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Louisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973).

Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 9) online

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delegates are interested in good government. The more laws —
the more corruption; the more time — the more laws. It's just
that simple. If we give the legislature all this time, there
will be more and more legislation, more and more laws. I implore
you to consider this seriously, and I ask you to vote in favor of
this amendment. This is not a labor amendment, be sure; but,
believe me, labor is interested; and you and delegates here have
conmended labor for their lobbying. I would rather see lobbying
than cash exchanged in hands and minds of the future legislature
of Louisiana. It's time we educate our legislators, and we will
allow this by a continuous body operating at all times. This
continuous body can educate itself in committee hearings. There
is no excuse for the committees not bringing before the legis-
lature sound proposals. They have time — they will have time to
deliberate. It has been said by some of the congressional people
that the legislative action itself is a facade; the real work goes
on in committees. I think you can bear this out in this constitu-
tional convention. The hard work, the sweat, the real thinking
went into committee action, and this will be done in our new
legislature, if the Constitutional Convention of '73 passes.
But, please allow the people of Louisiana to vote upon reducing
the time that will be spent in a country club atmosphere for a
legislature that, I believe, can only do more harm than good if
we pass this bad legislation, which we now have the time to
correct by voting in favor of this alternate.

Questions

MR. RAY BURN

Doctor, I heard you make a statement that we was going to
get paid for eighty-five days.

MR. WEISS

No, sir, I did not make that statement.

MR. RAY BURN

Well, I misunderstood you then, and I'm sorry. I mean you
were saying so much about us so fast, I could have misunderstood you.

MR. WEISS

I said: Between sessions, you will enjoy the weekends —
being wined, dined, and padded.

MR. RAY BURN

Doctor, then, would we enjoy it any more than you have
enjoyed it since you've been here?

MR. WEISS

Believe me, sir, I have not enjoyed it. Every moment I had
a chance, I had to go back to work.

MR. RAY BURN

Yes, sir. Well, about the best way I know for us to really
enjoy it is to get another chiropractor bill in, and you doctors
will be here.

MR. WEISS

You can't threaten me with that, sir. I think good legis-
lation is in the hands of good legislators, and I appreciate
the previous legislators.

You're Included in those good legislators , Senator . I don* t
want to lose any friends.

MR. SHANNON

Dr. Weiss, you made the statement: more laws — more corruption.
Will you explain that?

MR. WEISS

Would you repeat that please? I didn't understand Che ques-
tion.

MR. SHANNON

I said you made the statement: more laws — more corruption.

MR. WEISS

That was made by a famous Roman orator in the forum in Rome
about two thousand years ago, sir....



MR. SHANNON

Well, this is 1973

MR. WEISS

I don't think it's changed in two thousand years.

MR. SHANNON

Four now. You got me off; I don't know where I am.

Further Di scuss ion

MR. DUVAL

Mr. Acting Chairman, fellow delegates, I realize that talk
now is generally in vain with the coefficient of attention here
and the desire to get the convention over with. I might point
out to those delegates who are signing their name that perhaps
they ought to know what they are signing their name to. but that's
neither here nor there. I rise here because I feel so strongly
about this particular alternate, so strongly against it. What
is so bad with having twenty-five days in order to intelligently
deliberate? What are some of us so afraid of that in twenty-five
days , perhaps .some bad legislature will be caught; perhaps some
analytical process will be utilized; perhaps somebody will scrutinize
what they have done; also, the public may have a voice, if we do
have a split session, I think this ^ery much negates the possibility
of a split session. I think it's a bad alternate. I think it only
placates people who are specifically interested in lobbying
legislation and don't wish to be up here the entire time. I
certainly understand their point of view and I think in the best
interest of the citizens of Louisiana. We have an opportunity for
a split session, enough time to deliberate over legislation to
analyze it, to hear from the public. Our system is only going to be
as good as the people we elect, there is no doubt about that. But,
please , let ' s set the framework so the good people can deliberate in-
telligently, I ask that you vote against this alternate.

