Louisiana: The State We're In; Legislative Coverage #9
An Good evening I'm Beth George welcome to this legislative edition of Louisiana the state we're in this week we follow the bottle ban bill to its demise. The topic of pro con is the busting of private and public school children and we profile the last of the red hot or Tor's. But first the week's legislative highlights a bill allowing the manufacture and sale of the controversial cancer substance lay a trail clear both the House and Senate this week with a little controversy. The measure now goes to the governor for his signature. Louisiana motorists will need liability insurance to drive it. The Senate passed bills approved by the house. Presently there are some 2 million automobiles in this state. More than a half a million of these are uninsured. There was general consensus that the bill would raise insurance premiums but no one could say how
much a package of bills affecting unemployment compensation benefits was approved by the House. Supporters of the bill said they would go one step toward reforming abuses and the one hundred million dollar a year unemployment compensation program. One of the bills would require those receiving benefits to actively seek work perhaps to keep their workers from meeting other employment some department heads or trying a backdoor approach to restore money cut from their budgets in the general appropriation bill. The Senate Finance Committee is finding that an understanding reached by an ad hoc committee of legislators and the governor may be more difficult to hold together than it was to reach. Part of that agreement aimed at providing funds for pay raises was a hike in fees charged for some state services. A House committee this week went along with some of those requests. And. For observers with a fondness for reruns. There was Representative John Hankel reusable bottle bill a lobbyist for state retailers called it the issue of the session. It was indisputably the sessions most lobbying bill.
As we see in this week's viewpoint take Louisiana has become a cesspool. Legislators this week tried again to outlaw flip top cans in disposable bottles. The bill's proponents stressed that our throwaway society is more ludicrous than ever in light of heavy demands made on energy. Money is wasted on the pickup and disposal of bottles and cans they said. But opponents argue that a return to returnable wouldn't stop littering and would be just as expensive in terms of energy. After three years of trying Representative John Hankel of New Orleans finally got his bill out of committee and led the four five million buy in as it was meant to control. Memories ran out. Unfortunately rather than a tourist attraction Sportsmen's bar die's has taken on the looks of a garbage can. Even the people who have come up to me and tell me they are going to be so smart man will agree with you. That's cans and bottles everywhere. Everywhere there's cans and bottles that we can do
it this way we got to do it another way. So there's been general agreement that there's cans and bottles everywhere. On. The robes. In this state. We simply set up some kind of syndrome. It's not the thermostat them syndrome it's a threat syndrome. We took a breath and tried out the call. That's the second thing I'm trying to accomplish. The third thing I'm trying to accomplish was to save the unfortunate fortunate cause. Everybody of disposing of these things. Heimer Department statistics to indicate that they spend over a million dollars a year let alone on the highway. But there's just this map out of. Suppose your despair was never properly Chapin's you put it your garbage can. It still has to be picked up by the garbage man and taken to a landfill. And most of your garbage
a great bulk of your garbage in this day and time there's these disposable cans and bottles. The last thing that I would like to bring out to you and I think it's been completely missed in all of the argument but it's really a definite true fact. The major opponent of this legislation everywhere. Has been a national approach. There's a very simple reason. To produce that product from here. And ship them here for consumption and have asked them. What can a bottle. Say that our taxpayers pay to have it picked up. And it does not have to be sent back to Milwaukee type of state laws or what have you to be refilled. Mr. Hankel has presented some good arguments. I want to compliment him in the way in a manner and demeanor in which he's conducted himself in his arguments were discussed at some length and I'm glad to see that his arguments
have not lend it to what they did in committee. He threw a beer can at me. Fortunately it was empty. But let me just point out some things. I had some amendments. I don't think they're needed. You can see these arguments right off the bat. Mr. Hinkle says we need little control Granted granted we need little control. And in the past this legislature this body has seen fit to promulgate some rules and regulations and some laws on litter. That. Work. Has been done for these what has been done about them. This is a question. Second use energy and use resources. And then he says use it only once and throw it on the highway. Let me ask you one question. Let's look at practicals. I don't have to cite statistics but you each member out here has been there. Didn't they have bottles and cans on the road when they were only returnable. Do you think a guy who's leaving a bar room after consuming a six
