The Louisiana Bond Commission on Thursday voted to block two powerful banking institutions from involvement in a multi-million-dollar road financing project because they adopted anti-gun policies following February’s school shooting in Florida, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and other news agencies have reported.
Citigroup and Bank of America are out as potential underwriters for the $600 million financing effort because they announced earlier this year that they would only work with firearms retailers who adopted strict rules on gun sales, the Washington Times explained. Those restrictions are greater than required by federal law.
This appears to be a classic case of “what goes around, comes around,” reportedly led by Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry and State Treasurer John Schroder, commission chairman, published reports indicated. The decision was on a narrow 7-6 vote.
It got support from Republican U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy who observed, “If you have zero respect for the U.S. Constitution, then you don’t need to do business with the state of Louisiana.”
According to the Washington Times, opponents of the vote predicted the state would be sued, but Landry was quoted by the newspaper insisting that the state commission does have discretionary authority to “determine whether or not we want [an] agent to represent the state that restricts the Second Amendment rights that our citizens have.”
A report in The Advocate noted that Bank of America “handles 18 percent of the state’s general obligation bonds and Citibank administers another 5 percent.” The Bond Commission’s vote amounts to a wake-up call that banks should stick to finances and avoid social justice activism.
That report revealed verbal sparring between State Rep. Blake Miguez, serving as House proxy representative, and Citigroup’s Brandee McHale.
Miguez told McHale, “I know you’re from New York. This is Louisiana. This is not California. This is not Canada…this is an infringement on Second Amendment constitutional rights in Louisiana,” The Advocate reported.
The Advocate noted that Schroder made the motion after observing that the banks had tried to infringe on the constitutional rights of Louisiana citizens. He is treasurer and chairman of the Bond Commission.
The highway project involves widening Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge and improving access to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, The Advocate said. There is also a project in Shreveport, the newspaper added.
Following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., there was a wave of anti-gun activism that saw some banking institutions and other businesses, including one large sporting goods chain, get involved by adopting restrictive policies.
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