Questions

MR. WEISS I

Do you ever have any political aspirations for legislative !

office? I

I

>tR. DUVAL I

Do I? '

MR. WEISS

Yes, sir.

MR, DUVAL

No, no, sir.

Further Discussion

MR. DE BLIELTC

Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen of the convention, I
want to explain my feelings about this particular proposal. As
I spoke to you earlier when the first alternate came up, I thought
it was a very bad alternate and, therefore, I voted against that
particular proposal. But, the other alternates that have been before us
I supported because I thought that they were alternates that should have
gone on the ballot, and we needed a chance to make a choice;even
though I might not have favored those particular alternates, I
think it was very evident that I did not favor the proposal as
submitted by Mr. McDaniel. But, nevertheless, it was an alternate,
it was something that I thought that the people ought to have a
chance to pass upon. We've only passed one alternate. I feel
like our chances of passing the constitution are better with each
alternate that we add to it. I really think it is a very, very bad
proposal. I certainly feel like that we would have little difficulty
in defeating it if it was placed upon the ballot. But, in view of
the fact that we only have one alternate, I'm going to vote for it
to go on the ballot. I tell you right now, that if it should pass
and get on the ballot. it's going to be one of those I'm going to
campaign against because I really feel like that the provisions
we have at the present time are much, much better than this particular
proposal and I speak from my vast experience in the legislature.
That's the only reason I'm supporting it, so the people can have a
choice.

Further Di scussion



MR. FAYARD

Mr. Acting Chairman and fellow delegates, I rise in opposition
to Delegate Proposal No. 103. I'll try to be brief in stating my
reasons for this opposition. We have two issues to consider: One



[3442]



120th Days Proceedings— January 17, 1974

is whether or not this matter before us right now deserves to be
given the consideration of an alternative on the ballot. I say it
does not. I say that I haven't heard from my constituents, the hue
and cry that I heard on the educational proposal which determined in
my own mind that we needed an alternative on that particular
provision, I have heard no one oppose the proposal that our
conoittee and this convention adopted finally after many days
of debate and compromise, which I think is a true compromise and
a true, valid, realistic approach to take in regard to the legislative
sessions of this state. Let's look at what Delegate Proposal No. 103
says; it says that "The legislature shall meet in annual regular
sessions for not more than sixty calendar days." The Coianittee
Proposal No. 3 says "The legislature shall meet in annual regular
sessions at the State Capital for not more than sixty legislative
days." The only difference is that it says these legislative days
■ust be held within a period of eighty-five calendar days. Now, we
are not talking about fewer legislative days in this delegate proposal.
The delegate proposal would only mean that the legislature would not
have the additional twenty-five days which it needs to consider
procedural matters to get its house in order, say, after every four
years when the legislature Is elected. It needs to meet maybe
for one day to get sworn in, to take its office, and then adjourn
for maybe ten days to get the committees appointed, the rules distributed,
and the legislators familiar with the legislative process and then
come back into session for an introduction of bills for maybe another
five days; then, adjourn again for another ten or fifteen days; the
comnittee proposal allows this. The delegate proposal before you
is given to you in the form of an alternative is really no alternative
at all; it limits the legislature within the time that it would have
to meet. Now, I propose to you that a true alternate on the
ballot would be to give the legislature an unlimited amount of time
to meet. Let it meet every year for any time that it wants to meet,
for any purpose, and let it continue as a continuous body. Now, if
you want to place that as an alternative on the ballot, I could say
to you that that would be a true alternative and you would overcome
my first objection to this proposal. But, that is not what this
proposal does. This proposal merely eliminates the twenty-five
day leeway that the legislature would have to organize, to go home
and talk to its constituents, to hold committee meetings, or to
recess for the holidays. Looking at the merits of the delegate
proposal, actually since I contend it is no alternate at all, no
alternative, we would have to get into the merits of it. What does
it do? It severely limits the legislature and it severely curtails
and actually reinjects the problems that our committee tried to
solve in giving the legislature more latitude in which to meet.
The committee studied this long and hard. We heard testimony from
pros and cons. We heard testimony from the Legislative Conmiittee,
from the Speaker of the House, from the President of the Senate,
I would say almost every person that we heard told us that we
needed more time, the legislature needs more time in which to do
its job. They say we have a good legislature. We come down here
for thirty days every other year and we have to cram in billions
of dollars worth of appropriations and many, many technical
statutes and laws and we just can't do it; we don't have enough
time for committee meetings. Under our proposal, the Comalttee
Proposal No. 3, we have eliminated that objection.

