Notes from the La. Legislature
Gov. Bobby Jindal said he doesn't support a proposal that would ban smoking in Louisiana bars and gambling facilities. But he also said Tuesday that he won't veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

"Personally, I think adults can make decisions for themselves," Jindal said at a wide-ranging briefing with reporters, when asked about the smoking ban bill.

He said many bills proposed this session, like the smoking ban, seem like "nanny state" measures. However, he added of the smoking ban, "I don't feel strongly enough that I would veto that bill."

Both the House and Senate will consider whether Louisiana's ban on smoking in restaurants and most buildings should extend to bars and gambling facilities.

Current law prohibits smoking in restaurants, public places, public buildings and most places of employment. The proposals (Senate Bill 186 and House Bill 844) would require bars, casinos, off-track betting facilities and other gambling spots also to become smoke-free.

Supporters say the measures would help protect workers and patrons from health problems tied to secondhand smoke. Opponents say people can choose whether to work at a bar or casino and patrons can choose whether to frequent them, and they say a ban could harm businesses.

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House Speaker Jim Tucker said a Senate-backed proposal to tweak the governor's exemption from open records laws doesn't go far enough.

The Senate overwhelmingly supported a Jindal administration bill (Senate Bill 278) by Sen. Jody Amedee, D-Gonzales, that would replace the governor's blanket exemption to the open records law with a more qualified exception.

"We need to come out of the session with something that improves that situation. I don't think where we are with the Amedee bill gets us there," said Tucker, R-Terrytown.

Supporters say Amedee's bill would open more records to public scrutiny.

"We think it gives more disclosure, rather than less," Jindal said Tuesday.

Critics say the bill could instead be used to restrict access in government departments that aren't currently shielded.

The House takes up the bill next. Tucker said he and the House will try to work with Jindal to come up with a measure that allows meaningful access to a governor's records.

"The last thing the governor can have is to come out of this with nothing," Tucker said.

A separate measure that would have opened nearly all the governor's records to the public was killed in a House committee amid strong opposition from the Jindal administration.

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For the second time in a month, the Federal Trade Commission has weighed in against a bill pending in the House that seeks to outlaw school-based dental clinics.

The agency said the latest version of the proposal (House Bill 687) "would further restrict competition to provide dental care to underserved children in the state, without providing any countervailing benefits to consumers."