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Don Surber: Bobby Jindal just said no to a new law

By Don Surber, Editorial writer/columnist

There is a rationale for every tax, every law and every government agency, but added together all these taxes, laws and agencies are crushing the nation.

Which brings me to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who emerged as a rising Republican star in 2007 when he ditched Congress for the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge.

For a while, he was on John McCain’s short list for vice president. Thank God and Sarah Palin, Jindal escaped that train wreck. It turns out Sen. McCain couldn’t lead a Boy Scout troop to ice cream, let alone a presidential campaign.

However, Gov. Jindal in his response to President Obama’s first state of the union address Jindal laid the biggest egg since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

But the governor is young -- he turned 43 this month -- and quick on the uptake. Apparently he is getting the job done in the Pelican State.

Never heard of Hurricane Gustav? That’s because Gov. Jindal oversaw the evacuation of nearly 2 million people without many hitches.

That’s like depopulating West Virginia in a few hours.

This week, the governor did two things that deserve national attention.

Jindal vetoed a bill passed by his own party and he is fighting an education reform.

The bill would have required dogs riding on the back of a truck on the interstate to be caged or tied.

Perhaps Louisians could put helmets on their dogs as well.

Jindal was blunt and unapologetic in his veto message.

“Animal cruelty is explicitly prohibited by current law, and I trust that our citizens can care for their pets without the nanny state intervening to dictate how a dog is secured in the bed of a pickup truck,” he wrote.

Wow, someone trusts the individual citizen over the combined wisdom of 39 state senators and 105 state representatives.

Animal rights people are upset but Jindal preserved a way of life that Republican state Sen. Bret Allain vigorously defended during the debate on the measure.

“I cannot go back home to my district and tell my people that you can no longer ride your dog in the back of the pickup truck,” Allain said. “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

Dogs in the South were made to ride on the back of a pickup.

The governor also is pushing to have Louisiana drop out of the Common Core program, in which states banded together to voluntarily develop a national standard for education.

Conservatives dislike Common Core because they fear it would cede even more control of local schools to a national authority. Many of them believe the program will push even more of the liberal agenda on the captive audience of schoolchildren.

Liberals defend Common Core because conservatives oppose it.

So far, Jindal has been unable to persuade his own party to drop out of the program. His boilerplate argument that the state needs “Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test” is a clunker.

But the more compelling argument is that someone -- the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- profits off these tests.

“The governor said Louisiana’s agreement to buy the test doesn’t comply with state law,” the Times-Picayune reported.

“It calls for the state to enter into a contract without going through a competitive bid process, he said, so the consortium must be considered against other options.

“Jindal said competition would surely result in a different exam because the consortium ‘is, at least anecdotally, more expensive than many of the other tests offered out there’.”

Which reveals the dirty little secret about school testing: someone makes a buck.

For example, the tax-exempt company that sells SAT and AP paid former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton $1.3 million a year when he was its CEO.

Over the years, the citizenry has suffered education reform upon education reform with the result being that education spending by government at all levels now equals Pentagon spending. That does not include college.

The nation does not need more laws and new programs. The people need time to digest the laws already on the books -- and to remove the laws that do not work.

This week, the state Supreme Court struck down the criminal conversation law.

What is criminal conversation? A 17th century euphemism for sex between adulterers.

The law had its rationale. They all do. We need to be more selective in our legislative choices.


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