Human rights group suing state over ‘discriminating’ prostitution law
A New York-based human rights group believes Louisiana should be a state in which all prostitutes are treated equal.
The Associated Press reports that the nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s “crimes against nature by solicitation” law, which requires all persons convicted twice of receiving money for oral or anal sex to register as a sex offender.
According to attorney Andrea Ritchie, co-counsel for the anonymous plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the 200-year-old state law is creating hardships for gays, transsexuals and poor and minority women who make a living selling their bodies.
Ritchie points out that 97 percent of women who are registered sex offenders in the state have been convicted of “crimes against nature:"
One woman convicted of the crime cannot take her daughter to day care now because of the sex offender designation that restricts the amount of contact she can have with minors.
Laura Maggi writes in The Times-Picayune that the state Legislature last session altered the penalties for crimes against nature by solicitation, lessening a first-time conviction to misdemeanor status — the same as a first-time prostitution conviction:
Louisiana is the only state that has separate laws depending on what kind of sex acts a prostitute engages in, according to the lawsuit. Prostitution can cover any kind of sex for money. But people accused of offering oral or anal sex for money can be charged with “crime against nature by solicitation.”
The lawsuit ... describes the difficulty the plaintiffs have experienced obtaining work and finding housing because they are registered sex offenders. In Louisiana, the driver’s license of a registered sex offender is inscribed with those words in bright orange letters. Registered sex offenders appear in a state database and must notify neighbors of their legal status.
The state Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the case because it has not yet received the lawsuit, according to AP.
Read more on the lawsuit and the “crimes against nature by solicitation” statute here.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.