pack and he's got a throw away a five cent returnable bottle in his hands don't think twice before selling it out the window. That's bull. He's going throw it out the window just as fast as anybody. Same with a coke bottle. Last week I did a little survey on my own. I stopped at the parish line between home and tip it out as a big sign that says No dumping allowed. It looked like a parish garbage dump. You never see one that said No dumping a where they wouldn't litter and trash and garbage. And it wasn't just bottles and cans next. About a mile from this point I walked through the ditch. I found nine soft drink bottles. Nine five of them were one way. Bottles were returnable bottles. Nine I think that's not the answer. Making everything returnable Mr. Ban I've been talking about enforcing the letter laws. I'm 50 years old now and we've had little laws on the books for 50 years
and nobody has enforced them and nobody ever well in Louisiana some opponents said the bill would increase the expenses of groceries handling and storing returned bottles would require more employees and more space. Representative Jimmy long of grocers said these higher costs would have to be passed on to the customer. Soft drinks is number 39 of any importance and the retail sales of the food stores of this state. Eighty two point five percent of the adult population of this state concern soft drinks on a daily basis. Now what does this mean the enactment of this bill in my opinion will create some very serious problems. Some very serious financial problems not only for the dealers and the retailers of this state but also for the consumers. So this state the House vote on the bottle bill was conclusive. Only
13 representatives said yes with 88 lined up against the measure. Representative Hankel. Wasn't too close today. Are you going to try again. Of course I'm going to try again. I think that the special interests have that day and I'm hopeful our citizens will start riding their irruption senators and the citizens will have their day in the future. I think it's going to take to make people more aware as always in Louisiana relatively new. It takes a lot and I think it's going to take people who hunt and fish and garden and farmers who adore having junk and trash thrown all over the yards and by use in streams to get active. I think this is legislation that is going to be coming forth in other states it's going to be a trend that won't stop that and any question about that it was adopted in one state in 72. Michigan just voted for a highly industrialized state. Maine voters voted for it. President Carter is going to advocate it I understand in Congress with 18 months
who just can't throw away what God gave us it's impossible Well Mr. Mapes it was a resounding victory for your side today what coalition was working against this bill. Mantha I wouldn't be surprised to find out there is no way of telling but honestly wouldn't be surprised to find out to learn that there were 10000 people working against that bill because of the ramifications of it. Touch truck drivers people in the soda pop industry people and the beer industry warehouseman from the man who sweeps out clear up to the top executive in the company. You have modelers who are geared up for non-returnable. You have. A lot of trucks and equipment. Passage of that bill would have meant if not doubling the transportation at least it would have gone up by a third. It had to reflect the cost of
beverages. It just touched a lot of people's lives and touched a lot of people's livelihoods. How did you let legislators know. Was there a massive telegram phone and letter writing campaign. I think there was there was. It was massive Yes. I don't think that there's been a bill in this entire session that is highly publicized as this container bill and I feel that when the word got out that this was all the organization you needed I think that when the people who are involved in this tremendous industry found out that it didn't touch their livelihoods I think that that's all needed to be done. And yes we've made some efforts to publicize it. And if it did get out in the public and then those who were involved just merely responded. Do you think this is an idea that's going to keep coming up nationally and in this state. Year after year. I think there's no question about it. And Representative Heinkel is an honorable man. He is very sincere about this. Let's talk weather in a few minutes ago
and we shook hands were very dear friends he said. But I'll be back. It was a good week for beer lobbyist been a bad week for one in particular George Brown the Louisiana barely was convicted on income tax charges stemming from the 1975 legislature that the jury found brown guilty of not reporting. Thirty thousand dollars he received from two breweries to assure the passage of a tax break Bill. Testimony not only by brewery Representatives but by legislators and the governor himself led to Brown's conviction and lots of Louisianians hold strong convictions about this week's pro con topic. It seems every time you mix school children with that magic word busing you get something akin to explosives not busing to achieve racial balance for a change. But busing of private school children as outlined in a bill now before the legislature speaking in favor of the bill is Senator Tom Casey of New Orleans.
