Louisiana Legislative Session 2018

When Your Governor and Legislators Leave You with a Mudbug Mouth

By Kenneth Cooper

You ever had crawfish that just weren’t purged right, the kind where when you bite down and suck on the head and intertwined with all the crab boil and seasoning is something that just doesn’t taste right? That something is usually mud. And the typical reaction is to never look at those crawfish or that boiler the same ever again.

Our governor and legislators are notorious for the lack of quality coming out of their pots. Having left us with mud in our mouths after the last special session they cooked up, they’re back with a new batch. Since they can’t torture us with more talk about taxes this session, there’s another topic taking up the prominent spot on the menu. And that is…

#1 school safety or how to stop kids from getting shot

So you have this child and you’re out buying this child school supplies for the new school year. While looking at the school bags, have you ever thought about what type of bullet the bag can stop? Probably not. But even if you did, it’d be an irrelevant consideration, because presently it’s illegal for your child to show up at school with any type of body armor. The most likely reason is that it would be harder for the police or a school security guard to shoot your child if that became necessary. But if SB 178 makes its way to the governor’s desk, then you’ll potentially have the option of strapping 5 to 6 pounds of Kevlar to your little bundle of joy’s back. Too much?

Well, you might change your mind if HB 332 or HB 271 become new Louisiana law. Because then you can rest assured that your child stands less of a chance of being shot by a mass shooter or teacher. Under present law, you don’t have to worry about the teacher because they’re not allowed to carry guns on school grounds, but the two bills would allow school boards to give teachers that right. So, imagine someone shows up to shoot up your child’s school and a shootout ensues between the shooter and the teacher with your child caught in the middle. In a perfect world, the teacher will quickly take out the shooter. If not, thanks to SB 178, your child could crawl out of the classroom under the shield of his or hers new back pack.

SB198, also known as the Safe Schools Act, would give schools greater leeway when it comes to having your child arrested. This is a preventive measure designed to make it unnecessary for the teacher to have to use a gun or for your child to have to take cover behind a back pack. Just like stand your ground laws are based on the subjective assumption of what constitutes a threat, this bill grants that same subjectivity to school employees. If a school employee “reasonably” deems your child a threat, then that employee can have your child arrested. You can say that school districts here in Louisiana have already been running a pilot program on black children, since according to one study, black kids make up 40 % of the student population but 70 % of those arrested.

With the #metoo movement still in effect, legislators are also considering a number of sexual harassment-based bills. These range from what type of court would handle state related cases to requiring all state employees to take an hour-long class on sexual harassment.  Also, up for its annual rejection is a bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 by 2020. But the bad taste from the failed special session to balance the budget looms, like when you’re at a crawfish boil, and the crawfish taste like mud, and you’re left picking at sausage, corn, and potatoes, wondering how you can ever trust the cook to handle these small things when he failed at what matters most. I still taste a lil mud in my mouth. Do you?

 

 

 

 

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