Rep. Austin Badon: “You got sidetracked folks — you got sidetracked. You had the old okey-doke pulled on you. ...We turned this issue into something completely different than what it was.”
The full House of Representatives Thursday jumped over dozens of bills up for debate and went directly to a controversial bullying bill, gutting language in the legislation that would have expanded the existing state anti-bullying law to include protections based on sexual orientation. Despite the watering down of the bill, it still failed final passage by a 53-43 margin.
House Bill 112, known as the “Safe Schools Bill,” was filed by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans. It made it out of the House Education Committee last week by an 8-4 vote following impassioned exchanges between Badon and opponents of the bill led by social-conservative groups Louisiana Family Forum and the Baptist Convention.
Thursday morning House members approved amendments to Badon's bill filed by Reps. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, and Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport. The amendments killed references to “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, physical characteristic, political persuasion, mental disability, or physical disability, as well as attire or association with others identified by such categories.”
Debate about the bill was passionate and, at times, shrill. Edwards, considered a rising star in the state Democratic party, insisted he wasn’t “carrying water for the [Louisiana] Family Forum.”
But it was Seabaugh who led the charge for the agents of intolerance: “This bill was intended to promote an agenda and force teaching alternative lifestyles to our children,” Seabaugh insisted. “Every person who testified [on behalf of the bill] was either gay or testifying on behalf of someone who is gay, so let’s not delude ourselves about the intent of this bill.” Seabaugh later added, “This language [in the bill] is straight out of the lesbian, gay, transgender playbook.”
Following the approval of the amendments, the bill’s sponsor sounded resigned yet frustrated. “It’s a sad day in Louisiana,” Badon told his fellow lawmakers. “We have the authority and the power to address this issue. It’s a sad day when we won’t stand up and help the parents. For us to sit here and say that the conservative, religious right is going to dictate to us how we’re going to vote, I’m embarrassed by that. You should be ashamed of that. ...You got sidetracked folks — you got sidetracked. You had the old okey-doke pulled on you. ...We turned this issue into something completely different than what it was.”
Lafayette Reps. Page Cortez, a Republican, Rickey Hardy, a Democrat, and independent Joel Robideaux voted in favor of the bill, as did Carencro Democrat Bobby Badon. Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, voted against it.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, December 09, 2013:
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
An ordinance to phase out a 2 percent rebate to Lafayette merchants for collecting and remitting on time sales taxes cleared the City-Parish Council by a 6-3 vote.
Louisianans are the fourth most likely to use profanity yet also the fourth most likely to be courteous. So, please, just kiss my a** ... if it’s not too much trouble.
The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority voted Tuesday to authorize two lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A long night on the field in Seattle got even worse off of it, and now the Saints are operating on a compressed time-frame as they brace for surging Carolina with first place in the NFC South at stake.
Public school letter grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion won't be affected by Louisiana's shift to more rigorous educational standards for two years, the state's top school board decided Tuesday.
Vitter told The Associated Press that he is sending an email to supporters Wednesday and is in discussions with his family about the possibility.
The Ragin' Cajuns go for New Orleans Bowl three-peat, this time against the Tulane Green Wave, which is making its first postseason appearance since the Hawaii Bowl in 2002.
Louisiana has joined four other states in filing a so-called “friend of the court” brief in support of Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government over new flood insurance rates set to go into effect.
Kerry Wayne Bertrand was charged Monday for the alleged killing of his stepdaughter, Skylar Lee Credeur, a UL Lafayette chemistry major found dead in the bathtub of her family home in August.
Louisiana's state school board is considering a two-year delay for some consequences tied to the phase-in of more rigorous educational standards, called Common Core, at public schools.