Rep. Neil Abramson, an otherwise intelligent attorney, has proposed a House Rule allegedly to prevent intimidation of leges. See HR 46 here.
Here’s the abstract from the proposed rule:
Provides procedures for the House of Representatives to censure or discipline
nonmembers for behavior which constitutes an attempt by the nonmember to compel,
coerce, or intimidate the member with the intent to influence the member’s conduct
in relation to his position or duty.
No rule needed
There are already laws on the books to deal with intimidation of public officials. See R.S. 14:122.2.
There is no definition in Abramson’s proposed rule as to what constitutes “compelling”, “coercion” or “intimidation”. There’s a fine line between what a lege may consider compelling, coercion, intimidation and what others of us consider grass-roots lobbying.
It could easily be argued that any citizen, grass-roots lobbying group, blogger, talk radio host and certainly every paid lobbyists could be charged with trying to influence a member’s conduct. Even a newspaper editorial writer, columnist or reporter could be charged with trying to influence a lege.
Upon a written complaint by a lege, a citizen can be hauled before a lege committee, put under oath, questioned, and judged. If the citizen is found guilty by the leges, they can be prevented from appearing before the lege.
Guilty as charged
I hereby plead guilty of attempting to influence the leges by compelling them to vote against HR 46.