One day after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued his executive "Marriage and Conscience Order," two New York State lawmakers wrote to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, formally requesting a state ban on all nonessential state-funded travel to Louisiana. New York State Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell and State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Mike Gianaris urged Cuomo to enact the travel ban, similar to travel bans that were set against the state of Indiana after it passed similar legislation.
Both Jindal and the sponsor of the original Marriage and Conscience Act, state Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, insist the issue isn't discrimination but rather protecting private businesses from state sanctions due to their religious views. On May 19, Johnson's bill didn't make it out of a House committee where it was being heard by a panel chaired by state Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans. Stephen Perry of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. both testified that they feared millions of dollars could be lost if the bill passed.
One group, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which is holding its annual Excellence in Journalism conference in New Orleans in September 2016, sent out a letter expressing its members' discomfort with the proposed bill. SPJ National President-Elect Paul Fletcher told Gambit the group hadn't decided its next move after Jindal's executive order was issued, but the SPJ wouldn't be moving its long-planned conference.
Jindal has said he would announce whether he is running for president after the regular legislative session ends June 11. Last week, he announced he had formed a presidential exploratory committee, and The Advocate obtained invitations to two events — a fundraiser and a reception — for Jindal in Baton Rouge June 27. The "Bobby Jindal Exploratory Committee" is holding a "special evening" at the Governor's Mansion that night, an invite-only reception with honorary hosts LSU Tigers Coach Les Miles and New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton.
The ambitious governor's timing couldn't be worse for the city of New Orleans, which last week announced its intention to bid for the right to host one of two upcoming Super Bowls. A day after Jindal's stunt, Mayor Mitch Landrieu made some headlines himself when he issued his own executive order saying New Orleans was an "accepting, inviting city" — seeking to distance the Crescent City from Jindal's nonbinding order and national ambitions.