Thank you both. Senate Bill 246 was introduced into the Louisiana legislature at this session in order to afford the opportunity of having transportation available to all students in public and non-public schools in the state of Louisiana. This is not a new concept. There are about 20 states in the United States that have mandated transportation whether they be public or non public school students in Louisiana at this time we afford transportation to students in public school in excess of five hundred and fifty thousand students. We also furnish transportation at this time for non public school students. And the amount of approximately 40000 students. There are however many public school students about 25000 and non public school students about
43000 who do not have transportation available at this time. All that this Senate bill does is change the law to require that public transportation or that school transportation be made available by the school boards in the state of Louisiana. To those students who do not have it available at this time the school boards themselves are not required to pay for this transportation for the additional students. But the money will be made eventually available by the state legislature. And the bill so reads to that effect in the event that the school board does not have the buses available. It's impractical to afford the transportation to the students or for any reason that would cost the school board additional funds under those circumstances then the school boards would merely tell those parents that we do not have the transportation available. You parents have to finish the transportation and the
state will reimburse that parent the amount of $100 for each student through the state board of education through a reimbursement system established by the state board about education. This is not a new concept. It is constitutional. The mere fact that some religious schools are included in this is no problem at all because this has been recognized as constitutional for the past 30 years in the United States. Thank you speaking against the measure as representing foris done of Shreveport you Beth and Bill 246 which Tom Casey refers to is a bill that we've discussed several years in the US in the state. I have a good friend of mine who is a Baptist preacher that says what the country needs today is husbands who will stand up and say we cannot
afford it. Now Tom didn't tell you about a physical note on this bill is seven million five hundred thousand dollars. And the question I ask today is when we in the legislature. Are examining the appropriation bill and trying to cut the fat. And when we stop hiring people when we are trying to eliminate additional expenditures how can we afford a seven million five hundred thousand dollar new expenditure. It's something that we have been doing without for a long time. And it's my belief that we can continue to do without it. Now this might work good in a large city but the rural areas are going to have a lot of trouble with it. For instance in my parish Cateau my person could live close to the Arkansas
line which is about 30 miles from Shreveport. Yet they can be attending a private school inside the city of Shreveport. And this law is going to. Mandate that the local school board transfer that student from North Caddo Parish into the southern part of the parish. And the fact is that the school boards cannot make up that expenditure. And Tom said one word eventually eventually the state legislature would fund the local school boards. But I am very doubtful that that would come soon. When we're looking for teachers pay raises and state workers pay raises I think we should be looking for ways to cut expenditures and not add to them. So consequently I oppose this bill.
The toughest challenge for proponents is saying so low on spending and all the chorus is singing cut back. Busing however was not the problem. Back in the 1940s it was building roads to get children to school and providing hot lunches to keep them there. Today most senators and representatives try to sever connections with the state's political past. Unlike the subject of this week's profile of time as recently as the days of our own long political persuasion in Louisiana was a heady brew of wheeling dealing in oratory. The first two ingredients thrive as ever and most colorful speech has been replaced by package pronouncements and smiles sculpted according to computer polls flights of verbal fancy may indeed be vanishing but they are anything but dead. One senator and 60 Rayburn of Bogle's that takes the microphone. Now maybe I'm wrong. I don't have a formal education like my friend sent a note from some of the clouds and the. I'm glad to hear about the hot dogs and I
know from whence I came. And I know what it takes. I wanted to just go teach my children to know a little more my child told you I will get on my days. Not even that a kid at the mall. They all go to the lake towards school and some I'll miss the trip to road stuff. 30 was a sweet gum stick could sit on the porch and fit in Ill talk at 15 feet away on the rails. To get numbers up. But she was dedicated and dedicated people. I get all dedicated as I can build building a full year. When I go to run I come on dedicated and I just say take me as I am send to Rayburn. Let's talk about how things have changed since you first came here in the Senate. How long have you been here and have you seen Mark changes over the period of time. We always hear
about new decorum and all this business new legislative independents have things really changed or have things more things change and more the same. Yes they really changed that and voted when I first came to the legislature. Your vote really counted nowadays particularly in the last 12 years under the Good Government ideals of our great state. Most governors get what they want without too much debate or without too much confusion. When I first came the legislature we might keep a bill on the calendar for five days or sometimes a week and we'd pick up one vote one night and lose to the next day. So the following day would pick up a couple of more and times have changed. Correct. Do you think that the governor now exerts more influence than he did say in the days of our long. Yes he does recall back in the air a long day. We had two
political factions in this state long and it long and it's kind of like Republicans and Democrats you belong to one party or the other even though they are lonely and alone the majority of them were Democrats. But nowadays we don't have any so-called party affiliation such as long and long ago days. I guess are gone. And since the early market some days it seems that the government has moved more or less had control. Do you think that's good or bad for the state of Louisiana. Well it's good and it's bad if you without if you get along good with the government. Fine. If you don't get along with him it's little tough. Let me ask you do you think that your power is diminished are you out now. Are you on the outs. I don't know but some old to before reporters said the other day that I didn't have the power I used to have and I don't know whether right or wrong I
had to I made a decision whether to try to be the presiding officer of Senate or where to get what I wanted to stay on the Senate floor and still be chairman of the budget committee and Chairman the finance committee so I let you look like a pretty smart girl. I'll let you figure out where my power is diminished or not. I hadn't lost anything I had to start with. And I really got some things that I wanted done in the beginning. Do you think that he who controls the purse strings then can exercise a great deal of authority. Do you think that it's really important to be on the budget committee the finance committee. Is that where the real action takes place deciding how money is spent. Well I think that adds to any position you might occupy any time that you are aware. Money talks as most people knows and in a time that your chairman the finance chairman the budget committee maybe you've lost your power but you still occupy those positions. And I think that the public in this state. Well what those positions mean.
