April 30, 2021

Dear Friend,

It has been an exhausting week at the Capitol, following bills dealing with gambling, saving women’s sports, the 2nd amendment, legalization of marijuana and more. We have been working with lawmakers and several groups of pastors who have joined us and experienced eye-opening content at committee hearings. Most importantly, we have had opportunities to pray with decision makers who are voting on weighty matters. Please continue to pray for the Legislators, and Team LFF. We covet your prayers. 

In the past, LFF supported the legalization of medical marijuana as a compassionate alternative for those suffering from a very limited set of maladies. What we have seen since then is the unlimited expansion of the conditions for which medical marijuana may be “recommended.”

Unsurprisingly, the marijuana industry and those who patronize it now want the legislature to approve recreational use of drugs, and that bill is making progress.

LFF holds that the last thing Louisiana needs during this critical time of economic recession is a new “chemical distractant” to invade our schools, businesses, communities and families – with addictive and dangerous capacities to which teens are especially vulnerable. Similar to alcohol, the recreational availability of this drug to adults would essentially ensure access to children.

Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville) argues that a regulatory tax structure would reduce crime, solve Louisiana’s fiscal woes, and is asserting that everybody will be “happy over there,” but this is simply a pipe dream. States who have legalized recreational drug use, like Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado, have experienced extremely high rates of homelessness and addiction since legalization.

LFF is tackling a number of major vice issues at the moment: new casino expansion, legalized prostitution, sports betting on every device. We don’t need to add to the list by entertaining the addition of recreational drugs to our streets. There’s a good reason the District Attorneys, Sheriff’s Association, State Police, and faith leaders oppose it. And LFF concurs: Let’s just say no to yet another method that ruins the lives of Louisiana residents.

Louisiana’s Legislative Wrap up for this Week:

HB 54 by Rep. Edmonds – Integrity in the adoption process PASSED THE HOUSE     

HB 211 by Rep. Wright – School choice  PASSED HOUSE EDUCATION

🚫HB 435 by Rep. Romero - Deregulation of video poker - Allows multiple decks per hand with multiple hands per game. PASSED THE HOUSE

🚫HB 524 by Rep. Nelson - Decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use PASSED HOUSE CRIMINAL JUSTICE

HB 531 by Rep. Pressly - Massage Therapy Board addresses illicit massage parlors & human trafficking PASSED HOUSE CRIMINAL JUSTICE

🚫HB 564 by Rep. Garofalo - Prohibits Critical Theory in schools receiving state funding. DEFERRED IN HOUSE EDUCATION

🟡SB 104 by Sen. Fesi – Prohibits chemical/surgical castration for minors without parental consent  DEFERRED IN SENATE H&W

SB 170 by Sen. Johns - Centralizes state's human trafficking efforts to the office of the Governor. PASSED THE SENATE  

SB 156 by Sen. Mizell – Saving in Women’s Sports PASSED SENATE EDUCATION

SB 196 by Sen. Morris - "Stop Social Media Censorship Act" PASSED COMMERCE   

SB 213 by Sen. Hewitt -  Riverboat gaming in St. Tammany Parish. DEFERRED IN SENATE FINANCE

Election Integrity HB 20 by Rep. Miguez; HB 141 by Rep. Stagni, HB 167 by Rep. M. Johnson ; SB 63 by Sen. R MillsSB 219 by Sen. Cloud, SB 221 by Sen. Hewitt ALL PASSED THE SENATE. 

2nd Amendment Rights HB 118 by Rep. Frieman, HB 596 by Rep. Fontenot, SB 118 by Sen. Morris

Privacy of personal COVID data and healthcare freedom -  HR 20 by Rep. Edmonston ; SB 198 by Sen. Cathey; HB 349 by Rep. Edmonston

 

On another note, Representative-elect Laurie Schlegel is expected to be sworn into office next week after besting Eddie Connick in last weekend’s special election. It was a hard-fought race all around. Lionel Rainey, Schlegel’s campaign manager, said, “When turnout is low, your voter model is critical, and our modeling was perfect. We made very few mistakes and took a methodical approach that paid off in a big win." Congrats team Schlegel!

Your support is already making a huge difference this year – especially on the issue of gambling expansion and woman’s sports. The Advocate has already named LFF the “most important faith-based lobby” in Louisiana, and we plan to keep that title. If you like #WINNING like we do, please consider making a one-time or recurring, tax-deductible contribution to support LFF’s culture-shaping work.

In His Service,


Gene Mills
President
Louisiana Family Forum

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