LOUISIANA SEN. SMITH EXPLAINS SEX TOYS Ask anyone in Louisiana to name the most pressing challenges facing the state, and you’ll get a laundry list of serious issues: our woeful public education system, battered infrastructure, rising health insurance and flood insurance costs, coastal erosion and a crucial, looming budget battle over how to best spend taxpayer dollars.
Democratic Louisiana state Sen. John Smith of Leesville, however, is thinking about sex. Smith’s Senate Bill No. 712 purports to “regulate sexually oriented businesses and their employees.” Smith’s concerned that, say, an adult video store could open next to a church or school, apparently unaware that no city council is going to let that happen anyway.
Smith sure sounds like he’s done a lot of research, as his bill reads like a lengthy clinical distillation of a Penthouse Forum letter. For example, “Nudity or state of nudity means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, vulva, anus, anal cleft or cleavage with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple or areola.” And for the unaware, Smith offers a helpful primer on sex toys: “Sexual device means any three-dimensional object designed and marketed for stimulation of the male or female genitals, anus, female breast, or for sadomasochistic use or abuse of oneself or others and shall include devices such as dildos, vibrators, penis pumps, and physical representations of the human genital organs.”
Elsewhere in his bill, Smith wants to prevent erotic dancers and patrons from having any physical contact. Because in a state where nearly three in 10 adults are illiterate and 84 percent of Louisiana public school students live at or below the poverty line, one of the biggest scourges Louisiana faces is the lapdance.
TUCKER BUMPS TRAHAN Republican State Rep. Don Trahan’s feathers were noticeably ruffled during a debate last week over a resolution that would request a reconfiguration of funding for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges. The change is needed due to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s workforce development plan, which places community and technical colleges on the frontlines of training Louisiana’s emerging labor market. “No one has been behind this push longer than I have,” Trahan said in one of a few high-handed mini-speeches he gave during the hearing.
Before the bill could be properly introduced, Trahan commandeered the microphone (among the many perks afforded to him as chairman) and explained how he was the true catalyst behind House Concurrent Resolution 65, “even though I was bumped down to a co-author,” he added. So who knocked Trahan off the top of the resolution and stole his glory? It was none other than GOP House Speaker Jim Tucker of Terrytown who wiggled his way to authorship (undoubtedly one of the many perks afforded to him as the elected leader of the lower chamber).
Even without Trahan’s name atop, the resolution was advanced by the committee without opposition. It heads next to the full House for further debate, where Trahan will have another opportunity to air his grievances — this time under the glare of Tucker, who appointed him chairman.
HARDY WANTS THIRD CIRCUIT APPEAL COURT IN LAFAYETTE Democratic State Rep. Rickey Hardy is pushing a bill to move the Third Circuit Court of Appeal from Lake Charles to Lafayette. The state already has $13 million budgeted to build a new Third Circuit Courthouse in Lake Charles but Hardy says it’s time to consider a different location. Last week, Hardy was distributing booklets his office created that make the case for moving the court to Acadiana’s hub city. Among his arguments: Lake Charles is more prone to hurricane damage and disruptions than Lafayette, and Lafayette offers a more centralized location. “It’s more efficient,” Hardy says. The Third Circuit, with 12 state appellate judges, covers 21 parishes from Cameron to St. Martin along the coast and Sabine to Catahoula in the northern region of the state. The court has been operating in Lake Charles since its establishment in 1960.
Hardy’s proposed bill, HB 659, is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee this week; Hardy hopes to have the support of Third Circuit judges as well as other state officials. “It’s going to be a challenge,” Hardy says, “but it’s nothing but a hill for a stepper.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Jeremy Alford and Nathan Stubbs
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.