BATON ROUGE -- The House reversed itself Monday and approved a tax rebate bill for the New Orleans Hornets after failing to approve it last week. House Bill 1072 by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, cleared the chamber 60-41 after being sidetracked 49-46 last Wednesday, four votes short of what is needed to pass most bills through the House.
Ron Forman, chairman of the Superdome Commission, the state agency that oversees the New Orleans Arena, the Hornets' home, and Doug Thornton, the regional vice president of the company that operates both the Superdome and the Arena, were in the Capitol most of Monday to visit with lawmakers.
The only New Orleans area House member to vote against the bill was Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Franklinton, who represents a portion of St. Tammany Parish. Reps. Jerry "Truck" Gisclair, D-Larose, and Rep. Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs, were absent for the vote.
The tax rebates are a key part of the state's new lease agreement with the National Basketball Association in a deal recently negotiated to keep the Hornets in New Orleans through 2024, and possibly 2029.