April 22, 2021
This coming Monday, May 3, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee will hear SB213 by Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell).
As we have reported, this is an effort to bring a full-scale land-based casino to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany parish.
Last week we asked you to communicate with the Senate Judiciary B Committee and the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. Hundreds of you responded by using our link to email the legislators. We have some great news to report about your efforts.
First, Rep. Mary Dubuisson (R-Slidell) removed her bill, HB 497, from the committee agenda this week. And, the bill is not on the agenda for next week. In other words, it is languishing on the legislative calendar.
Second, at the hearing in the Senate Judiciary B Committee on Tuesday, a resolute group of pastors and concerned citizens showed up to oppose the casino in their beloved city of Slidell. The vote of committee members on the bill nearly ended up in a tie. It turns out that there is also opposition to the casino by gambling venues in surrounding parishes. Legislators on the committee representing those parishes opposed the bill. In the end, the vote to move the bill out of committee was split 3-3. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Gary Smith (D-Norco), broke the tie by voting to move the bill forward.
But here is where we cry foul: Sen. Smith’s wife, Katherine Smith, IS A LOBBYIST FOR THE CASINO SEEKING TO MOVE TO ST. TAMMANY! Baton Rouge Advocate reporter, Tyler Bridges, confirmed this with records from the Louisiana Ethics Board. So, the committee chairman voted to move the casino project, which his wife represents, to the Senate floor.
On Wednesday, we asked LFF Family Facts subscribers to ask Senate President Page Cortez to remand this bill back to the Senate Judiciary B Committee for another vote in which Sen. Smith recuses himself - or - remand it to another Senate committee where the bill can get a fair hearing without the black cloud of an ethically unacceptable vote in which a Senator could be benefitting financially by the lobbying activities of his spouse.
Sen. President Cortez has agreed to give the bill another hearing! On Monday, the Senate Finance Committee will consider the merits of a new casino in Slidell.
Please help us speak to the committee members who are hearing promises from a bevy of lobbyists hired by the gambling industry.
We urge the legislature to reject any parish-wide vote on a casino. Residents and businesses who oppose the casino will have little chance of defeating such a ballot initiative bankrolled by the deep pockets of the gambling industry.
St. Tammany is a great place to live and work. Let's keep it that way!
TAKE ACTION NOW and send your message asking the members of the Senate Finance Committee to oppose a land-based casino in St. Tammany Parish and VOTE NO on SB213 by Sen. Sharon Hewitt. Click the "SEND EMAIL" button at the bottom of this page.
LFF 60-Second Brigade Team
Since you are not able to contact the Senate Finance Committee members using our online system, you can still contact them personally yourself. You can email them at email@example.com.
If you have any questions, contact the Louisiana Family Forum office and we will do our best to assist you.
If you would like to help, even more, your generous donation will allow us to continue to target all issues, including those concerning your district when they come up!
LFF 60-Second Brigade Team