The Louisiana Legislature will convene in a few days and begin work to handle dozens of pre-filed bills. They will start officially on March 12 and finish no later than June 4. The most important subject before the legislators appears to be retirement with dozens of bills pre-filed in the House and in the Senate! Hopefully, other matters will also receive needed attention, one of them being the repeal of an antiquated 1987 law that cripples Louisiana law enforcement from doing its job in state waters. Statute § 56:57.2 preventing enforcement of the federal Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations was passed in a time of anger and lack of understanding by the Louisiana fishing industry and its legislative representatives. TEDs have long since been proven effective to prevent the drowning of sea turtles while shrimp is being caught and is used and enforced in all other coastal states except Louisiana. Statute § 56:57.2 promised that the state would move to enforce the regulations once research demonstrated that TEDs work effectively. That time came long ago. The federal government has been more than patient in this issue as well as neighboring states. Two years ago, House Bill 1334 would have settled the matter, but the Governor was understandably overwhelmed by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and vetoed it.
It’s time Governor Jindal leads Louisiana’s shrimping industry down the right path which will put him in the good graces of all the people who see him as a great prospect to serve the nation in the future. But how can a governor who ignores a federal law expect to rise from the Louisiana State House to the White House? Even a cabinet position requires people who respect the laws that have been passed by Congress. The Governor’s office has received thousands of messages from voters around the country and expert scientists who recognize that the Endangered Species Act is needed to spare sea turtles and thousands of other creatures that deserve protection.
Now is the time, Governor Jindal. We’re all waiting!