Steven Jackson’s controversial public records bill hits Senate floor on Monday

   

By: Lady Liberty

As the Louisiana Senate prepares to vote on HB461, a controversial bill proposed by freshman Representative Steven Jackson (D 4/10), questions arise about the standards and accountability expected from our lawmakers. The bill, which seeks to add exemptions, exceptions, and limitations to public records requests, could keep certain information confidential for up to two years. This raises a critical question: what information might local policymakers try to hide if passed?

Representative Jackson’s history is fraught with troubling incidents that the public (and his fellow legislators) may be unaware of. For instance, Jackson was once involved in an incident where he drove an unmarked police SUV and falsely identified himself as a police officer. In another case, he faced allegations of stalking and harassing his ex-girlfriend, cutting the air conditioning cord to her home, and sending inappropriate messages to her nine-year-old daughter, prompting her to seek a restraining order. Additionally, Jackson has been ticketed multiple times for driving a vehicle with a switched license plate, having no proof of insurance, and failing to register the vehicle.

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These examples from Jackson’s past are alarming. The question then becomes: why would Republicans, who recently supported a special session on crime, align themselves with a bill proposed by someone with such a checkered history? HB461, if passed, could allow politicians to manipulate government contracts for personal gain while keeping their actions hidden from public scrutiny for years. Even the Louisiana Press Association opposed the bill, arguing it would severely hamper transparency.

This legislation is a disservice to Louisiana taxpayers. It’s perplexing why some Conservative lawmakers support a measure that could conceal critical government contracts and spending from the taxpayer. Are legislators unaware of Steven Jackson’s criminal past, or is there a broader agenda aligning with the interests of a unified political establishment in Louisiana?

The upcoming Senate vote on Monday, May 13th, will reveal where our legislators truly stand on transparency and accountability. Will they follow a lawmaker with a questionable past, or will they uphold the principles of government transparency? The decision will undoubtedly have significant implications for the future of public trust in Louisiana’s political landscape.

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