Louisiana Legislative Session Highlighted by Hyper Conservative Bills

Last week, NOPD Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick told us rats destroyed NOPD evidence. Apparently, they ate through sizable amounts of seized marijuana. “All the rats are high,” claimed the chief. To be clear, so far, no rats are charged with destroying evidence. And they haven’t even been charged with ingesting marijuana or scurrying around high in public. This, despite two of the three acts are  criminal offenses. But considering D.A. Jason Williams visited the scene probably a plea deal is soon to come. Clearly, these rats are of the lighter hue.

As of this writing, state legislators are in week two of their yearly tinkering session. This year, they submitted 66 pages of bills to pour over. Yes. 66. That is not a misprint. There are more bills than legislators. They do this every year. Assemble, tinker, then agree to assemble, and tinker again the following year. For some reason nobody seems to find this odd. 66 pages. 1,100 bills. Are our lives really that complicated?

Sewerage and Water Board

Not that Mayor LaToya Cantrell needs any help, but Rep.Stephanie Hilferty is working to further downgrade the position of mayor of New Orleans. Hilferty’s bill, HB 569, relieves Cantrell and any future mayor of their S&WB duties. That means no more presidency and no more appointees to the board of directors. Under Hilferty’s bill, the members of the City Council assume all 7 positions on the board. For taking on this humongous responsibility, it doesn’t appear that they also assume a raise.

Police Interactions

Do you ever want to go within 25 feet of a police officer? Like if you see one on the street, do you ever think, “hey I’d like to get closer to that person?” Maybe if they were choking out your friend or doing something else shady. Sure.

HB173 might curb your curiosity. Under this bill, by Rep. Bryan Fontenot, it becomes be a crime to come within 25 feet of a police officer while they’re doing police officer type things. This offense is punishable by $500 or 60 days in jail. Question: Do human beings have an inherent gauge of what constitutes 25 feet? Will this be verified via tape measure or the officer’s discretion? At 25 feet do cell phone recordings become less reliable? If so, is the designation a coincidence?

Education Savings Accounts

Does ESA really stand for defunding public schools? It should. Two bills, SB313 by Sen. Rick Edmonds, and HB66 by Rep. Rhonda Butler, create an Education Scholarship Program. The program allow parents to cash out of the public school system. They can then spend their allotted money on anything BESE deems education related. That could be anything from a pencil to a private school. Butler’s bill limits eligibility to students with disabilities.

But Edmonds’ bill creates the program with no set restrictions. It is open to everybody. For this privilege, the Department of Ed takes a 5% cut out of any funds a parent receives. This type of program is a budget buster in some of the other states that have implemented it. With a budget deficit projected for next year, this is a great way to get back to the fiscal cliffs Republicans like to drive us off.

Remember back when Republicans described public school teachers as unionized losers who do a poor job of educating our kids? Well HB721, by Rep. Lauren Ventrella, continues the long held Republican contradiction of arming these losers with guns. Under this bill, any teacher or school administrator can carry a gun in school. This is legal if they possess a concealed carry permit. Yes, the same permit they just voted out of existence during the special crime session. In theory, an armed teacher could be considered a security guard. Under  SB2, a bill from the special crime session, that teacher could then be granted additional immunity from doing something like shooting your child in the name of executing the scope of his or her duties.

Related: Education and Crime Linked

As a parent you do have a Bill of Rights that protects your child from all sorts of things in school. Sadly, a gun wielding teacher is not one of them. But you will be happy to know that under SB262 by Sen. Valarie Hodges, you can request that your child’s school refrain from teaching them that they have an inherent capacity to be racist because they’re white. This is couched in some all lives matter type lingo. But given the CRT, now DEI, paranoia, it’s clearly meant to discourage the white guilt phenomenon that is not or ever has been rippling through the school system. Because as you know, this is of the utmost importance.

Assemble and tinker.

By now, I’m sure you’re asking the obvious questions. Where are these bills stored? And can we transport some of the rats from NOPD headquarters to Baton Rouge to have a go at them?

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