Friday, 23 May 2014 17:52

Jindal, Bridges, in testy, weird tiff over absences, legislative session

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TheLensOn Thursday, during a press conference at the Capitol in Baton Rouge, The Lens’s reporter, Tyler Bridges, asked Gov. Bobby Jindal, about the Louisiana legislative session and his “frequent” absences.  The Lens had published one of Bridges’s articles regarding concerns that some of the Governor’s allies and foes were having about the governor’s involvement in the session (or some say, the lack of involvement).

 Jindal gave a response to Bridges’s question.  Bridges replied "But you didn't answer my question"

Jindal said he did and then the conversation got testier, wierder and even more farcical --a Q and A the likes of the "Best of Saturday Night Live".

Read the transcript and listen to the audio for greater accuracy...and laugh?

Bridges: ...having good session, but your absences have been so noticeable that your allies are even expressing concern about them. What do you say to them?

Jindal: I think we have had a good session. I agree with you. Looking at our priorities. We've said it felt like it was just yesterday, weeks ago, in the House Chamber. We had three top priorities this session. The first - not necessarily in order - we said that one of those priorities was to make sure that we're training the workers we need for the economy and to provide great education, K-12, as well as higher education. Secondly, we crack down on frivolous lawsuits. Third, we protect and continue to protect Louisiana families, especially in the area of human trafficking. Go back to the first priority. The WISE funds near completion. The money is included in the budget. JUMP START was approved. The K-12 overall has been approved by both Chambers overwhelmingly. And, I think we'll continue to invest in training our folks to fill these great-paying jobs in our economy. You look at cracking down on frivolous lawsuits.  We've specifically highlighted the legacy bill, as well as the cracking down on frivolous lawsuits from the levee board. The legacy bill has now gotten final approval. It was in a posture that we like. We've made great progress on the bills going after the lawsuit, the frivolous lawsuit filed by the levee board. We believe those will make it to our desk. We're obviously near the final stages in getting that done. When it comes to the human trafficking bills, we have a number of bills that have either been approved or are in the final stages in terms of setting up the separate court and protecting victims. I think it's been a great session for the people of Louisiana. We're very close to the end. We'll get a good budget that's done, that's balanced, that doesn't involve any tax increases, that invests in higher education and our priorities. So I think it's been a real good session for the people of Louisiana. 

Bridges: But you didn't answer my question.

Jindal: Sure I did. I agree with you. We believe it's been a great session. I agree.  You said , we, we believe  it's been a great session and I agreed 

Bridges: Well, what did you say to the concerns, even your allies..

Jindal: You can go back. You've asked me this question a hundred times. You can go back and look at the answer I've given you every time.  It's been a great session for the people of Louisiana. 

Bridges: But you're not answering my question, Governor.

Jindal: Print... is this your recording device?


Jindal: This has been a great session, the Governor insisted. The third time I asked the question, he insisted, the third time, this has been a great session for the people of Louisiana. Specifically, he talked about job training, cracking down on frivolous lawsuits and human trafficking. And because I persist, he then made me listen again even though I've heard it a hundred times about the great economic statistics. For example, 4.5% unemployment rate, the lowest in the South, and an economy that's growing 50% faster than the national economy. Breaking a record this session for the number of people working in Louisiana. 50 billion dollars, 80, 000 new jobs coming in economic development, one's that we've announced. Also, the most people, not only working in Louisiana, living in Louisiana, earning the highest per capita income ever. 

Bridges: I feel,

Jindal: Highest per capita income

Bridges: I feel you're not answering my question 

Jindal: No, I'm answering your question.

Bridges: You not answering it

Jindal: I just want, I want to make sure this gets in your story. You can answer, I want to make sure this goes into your story. You're on the web. It's free. It doesn't cost you anything to put this in there. These guys don't have enough inch space. You've got space.

Bridges: Actually, I've never seen your sense of humor before, but..I've heard you've got a good one.

Jindal: Per capita income, you've got to come to grip, per capita income ranking, the highest it's been in 80 years. After 25 years of out-migration, six years in a row,  people move in and stay. It's free to put that on  the web. Everyone knows statistics need to be up there. They are all verified. We can get you, we can get you pages more. It's been a great session for the people of Louisiana.

Bridges: But even your Republican allies are expressing concern about your absences?

Jindal: So, again, in your story, even when I asked again, he continued to remind me of how great this session has been for the people of Louisiana.

Bridges: Because you can't answer, you can't address those concerns?

Jindal: Look, when you meet with legislators every week, we continue to be involved in pushing our priorities. This has been a successful session.

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