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|Jindal: 'A new Louisiana'|
Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a victory for Louisiana residents during a brief stop in Monroe Wednesday following the end of the special legislative session on ethics reform.
The session adjourned Tuesday in Baton Rouge.
Jindal crisscrossed the state Wednesday. He appeared in downtown Monroe at the Vantage Healthcare office building where 250 people, including elected officials, greeted him.
Jindal said the Legislature made good on its promise to embrace ethics reform, which, he said, would prompt the state to rise in national rankings concerning transparency in state governments. Jindal also said ethics reform would make a mark in convincing more young people to remain in Louisiana to live and work.
"We declared war on corruption and these men and women (legislators) did an incredible job," Jindal said. "They took a great first step to a new Louisiana. We had to be ambitious and our goals is to be the best in the country."
He said the state cannot be satisfied with rising from the 50th to 49th in national rankings on ethics in state government. He wants Louisiana to rank in the top five.
"And, it's not all about points and rankings, but about creating jobs," Jindal said, referencing a recent Forbes magazine survey where business leaders across the country said ethics reform was the best approach for Louisiana to attract more jobs.
He said the Center for Public Integrity is recalculating the state's standings in light of the Legislature approving the ethics reform package in the two-week special session.
"They are doing this as we speak, and I guarantee before the end of the week we will be in the top five in the country in many of these rankings," Jindal said. "They said this has been the most comprehensive ethics reform agenda ever tried in Louisiana's history, and I would argue in the country's history."
Jindal predicted the state would move from No. 44 to the top five in national rankings concerning financial disclosure by its elected officials.
"We as the public need greater confidence that our public servants are serving us and not themselves," Jindal said. "With disclosure, we'll have that knowledge."
Jindal also commended the passage of stricter lobbyist disclosure laws. He believes Louisiana will jump to the top 10 among the 50 states in the area of governing behavior among lobbyists.
"What the Legislature did is show they heard the people loud and clear," Jindal said. "The people of Louisiana won during this special session."
"It's an important first step, but it's not the only step we have to take," he said. "It's an historic session and I guarantee we've got the attention of the country."
On March 9, the Legislature will convene a special session "get rid of the taxes we have on businesses," according to Jindal, and invest money to improve the state's roads and infrastructure.
Following that special session, the Legislature will convene the Regular Session at the end of March. Workforce development, health care and education, among other issues, will highlight the Regular Session.