana, not run it in the ground. What happened?

Lawmakers are being unduly influenced by special-interest groups that are defined as “organizations seeking or receiving advantages typically through political lobbying.”

Special-interest groups tell lawmakers what they should and should not do and threaten political reprisal at election time if legislators don’t do what they are told.

The philosophy of Louisiana special-interest groups is to take from Louisiana as much as possible and to give back to the state as little as possible. A victory for special interest in the Legislature equates to a loss for most Louisianians.

A number of the leaders of Louisiana special-interest groups live out of state but dictate to our lawmakers through their legions of well-paid lobbyists who live here and socialize, entertain, raise campaign money for and persuade lawmakers year-round.

Lawmakers embarrass their state when they humiliate themselves by going to special interest for permission to vote to end a state tax credit or exemption that hurts, not helps, Louisiana. In the last seven years, permission has never been granted.

The insidious takeover of the Legislature by special interests have even been recognized by some in the business community. Last Oct. 22, a leading state business periodical noted that “outside money and interest increasingly influenced them (legislators).”

Lawmakers will soon face a historic state budget deficit of their own making. The bills/budgets that they passed during the Jindal years have left the state on its knees. They created this fiscal mess; they have a duty to the people to fix it. If they don’t, how can they face the voters this fall and say that they deserve re-election?

During the session, will legislators finally have the guts to stop taking orders from special interest?

Will they have the courage to call themselves back into special session to override the vetoes that the ambitious part-time governor will sign after the session is over? Or will the session end as usual, with legislators shooting rubber bands at one another in the State Capitol, with the state still in shambles and with special interests having once again emerged victorious?

Howard Franques

retired lawyer