Governor Bobby Jindal offered brief comments on “The state of the State” and the impact of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike during a town meeting held in the Civic Center Ballroom Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 15.
In his introduction of the governor, Mayor Jim Petitjean praised him “as someone who took charge and did what he thought was best of Louisiana.”
The governor began his remarks by noting the state was “exporting” its most valuable asset ... its sons and daughters who must leave Louisiana to find a living.
Jindal blamed much of what is wrong with Louisiana on its reputation of corruption and incompetency.
He cited recent surveys by Forbes and LSU that rank Louisiana politics as 43rd worst for integrity. “We must crack down on corruption,” said Jindal.
He pointed out that several steps toward that goal were made during special sessions this year.
Among the changes he listed:
• Elected officials and members of state boards and commission are required to expose their assets.
• Forbidding elected officials from conducting business with the state.
• Stricter reporting on what lobbyists spend on gifts and meals.
• Closing loopholes for free tickets and meal for legislators.
“We’re now seeing results,” he told his audience, noting he ended the practice of using one-time funds on recurring expenses.
Turning his attention to education, Gov. Jindal said the state must improve technical training and “put good teachers in the classroom.”
Calling for a teacher’s Bill of Rights,” Jindal reported Louisiana schools ranked second worst in classroom discipline.
He said the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to have struck down Louisiana’s death penalty for rapists of children.
In response, Gov. Jindal noted he signed a law which permits a judge to order castration of a convicted child rapist and would require castration on a second rape conviction.
Regarding the citizens’ reaction to two hurricanes, Jindal said he was proud of the people of Louisiana for resiliency and willingness to assist their neighbors.