by Mary Quaid, Director
House Legislative Services
The House Special Committee on Preparing for Term Limits, co-chaired by Reps. Don Cazayoux and Jim Tucker, held its fourth meeting earlier this week to discuss the third goal of the committee, namely "partisanship." To assist in this effort, the committee heard from Dr. James C. Garand, Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor at LSU, for an academic perspective on partisanship and term limits.
Dr. Garand’s comments were timely and of much interest to the committee members. While cautioning the committee that he lacked the empirical data to support his opinion, Dr. Garand stated that the combination of term limits and demographic changes caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita will most likely result in a more partisan body, particularly in the House. He further commented and answered questions on the importance of party leadership in facilitating a healthy bi-partisan legislature.
Butch Speer then discussed the history of House partisanship, the various directions that partisanship can take, and the creation of a positive path and proper balance in the Louisiana House. Patricia Lowrey-Dufour joined the clerk in discussing examples of partisanship structures from other states, both positive and negative, and related the results of their state surveys on this issue.
Anne Dunn, Bryan Vincent, Mark Mahaffey, and Mary Quaid wrapped-up the program with information on planning for and effectively utilizing the interim. Anne gave a historical perspective and Bryan gave the results of our seven-state survey. The committee made some very favorable comments regarding future interim opportunities as both an educational and a deliberative tool.
The meeting was well-attended and went past its scheduled time frame of three hours. The fifth meeting of this term limits committee will take place in early May.