The Louisiana senators have removed the chairman of the state’s gambling regulatory board on the final day of the regular legislative session.
Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, was among 11 appointees selected by statewide elected officials to work in agencies or serve on boards who did not receive approval from the Senate.
Senators debated the confirmation decisions behind closed doors in an executive session. They did not discuss the appointments publicly, but rather crafted a list of hundreds of appointees who were confirmed in one vote. Jones was not on that list.
“There’s not a whole lot I can really say about that,” said Republican Sen. Sharon Hewitt, who chairs the Senate committee that holds confirmation hearings and manages the process.
“It was a total surprise to me,” Jones said. “After the Senate had adjourned, I got a call from a staffer with the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. He said, ‘I have to tell you that you were not confirmed.’ I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said it again, and I said, ‘Wow.’”
Besides Jones, two other members of the Gaming Control Board received approval for their appointments, Hewitt said.
Jones, a retired state police deputy superintendent, was appointed chairman of the board by Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal. Edwards, a Democrat, reappointed Jones in July.
“I am deeply disappointed that Ronnie Jones was not confirmed after his decades of service and experience in gaming regulation,” Edwards said in a statement.
Edwards described Jones as “uniquely qualified to fairly and ethically lead the group that regulates the gaming industry.”