Teachers sign the petition to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal during the legislative session in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (John Guidroz / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 11:27 AMOne of the leaders of the efforts to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, has denied a request by the Republican Party of Louisiana for names, addresses and signatures on the recall petitions. The public records request was sent to Angie Bonvillain, one of the teachers that begin the recall initiative, by Jason Doré, the executive director of the state’s Republican Party. Bonvillain and Anne Reeves, another teacher involved in the recall effort, said the request for the names was a bully tactic by the Republican Party. “They’re trying to use intimidation and scare tactics and lies to mislead people,” Bonvillain said. “I think they have forgotten this is America.” Bonvillain said Doré was “throwing a temper tantrum because he’s not getting his way.” “Personally, I believe it’s an intimidation, a scare tactic just to try to push us,” Reeves said. “I think they are worried because we are making a lot of headway here. We are getting tons and tons of signatures, and they’re seeing that we are making progress, and I feel like they’re bothered by it.” Doré denied that the request was an attempt at bullying. “We are simply asking for these recall organizers to comply with the law,” Doré said in an email. “We saw the teacher unions attempt to bully and intimidate legislators all session. They lost, and now they are attempting to do the same through abusing the recall process.” Doré cited a Louisiana public records law which states “upon the signature of the first elector, the recall petition, including the name, address and signature of each elector who has signed thereon, shall be a public record.” The law was last amended in 2004. In a letter to Doré, Bonvillain’s attorney, Thomas Filo, mentioned a 1977 opinion by then-state Attorney General William J. Guste Jr. that states “it is the opinion of this office that once the recall petition is filed with the Registrar of Voters it then becomes a public record.” The “first and foremost” reason Filo gave for not submitting to the Republican Party’s request was the lack of a cumulative list of signatures. Bonvillain and Reeves also said that such a list does not exist because there are several signature lists circulating around the state and the area. Filo also said Bonvillain does not meet the legal requirements to be the custodian of such a list because she is not a public official or head of a public body. Bonvillain said she was hopeful that the case would continue on to court in Calcasieu Parish. “We are ready, willing and able for it to go to court. We want it to go to court,” Bonvillain said. “This is an abuse of power, and a precedent needs to be set. I feel like the governor has way too much power. He knows it and he abuses it.” Reeves offered a similar opinion: “I don’t think they want any more press in Calcasieu, to be honest with you.” Bonvillain said the recall petitions began because of the education reform package that passed during the recent legislative session. Reeves said she did not know how many signatures have been collected. More than 950,000 signatures would be needed to recall Jindal and around 9,000 would be needed to recall Kleckley. Reeves said she did not know what the Republican Party planned to do with the signatures, but that the request was alarming. “I personally think they’ll comb through these signatures and if there’s anybody who is a state worker, (there’s a) possibility that their job could be at risk based on Jindal’s record. Based on when somebody does not agree with him, he simply lets them go. They lose their job,” Reeves said. Doré said the Republican Party has “no plans to ‘use’ the names, addresses and signatures. The fact is the law states that this information is a public record and the public is entitled to see what the recall organizers are doing and the progress of their efforts.”
Posted By: Kathy Bonsall On: 6/27/2012
Title: Attorney Fees?
If you ladies who are spearheading this recall need help with attorney's fees, please put the word out. I would be glad to contribute to the cause, since you speak for ALL of us. I thank you for all of your efforts, and admire you for your unwavering representation. "Those who can, teach. Those who can't go into some less significant line of work." From one of those lowly educators that the governor blames for all of the evils in the world. You no, alll uv uss ignurant teecherz who or not edukating the chilren uv Looeezeeanna lik we shuld be. Sew them kidz need too geaux to them there Charter Schools wich wil pervide a beter edukashun fur thoze babys, or sew say Bobby an Chuck!