We received an interesting post from our friend C.B. Forgotston relative to HB 703 by State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite).
The bill was fairly straightforward in that it simply requires unclassified employees with annual salaries of $100,000 or more to register their vehicles in Louisiana and to obtain Louisiana driver’s licenses within 30 days of employment, subject to termination.
The bill was handled in the Senate by Rick Gallot (D-Ruston).
Who could oppose such a bill—unless it might be certain employees of the Louisiana Department of Education who somehow appeared to feel they were above the law, not exactly a precedent in this administration. After all, there already was a law requiring registration of vehicles and the obtaining of a state driver’s license on the part of any citizen moving to Louisiana.
Even Gov. Bobby Jindal said he would sign the bill if it passed—and it did by votes of 70-20 (with 15 not voting) in the House and 20-17 (with two not voting) in the Senate.
But wait. A somewhat indignant Forgotston noted in his blog that the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate quoted Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) as calling the bill “a political poke in the eye and a waste of our (legislators’) time.”
Like Forgotston, we’re not entirely sure whose eye was being poked other than certain recalcitrant appointees of State Education Superintendent John White.
But a waste of time?
Let’s review some of the legislation introduced in the form of House and Senate resolutions by several of those serious-minded legislators who, having no time for frivolity, would never think of wasting time in Baton Rouge and who had the integrity and dignity to vote against such a colossal waste of precious legislators’ time.
Appropriately enough, we shall begin with Sen. Claitor:
• SCR 11: Requests the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its position on Olympic Wrestling;
• SCR 15: Urges and requests the citizens of Louisiana to recognize the life-saving benefits of routine colorectal screening examinations and to schedule such examinations as deemed appropriate by their physicians;
• SR 31: Commends the Brusly High School Panthers wrestling team on winning its second consecutive Division III state championship title;
• SR 35: Commends Paxton Turner on being named as an Honorable Mention by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in education Program;
• SR 47: Commends the Episcopal High School Knights boys’ soccer team upon their Division III state championship;
• SCR 104: Commends the Louisiana Varsity Sports Women’s Team and Men’s Team for their individual and team achievements in the 2013 Boston Marathon;
• SR 111: Requests the Louisiana State Law Institute to perform a comprehensive study of Louisiana bail laws and procedures and to make recommendations as necessary for modernization of bail procedures (probably to benefit carpetbagger political appointees who refused to comply with HB 703).
We listed all of Claitor’s extremely important resolutions which, of course, did not constitute any waste of time. For the others voting against the bill, we had to narrow our selection lest we would still be writing after the June 6 adjournment of the legislature.
Here are a few choice bits of legislation by other opponents of HB 703:
Sen. A.G. Crowe (R-Slidell):
• SR 23: Designates the week of April 7-13 as Junior Auxiliary Week at the Senate;
• SR 24: Commends Israel on the occasion of its 65th anniversary of the birth of the modern State of Israel;
• SCR 86: Commends Joshua R. Ashley and Ian Frichter for their competition in the Automotive Technology Program at Northshore Technical Community College;
• SCR 88: Memorializes Congress to adopt the Constitution Restoration Act;
Senate President John Alario (R-Westwego):
• SCR 93: Commends Rachel Elizabeth Schultz upon being named the 76th Greater New Orleans Floral Trail Queen;
Sen. Bret Allain (R-Franklin):
• SR 94: Designates the week of June 17-21 as Louisiana Entrepreneurship Week;
Sen. Page Cortez (R-Lafayette):
• SCR 18: Commends the St. Thomas More High School boys’ basketball team on winning the Class 4A state championship;
Sen. Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville):
• SR 37: Recognizes and commends the Boy Scouts of America for the public service the organization performs through its contributions to the lives of the nation’s boys and young men;
Sen. Elbert Guillory (D-Opelousas):
• SR 110: Recognizes Thursday, May 16, 2013, as Pro-Life Day at the Louisiana State Capitol;
• SCR 92: Commends the Westminster Christian Academy Crusaders for Life on being the first student-led pro-life group on campus;
Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles):
• SCR 44: Commends Alcoa upon the celebration of its 125th anniversary and designates May 14, 2013, as Alcoa Day at the Legislature;
