Committee says no to independent candidates in La.

By By John Guidroz / American Press

BATON ROUGE — Legislation that would allow political candidates to register as independents failed to get out of a Senate

committee Tuesday.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs committee voted 4-4 on Senate Bill 60, by Sen. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston.

The legislation would allow candidates to register as independents and have the designation “I” listed on the ballot.

Under the current system, candidates who do not want to register as Republican or Democrat can register as “no party.”

Gallot said the Legislature approved a similar measure — House Bill 533 — in 2011, but Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed it.

Eric Sundstrom, a resident, told the

committee that while he is affiliated with a political party, he would

switch to an independent

party if possible.

“I’m finding it very hard to identify myself with either party, as they’re moving to the extreme,” Sundstrom said.

Kyle Ardoin with the Secretary of State’s Office said the state would not be able to render the legislation effective by the

fall elections.

“It would be impossible for our staff to do all the programming changes necessary to meet the time frame of this legislation,”

Ardoin said.

He said that while some candidates are registered as “no party,” some have specified a particular party in the “other” party

category.

“I think there’s 327 other political parties that are noted,” he said. “We have nine variations of independent.”

Voting for the measure were Sens. Edwin

Murray, D-New Orleans, Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan, Gregory Tarver,

D-Shreveport, and

Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales. Sens. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, Jack

Donahue, R-Mandeville, Neil Riser, R-Columbia, and Robert

Kostelka, R-Monroe, opposed the measure.

The House Committee on Governmental Affairs is scheduled to consider a similar bill, House Bill 193, by Jerome “Dee” Richard,

I-Thibodaux, today.

Meanwhile, the committee approved Senate Bill 245, by Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings.

The legislation prevents a parish or municipal governing authority from appointing more than one member of any immediate family

to the same board or commission.

Morrish said his district has “a lot of small boards and commissions,” and there have been some instances where family members

were appointed to the same board.

Morrish’s bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.