Also, another thing that this alternate proposal would do
Is eliminate even the possibility of having a split session
which this convention adopted not more than two days ago.

So, I urge you to defeat this Delegate Proposal No. 103.

Treasurer Lowe in the Chair
Further Di scuss ion

MR. RAYBURN

Mr. Acting Chairman and fellow delgates, I'm not going to
take but just a moment. ,, ,Dr. Weiss, I'm sorry I interrupted you
so quickly a while ago that you forgot what you had heard when I
mentioned the word chiropractor, I just done that to kind of let
you know that there's a lot of people would like to keep us down
here on the weekends and entertain us. I think we have a good
proposal. I want to disagree with my good friend, Mr. Avant,
I have not heard one of my constituents criticize that particular
proposal that we adopted in reference to when and how the legislature
would meet, maybe you have; you know; I have not heard the first
one. Now, I stood here and agreed to have a split session, to vote
for one. I intend to fulfill and carry that agreement out if I'm
in the legislature when the time arises. I personally know that I
can represent my people better If I have an opportunity to go home
on a Saturday afternoon and spend Sunday and maybe come back here
on Monday and talk to them about what we are doing, talk to them
8 little about what's been going on and keep them a little better
Informed, With the tremendous growth we have in this state, with
the extra duties we have to do, it's going to be hard in the near



future for us to have much time off If we've got to meet sixty
consecutive days and believe me, I know of what I am talking about.
Just like you know here in this convention, maybe we could have short-
ened our time a lot but we didn't because we passed bills; we
passed amendments; we reconsidered them. Certainly, we found out
problems, we are finding out problems as time goes on that we
didn't find out about last week. I think we've got a good schedule
to meet. I think a lot of us are committed to try it and try a
split session to see if it works. I hope you do not upset it. We
argued for three or four weeks on the proposal before we adopted it.
It finally was adopted by a good majority vote of these delegates,
and I hope you don't upset it. Dr. Weiss, I just talked to Dr.
Stephenson and he asked me to invite you for ham after dinner tonight.



Question

MR. WEISS

Delegate Rayburn, first, I want you to know I need all the
friends I can get and that was the purpose of speaking before
the group on this particular issue. Sometimes, we don't see eye
to eye. If you recall, and don't you recall, that we did at least
reduce it to sixty days in eighty-five when we worked originally
on this article. But, my question primarily directs itself at:
Do you think Louisiana needs full-time legislators, which you
apparently represent, or can we continue to have the part-time
legislators such as in my area?

MR, RAYBURN

Well, I think at this particular time we are getting along
pretty good with part-time legislators. I think a lot of them
are assigned to committees; and I think most of them serve.
Some of them can't be there at every meeting, just like some
delegates can't be here. Doctor, but most of the legislators I
know are honest and sincere. Contrary to what you said about
how you could buy them, and how you could get them, and how you
could wine and dine them. Some of them wines a lot and dines a
lot, but they come unwound a lot, you know. I don't mind telling
you the telephone people, they wined me a little bit, but when It
come time to vote, I unwound. They've done approached me since It
was all over; they are ready to wine me again. I'll probably go
with them, but I'm going to vote what I want to vote for when the
time comes. I just don't think it's right to stand up here and
say that a body, like your legislature of this state, just to keep
them over here on weekends and wine them and dine them. I just
hate for people to think that way about the legislature because
after all is said and done, they are human beings; they are elected
officials. There are people back home that know them best has placed
their trust and confidence in them just like they have placed it in
every delegate that ran and got elected that's serving here today.

