Martiny and Henry 060419

Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, sits on the lap of Sen. Daniel Martiny, R-Metairie, at the Jefferson delegation dinner on June 4, 2019.

Some harsh words have been exchanged as Louisiana legislators angle to keep alive the effort to legalize sports betting.

State Sen. Danny Martiny, the Metairie Republican behind the legalization effort, blamed House Appropriations Committee Chair Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, for bottling up Senate Bill 153 with parliamentary maneuvers. Martiny’s allies had wanted to discharge his legislation from Appropriations and let the full House vote, but Henry always seemed to be out of the chamber whenever the issue came up and rules require the committee chairman to be there for the debate.

Henry countered by saying more time had been spent debating sports betting than any other issue this session and the process had decided to reject SB153. When the House finally voted, the representatives backed their colleague.

Martiny attached the authorization language to bills setting up the regulatory and taxation processes for fantasy sports games, which are still outstanding as the Legislature enters its final day of the 2019 session.

Mandeville Republican Sen. Jack Donahue said one of the big lessons he learned upon joining the Senate 12 years ago was that enemies on issues during the day can bury the hatchet at night. And such was the case with Martiny and Henry, who were photographed hamming it up at a Jefferson Parish delegation dinner by Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie.

“They’re still in love,” Donahue said.

Martiny said he asked Henry, “Since you’re in the room, is it okay for us to order.”

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.