The Senate education committee approved a bill that would put four legislators on the Louisiana High School Athletics Association’s executive committee.
SB 11 states that if any school athletic organization receives funds from the government, the president of the Senate, the speaker of the House, and the chairmen of the Senate and House committees on education must be on that organization’s board.
“All this legislation’s going to do is allow us as legislators to have someone giving us representation and a seat at the table,” Sen. Stewart Cathey, R-Monroe, who authored the bill, said.
Cathay said his phone blew up when football was suspended, and since legislators are the ones who have to answer to their constituents, he said they should also be a part of the decision making process on high school athletics. “I don’t see where adding two members each from the Senate and House of Representatives is a big ask,” he said.
Sen. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, also spoke favorably of the bill. “This wouldn’t give us a majority on any board. Not even close,” she said. “This has nothing to do (with anything) but us having information, a seat at the table and us being able to discuss our constituent concerns when it comes to high school football.”
Eddie Bonine, executive director of the LHSAA, opposed the bill because he feels the legislation is unnecessary. Bonine felt he has been transparent with Louisiana lawmakers.
“We walk a fine line, not as a government entity, but as a private organization,” Bonine said. “If this boils down to a more communicative piece, you’ll always have a seat at the table.”
Bonine added that he would also have no problem with this legislation if it passed, he just believed it isn’t necessary.
Sen. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, added that the LHSAA doesn’t have a member on their executive committee that represents the parents and students’ voice, so legislators can fill that role if this bill passes.
“Our only dog in that hunt is to represent constituents that play sports,” he said.