Further Di scussion



MR, LEITHMAN

Mr. Acting Chairman and members of the convention, I'll ask
you to reject this amendment. Perhaps, if Bubba were here, he
could probably express this better than I can but as the assistant
speaker I see some things — and the pace that is kept at the desk —
that the legislator out front may or may not have the advantages
of seeing and reviewing. With the opportunity for us to take a
break and spread these sixty days over eighty-five it's a tremendous
advantage. Your bad bills are passed, and this has been said many,
many times, your bad legislation and your bad bills are passed in
haste; they are passed in confusion and they oftentimes are
held to the ninth hour where they have a better shot at being
passed. I feel that if we have an opportunity to spread this over
eighty-five days, I think you will find those bad bills being
dropped rather than being passed. Another, on a personal viewpoint,
many times on Friday afternoon if I do have an opportunity to get
home, on education matters, I routinely visit my superintendent;
I routinely visit with members of my board and discuss some of these
bills that are being considered in the line of education. I'm sure
the other legislators that are interested and serve on other committees
do likewise in those areas of interest. So, I think just by forcing
sixty consecutive days, I don't think this is in the best Interest
of the people of the State of Louisiana. If there is an alternative,
I would suggest it be considered for rather than the sixty In eighty-
five days' period, I would think it would be better, as Mr. Fayard
said, to go with an unlimited session. I'm certainly not, at this
point, totally in favor of that. So, I do ask — the other legislators
here may not have an opportunity to come before this mike because of
time, but I feel certain that I can speak on nine out of ten of their

opinions and speak on their behalf so, I ask you to reject this

amendment. Thank you.



[3443]



120th Days Proceedings— January 17, 1974



Further Discussion

MR. CASEY

Mr. Acting Chairman and delegates, to me this is certainly
a very important issue because as a member of the legislature
I'm annually confronted with the problem of serving as a
legislator and trying to, during that limited period of time
that we have under the present law, to devote as much time as
possible to a proper consideration and deliberation of the
magnitude of bills and proposals that we have that are introduced
in the regular legislative session. Now, during a regular sixty
day annual session, Dr. Weiss, we have over — last time in 1972 —
had three thousand five hundred pieces of legislation in the form
of bills, constitutional amendments, resolutions, etc., that were
introduced into the legislature that we only had sixty days within
which to properly consider. That is really the heart of the problem.
I think you might have been in error to some extent in thinking that
in the legislature it's really the committee that does all of the
work; that is not quite accurate. The problem is the time is so
limited that the committees cannot properly do their work. Dr.
Weiss, if we adopt this alternate measure and it's approved by the
people, what you're doing through this alternate measure is taking
away from the committee system that we have in the legislature
those twenty-five valuable days when, as legislators, we cannot
meet in general session; allowing, therefore, that valuable time
to the committees to properly function. I might mention this, that
in the last six years that I've been in the legislature and
particularly the last two years, we have made more progress in
legislative reform with.... for our own housekeeping than I know
of in the past thirty years because we have limited the number of
our legislative committees. We will now have legislative, full-time
staff year around with secretarial assistants so that our legislative
committees can properly function. This will be even a more valuable
asset when the legislature goes Into regular session and for these
eighty-five days we can give proper consideration and deliberations
to the magnitude of bills that we have, uoctor Weiss, during the
last thirty days of a regular legislative session the typical legislative
session is spent by going into committee session around 8:00 or 8:30
in the morning, going into general session at 10:00, breaking for
lunch between 12:00 to 1:00, going into general session again
between 1:00 and 4:00, having committee meetings between 4:00 and
6:00, and then going into general session between 6:00 and 9:00;
and we just barely finish. You can imagine that we cannot properly
give proper consideration and deliberation to the magnitude of bills
that we have and these are good legislators; they are not what you
think; these are good legislators. I think they are pretty typical
of the delegates that we have here. I think we have good delegates.
We have some delegates that have expertise in certain areas and others
that have expertise in other areas. There is a lot I don't know about
on matters, that we have touched here. But, I think I know what I'm
doing in certain areas. I hope I have made my contribution and
that's typical of the legislators. They are not out for gain for
their own benefit at all. They are honest people doing an honest
day's work and making their contribution to our state and our
society. I cannot urge you enough. I highly recommend that you
defeat this alternate proposal. I think the committee and this
convention has come up with an excellent proposal. I think it
is a real step toward legislative reform so that we can come away
from the ranking that we have among the states now. We are ranked
about thirty-third as a legislature among the states prior to many
of the reforms that we just recently adopted. I think this is one
of the steps which viV raise the legislature of Louisiana to one
of the finest in the nation. I urge the rejection of this alternative
proposal.

