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.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.