Legislation is headed to the state House floor that would exempt Baton Rouge Port Commission members who are grain farmers from state conflict of interest laws.
The House and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Tuesday Senate Bill 754, which would provide a new exception in the ethics law for otherwise prohibited conduct.
SB754 would allow a port commission member, a member of his immediate family or an entity in which he has a substantial economic interest to sell grain to the elevator operator Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
The public grain elevator is owned by the port.
The member would have to recuse themselves when issues come up related to management and operation of the grain elevator. In addition, the terms and conditions of the grain sale would have to be the same or substantially the same as a sale to a non-member.
Jim Monroe, with the Louisiana Farm Bureau, said the port is the only place to sell grain in a three parish area. The Farm Bureau nominates some port members and he said grain farmers would add their expertise.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics advised earlier that the arrangement would create a confict.
The committee amended SB754 to only apply to the Baton Rouge Port situation.