Question

MR. WEISS

Delegate Casey, you said that if this proposal were to be
accepted that the number of days of legislative action would be
reduced. Do you mean that if this proposal is accepted the
people of Louisiana will vote to see that the number of legislative
days are reduced?

MR. CASEY

The end result of adopting the alternative measure, if adopted
by the people, will have the effect of diminishing, of eliminating
the effective number of legislative days that we have. Dr. Weiss.
because so much of our time must be spent on committee hearings.
If we are going to limit the number of actual days to calendar
days only and not eighty-five legislative days, we are seriously
limiting and hampering our legislative activities.

[Motion to limit debate to five min-
utes adopted without objection.^



Further Discussion

MR. FLORY

Mr. Chairman and delegates, I hope you'll give me just a
few minutes of your time to.,.. if you would listen to a couple
of remarks I have to make in regard to this delegate proposal.
I share the view of many of the speakers that have come to this
platform today on this particular issue, in that we are talking
about a very serious issue. Some of the statements that have
been made from this microphone I hope were in the heat of passion
or whatever. I recognize that the legislature has to have adequate
time in order to complete its labors and take care of the business
of this state. Mr. Avant made a statement earlier that it was of
a serious nature to a great number of people of this state. I
say to you that I share that view. I call to your attention just
a couple of years ago when several hundred thousand people of
this state rejected extending the session of the legislature
from the sixty day biannual and the thirty day special session
to regular sixty day sessions. They said emphatically they were
opposed to the extension of the legislative session. I say
that one of the statements made that the committee that considered
this matter, if my memory serves me correctly, their recommendation
to the floor of the convention was for an annual forty-five day
session and this convention, in its wiedom, changed that to what
is now in the proposed new constitution. I know some of the rumors
that have been floated on the floor of this convention as to what
was the real purpose behind this delegate proposal. 1 think that
I could safely represent to you the majority view of those people
that signed this proposal that they were in good faith, sincerely
felt that this was of such magnitude that it ought to be as an
alternative on the ballot. I think it's of serious nature. I know
what is required, I think, in the legislature even though I've
never been a member of the legislature. I have not missed a
session of the legislature in over the last twenty years except
two special sessions— one when I was out of the country, the other
when I was in the hospital. So, I know a little bit about the
mechanism ef the legislature and what is required. I can only
say to you that this proposal was put upon this floor in good
faith. But, I must, in good conscience, tell you that I
do not want to be any part of casting any aspersions toward the
integrity of the members of the legislature; I know them too
well; I know them individually. Regardless of what position
they take on legislation, I don't want to be any party to casting
anything toward the integrity or reflect upon the membership of
the legislature of this state. Mr. Chairman, if I'm in order
at this time, I now move that this proposal be withdrawn from the
files of the convention.

Chairman Henry in the Chair
lAmendment wi thd rawn . j

[Quorum Call: 82 delegates present
and a quorum . ]

Personal Pri vi 1 ege

MR. DENNERY

Mr. Chairman and ladles and gentlemen of the convention, I
was going to ask for a suspension of the rules for the purpose
of asking the convention to adopt the amendment which is before



Online LibraryLouisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973)Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 9) → online text (page 325 of 359)