Before I unpack this week's session news, I want to pause for a moment to honor a very gracious lady, Mrs. Varrie Player of Benton, Louisiana. She and Lawrence, her husband of 83 years, have been the LFF Longest Married Couple for three years in a row. Mrs. Varrie went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, April 17th, passing peacefully in her sleep. Prayers for the Player family as they commit their matriarch to the care of the Lord! You may view her arrangements here.
This Week at the Capitol...
Yesterday, Speaker Barras flexed his conservative muscles, approving HB1 by a vote of 55-47. A smaller budget has now been discharged to the Senate for the next step in the process. Governor John Bel Edwards was cited as opining "it's not worth the paper it's written on."
Six weeks down and six weeks to go for the regular legislative session! Activity still swirls around the 37 gambling bills filed this session. Additional lobbyists have even been hired to close the deal on expansion. The riverboat gambling bills, SB316, SB318, SB321, and SB417, will get a vote on the Senate floor on Monday. NOW is the time to let your senator know that you stand opposed to these bills that, in fact, result in gaming expansion. Share this message with your family, friends, and neighbors and urge them to make their voice heard.
Our message is, respectfully, "when faced with the choice between protecting Louisiana families or expanding gambling, it is the responsibility of lawmakers to uphold their duty to Louisiana residents, not the lucrative gambling industry."
We urge a NO vote on all gambling bills. It's important!
Nola.com joined the chorus of other "journalists and editorialists" who misrepresent those who oppose Senator J.P. Morell's SB236. The problem with the bill is that it strikes a time-tested portion of Louisiana's current law which criminalizes sexually deviant behavior with animals as well as other "crimes against nature."
Since Lawrence v Texas, 539 US 558 (2003), many have incorrectly claimed that the statute is no longer constitutionally enforceable. The statute has been upheld and many high-profile cases have been prosecuted using this statute to convict crimes against nature with animals.
SB236 proposes to expand offenses involving sexual behavior with animals. LFF agrees with proponents of SB236 that sex with animals, videotaping said activity, or trafficking animals for those purposes is unconscionable and must be prohibited by law. However, there are serious issues that leave the proposed language in SB236 open to constitutional challenge. While the lawyers battle it out in court, Louisiana could be left without any statutory protections against these aberrant acts.
Expanding Louisiana's crimes against nature must be done properly. This objective may only be achieved in a statute that can withstand judicial scrutiny and assures that our current anti-bestiality prohibition remains enforceable.
Votes this Week:
SB266 by Sen. Martiny - statewide referendum on sports betting - FAILED IN SENATE FINANCE
SB325 by Sen. Milkovich - authority to shut down abortion facilities in violation of law - PASSED SENATE HEALTH and WELFARE
SB534 by Sen. Milkovich - abortion and feticide defined as crimes of violence - PASSED SENATE HEALTH AND WELFARE
HB274 by Rep. Jordan - legalizes the sale and use of marijuana for recreational use - VOLUNTARILY DEFERRED
HB400 by Rep. Bagneris - 10-day waiting period between purchase and delivery of firearm - FAILED IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
HB473 by Rep. Pat Smith - ban on rapid-fire devices - FAILED IN HOUSE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
HB852 by Rep. G. Carter - private transfer of firearm illegal unless there is a background check - FAILED
SB396 by Sen. G. Smith - deregulation of gestational surrogacy contracts - PASSED THE SENATE
HB312 by Rep. Abraham - no film credits for pornography - FAILED IN SENATE FINANCE
HB484 by Rep. Talbot - allow internet gambling on fantasy sports competitions - PASSED THE HOUSE
Stay Engaged, Gene Gene Mills President Louisiana Family Forum
655 Saint Ferdinand St. | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802-6152 (225)344-8533 or (800)606-6470 | firstname.lastname@example.org