Let me ask you since you always come across as our. Well I'm for the little man and I'm back home and I'm just like one of the good old boys but I it's been said that you know more about how where money spent in this state and more about financial matters maybe more than you let on. A lot of people that this is sort of just just an image you put on. Is that true. No that's not necessarily true. I have no formal education as most people well know. So I realized when I first came in public life when I first encountered those people that have a formal education I had to do like a said today if I spoke I had to know a little bit about what I'm speaking of. So I have tried to apply myself. I have took advantage of every opportunity I've had to learn to acquaint myself and that's the only reason I have a little knowledge about what's going on in state government. I worked hard at it and yes I came from the rank and file of the average person. I worked 16 cents hour I worked for 36
hours I was working 40 hour work. Bill went in to 35 and got 40 cents. And I think I know and understand the problems of the average people as well better than most members of the legislature. And that's one reason I've always kind of tried to carry the load of the little people in a of this state because they're the people that sent me here. They were no highfalutin no people with degrees in the legislature. It was a little average vote. And so they sent me here and I hope I never betray them. Recently when a newspaper article quoted a fellow senator and saying Rayburn voted and New Orleans and anti black he launched into his long vintage persecuted by the press routine. The senator's not wanting to suffer in silence nor one without friends to speak in his defense. I have never sold a sailboat at Antheil Orleans. You've got some people in New Orleans that moved the Capitol down. I don't mind if you let them. Occasionally I've had to
take issue with them and stop them. Orleans today and I think my record will reveal. I've been asked that Orleans Parish its most of the people that represents that particular parish. I have on many occasions took issues with them because now they get half every dime of the cigarette tax paid in their state to get half of it. If you leave me alone and get all of it and sometimes you got to draw the line. And sometimes I have took issue with the people of New Orleans. Basically I stand on my record with the people of Orleans all the black people of this state is that little people to say it and I don't know where a guy is and he won't tell me. And I think that's an injustice to me would be to you or your child or your children or anybody else for some reporter who has outright privity to say what they think and they say somebody said it and they won't tell you who said it. I think it's ridiculous when you plays by the vote of confidence getting you on the floor of the Senate the other day.
I'm certain it was. I think that was a tribute to me. I've been here since 1948. I've never seen that happen in for an individual and I don't say that braggadocios matter. But we've spent most have known by my friends that know me best. Coming to my defense and it made me feel good. Yes it did. Did you arge anyone to go out there and say hey you better go up and talk. I didn't hurt anybody I had several come talk to me and tell me. No it's not true. No they don't treat you right and I guess they went on OWN. I didn't merge them. I'm more educated electorate and the person Rayburn calls that little Cajun governor and cut into the legislature's power to do as it sees fit. You'll have to ride with the waves since the state's veteran legislator since many bills and amendments are out of your hands. Oh right now I think it will tailor made up think the majority of the legislature realize how far we can go. And I think the die is cast so to
speak. One more thing in the future for you. Are you gonna run again or are you tired of the farm work culture department what are you going to do some time back. Thank you. I've had it. You know like that reporter said. And then sometimes I think that maybe I could do a little more good politics I guess is like making love. The longer you do it the better you like it. And once it gets in your blood it's a disease so to speak. I'm sure it is and sometimes I think well maybe I'd be better off. My wife would be the happiest woman in this state in this nation if I would walk into a night at a mall and say I've had it. I'm through. I quit and I resigned because I've been saying all my life I had no home life so to speak I've had no companionship. I've been busy trying to help people but it gets in your blood. It's just a matter of what you like or what you don't like. Worse like when you meet somebody want something you can't do it.
You see all around you that cost center I had I had one on my car in two years. I don't want to catch me calling about 90 percent I do and then my like I want to go out with me. It's ironic that Radburn would lambaste the media these days in the Senate and uses his Wedmore to burst other people's balloons and send up any of his own just the sort of accusations he would fire at the press. More on accusations and on balloons. You'll have to join us next week on Louisiana the state we're in. I'm back George. Good evening. On.
- Legislative Coverage #9
- Producing Organization
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting
- Contributing Organization
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
- AAPB ID
Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority
Producing Organization: Louisiana Public Broadcasting
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Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Identifier: LSWI-19770617 (Louisiana Public Broadcasting Archives)
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- Chicago: “Louisiana: The State We're In; Legislative Coverage #9,” 1977-06-17, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-93gxf41r.
- MLA: “Louisiana: The State We're In; Legislative Coverage #9.” 1977-06-17. Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-93gxf41r>.
- APA: Louisiana: The State We're In; Legislative Coverage #9. Boston, MA: Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-93gxf41r