Lawmaker intimidation bill scrapped by author
BATON ROUGE - A proposal to set up a formal House process for disciplining people who attempt to intimidate lawmakers was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, said he offered the legislation after being threatened for his position in a dispute between the oil and gas industry and landowners over how to clean up environmental damage done in drilling years ago.
But he said several people have expressed concern about the broadness of his suggested House rule change and possible unintended consequences. So, Abramson told the House and Governmental Affairs Committee he was scrapping the legislation (House Resolution 46) to review the idea over the next year. He said he'll return with a proposal next year.
Abramson said the idea was prompted by "someone pulling me aside and attempting to intimidate me through threats in how I would handle a particular piece of legislation that I had before the Legislature. It was completely inappropriate, and it shouldn't happen to any member."
The New Orleans lawmaker identified the person as lawyer Jimmy Faircloth, a former executive counsel to Gov. Bobby Jindal who is representing landowners on the oilfield contamination issue. Faircloth said he didn't threaten Abramson when talking to him.