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.
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.