Montoucet, Morrish address Lions Club

Legislative session begins March 15

CROWLEY - The stream of politicians speaking in Crowley continued on Tuesday as state Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, and state Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley, addressed the Crowley Lions Club Tuesday. 

Both men spoke briefly, saying that they wanted to take questions from the audience and hear about their concerns. Though Morrish is a Republican and Montoucet a Democrat, it is obvious that the two have forged a strong, working relationship since both took office in 2008. 

“The issue of Democrat and Republican, at least for Jack and I, doesn’t mean a hill of beans,” said Morrish. 

“The legislative session (beginning March 15) is wide open this year,” said Morrish. “We will address all issues except for taxes.”

Among the issues Morrish touched on that will be discussed are:

• The budget - which Morrish described as getting better. 

• Education - Higher and secondary. 

• Litigation between levee boards and oil companies. 

When it came Montoucet’s time to speak, he also spoke of “how easy it was to work with Blade (Morrish).” 

Montoucet spoke of some of the issued he would like to address in the 2014 session. 

“We have been bombarded by drainage issues,” he said. “Often companies come in and clog a waterway causing subdivisions to flood.” 

He specifically mentioned problems in the Morse and Egan areas. 

“I’m going to introduce a bill that would make it a criminal charge  for people or companies to cause flood damage,” Montoucet said. “I’m not sure if the bill will pass but as least it will get people talking.” 

Montoucet also mentioned the problem of pipelines that were built in the “’20s and ’30s which are causing problems for farmers who use equipment with better technology that can dig much deeper than in the past.” 

“Farmers are hitting these pipelines,” he added. 

Both Morrish and Montoucet spoke of how the Estherwood pontoon bridge was in need of repair and the improvements made at American Legion Hospital since the merger with Lafayette General Health. 

The men then fielded questions from the audience. 

The men were asked about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s speech at The Grand Opera Houe of the South last week. Montoucet was originally scheduled to speak with Jindal but was asked by the governor’s office if he could relinquish his time due to time constraints by the governor. 

“I’m not going to get into a fight with the governor because he carries a much bigger stick than I do,” laughed Montoucet. “I told him it would cost him. That it was time to talk about a pontoon bridge.” 

Crowley Alderwoman Kitty Valdetero asked about the TOPS program.

“I feel that TOPS is a wonderful program,” she said. “I feel it’s being abused, though, with all these kids that go through our program and leave to go to work in Texas. Is there any way to constrict them from leaving for a set amount of years?”

Both legislators agreed, however, they stated that it would be tough to pass such legislation .

In closing, Morrish and Montoucet said that it was important that their constituents contact them with their concerns for the upcoming session. 

“We need to hear from you,” said Morrish. “And we need to hear from you before we vote.”

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