I’ve grumbled some about Bobby Jindal’s ultra-conservative views on social issues. But he campaigned heavily on cleaning up Louisiana’s state government, which is an issue that nearly everyone, irrespective of ideology, would probably agree with. It looks like in his first two months in office he’s remained focused on those goals. Indeed, his first major legislative battle went in his favor:
Six weeks into the term of Gov. Bobby Jindal, an extensive package of ethics bills was approved here this week, signaling a shift in the political culture of a state proud of its brazen style. [...]
Grudgingly, pushed by public opinion and business pressure, it went along. When the legislative session ended Tuesday, lawmakers had passed bills aimed at making their finances less opaque, barring their lucrative contracts with the state â€” some have been known to do good business with them â€” and cutting down on perks like free tickets to sporting events. The bills, which advocates say will put Louisiana in the top tier of states with tough ethics rules, now await Mr. Jindalâ€™s signature, which should come early next week. (link)
Interestingly, one of the most glaring signs of potential corruption is a particular steak house, located next door to the Capitol building:
Similar indulgences, of course, have gone on in other state capitals, though Louisiana does rank low nationally on state ethics charts. Here, however, they are carried out with particular frankness: lawmakers are known to scour the chambers for willing lobbyists when a dayâ€™s session ends, hoping to cadge a dinner invitation. They need not look far.
Mr. Jindal took that penchant on as well, effectively aiming a blow at the Capitolâ€™s de facto sister institution, Ruthâ€™s Chris Steak House, where business is transacted nightly, courtesy of lobbyists (â€œsponsors,â€ in legislatorsâ€™ parlance).
The governor, ignoring cries of pain and going against the unswerving devotion to Louisianaâ€™s food culture, pushed for the $50-a-meal cap, at any restaurant. No more unlimited spending. (link)
Time for the lawmakers to go easy on the free steaks, I guess. Maybe a trip to the gym instead, courtesy of coach Jindal?
Another thought: how long before someone makes a ‘holy cows’ joke? (Think: steak house + Jindal’s Indian ancestry –> attempt at teh funny)
Incidentally, here at Sepia Mutiny, our stringent anti-corruption rules dictate that bloggers have a free meal cap of exactly $4.60 — just enough for a single Kati Roll…