Bobby Jindal faces recall petition
Bobby Jindal comes under blistering criticism around the state for his refusal to veto a bill doubling state legislators' base pay from $16,800 to $37,500.india Updated: Jun 28, 2008 15:25 IST
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, touted as a potential running mate to likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain, faces a recall petition, stemming from his failure to veto a legislative pay raise.
A recall petition was filed on Friday against Jindal, the first Indian American governor of a US state. He has come under blistering criticism around the state for his refusal to veto a bill doubling state legislators' base pay from $16,800 to $37,500.
Four lawmakers, including Republican House Speaker Jim Tucker, are also objects of recall petitions filed in recent days.
Forcing a recall election against Jindal will be a tough task. It would require verifiable signatures from well over 900,000 registered Louisiana voters. Still, the publicity attending a recall effort illustrates an abrupt change in public attitude toward the young conservative Republican. Jindal, who easily defeated 11 opponents last year, ABC said.
Jindal has repeatedly criticised the pay raise as excessive but said he would not veto it for fear of jeopardising his legislative agenda.
"The voters of our state are angry that the legislature more than doubled their own pay and I agree with them," Jindal said in a news release on Friday.
"It was excessive and they should reverse it. I'm sure more voters will take extraordinary steps to show their anger over the pay raise before this is all said and done - that's how a democracy works."
To force a recall election, a petition needs at least a third of a district's registered voters, gathered within 180 days of the filing of the petition. In Jindal's case, a petition would have to have a third of the state's more than 2.8 million voters, meaning more than 933,000 signatures would be needed.
Meanwhile, upset over US Supreme Court's ruling striking down a Louisiana law permitting the death penalty for child rapists, he signed a law allowing for chemical castration of sex offenders.
The legislation would allow judges to impose the drug treatment on those found guilty of certain crimes: molestation of a juvenile, aggravated rape, forcible rape, second-degree sexual battery, aggravated incest and aggravated crime against nature.
The drug is intended to diminish sexual impulses. For first offence sex crimes, the judge has the option to order the hormone drug to lower testosterone in the suspect. It's mandatory injections for second and multiple offences.The injections are to be given at least a week before a convicted sex offender is released from prison.
Jindal has said he will seek to enact laws that would invalidate the Supreme Court ruling.
Legal analysts said Jindal's pledge to keep the death penalty by amending state law may be designed to win him political credit but stands little chance of becoming reality as the state doesn't have the authority to override the apex Court decisions that are based on interpretations of the federal Constitution.