• SCR 98: Expresses support of and provides authority for actions by the LSU Board of Supervisors for the strategic collaboration with the Division of Administration and the Department of Health and Hospitals in planning for a new model of health care delivery throughout the Lake Charles region;
• SR 33: Commends the 1963 McNeese State College Football Team for its historic season;
• SR 87: Designates May 7, 2013, as Louisiana Chemical Industry Day;
• SR 103: Designates May 15, 2013, as Louisiana Housing Council Day;
• SCR 26: Commends LSU student Bruno Beltran of Sulphur on being a recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship;
Sen. Gerald Long (R-Natchitoches):
• SR 98: Commends the Adai Caddo Indian Tribe for its cultural contributions to the State of Louisiana;
• SR 133: Commends Robert Harper for 42 years of service in state government;
• SCR 22: Urges and requests the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to establish and sanction the competitive sport of tournament bass fishing;
Sen. Daniel Martiny (R-Metairie):
• SCR 57: Requests various state and local departments to take certain actions regarding the commercial construction and operation by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of a facility to provide abortions in Louisiana;
• SR 115: Commends the Louisiana Physical Therapy Association for its outstanding achievements and designates the week of May 13, 2013, as Louisiana Physical Therapy Week;
Sen. Jean-Paul J. Morrell (D-New Orleans):
• SR 117: Commends Tulane University and designates May 21, 2013, as Tulane University Day at the Senate;
Sen. Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City):
• SR 36: Commends the State-Line Fishing and Hunting Club in celebrating its centennial for 100 years of common ownership (what, no designated week? Not even a day?);
Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia):
• SR 77: Designates May 2013 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (a whole month and not even a day for the fishing and hunting club?);
Sen. Mike Walsworth (who last year asked in committee if humans could be grown from high school science lab petri dish cultures):
• SR 19: Commends Lauren Vizza on her successful reign as Miss Louisiana 2012 (We’re curious as to what would have constituted an unsuccessful reign.);
• SR 56: Commends KNOE TV for proving northeast Louisiana with 60 years of local, state, national and international news (We understand KNOE beat out the Rocky Branch World Guardian Tribune-Shopper House of Prayer, Snake Farm and Bait Stand.);
Sen. Bodi White (R-Central):
• SR 112 and SR 113: Commends the Central Private School boys’ basketball team and boys’ baseball team upon winning the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools basketball and baseball championships (Mississippi? Perhaps some legislator should introduce a resolution requiring Central Private to play in Louisiana.);
We picked on the State Senate because of Claitor’s incredibly naïve comment about the bill’s being a waste of precious time and while we would love to similarly recognize House members who voted against HB 703, there simply is not enough space to do so.
We would like to make a couple of exceptions by pointing out a couple of House resolutions and one House bill that jumped off the page during our review.
Rep. Steve Pylant (R-Winnsboro) was actually absent and did not vote on HB 703, but we still want to give him his 15 minutes. HB 648 by Pylant would require the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to require that high school students complete at least one course offered by a BESE-authorized online or virtual course (Course Choice) provider as a prerequisite to graduation.
We can’t help but wonder of Pylant has been paying attention to the growing scandal of fraudulent registration of more than 1100 students to Course Choice courses without the knowledge of consent of either the students or their parents.
His HCR 156 also requests that BESE “and others” study potential funding sources for online courses offered through the Course Choice Program.
Again, we wonder at Pylant’s motives here. We already know from his campaign finance reports that he is beholden to the Jindalistas but his steadfast commitment to Course Choice seems to run much deeper than mere political affiliations.
And then there is Rep. Stephen Carter, chairman of the House Education Committee.
His HCR 30 requests that BESE study the feasibility and advisability of pursuing a residential charter school model in Louisiana. Wouldn’t one think that given the abysmal record of many charter schools and the accompanying legal problems of financing vouchers with state funds, he might wish to hold up on rushing into yet another educational fiasco?
Probably not because his HB 650 is a classic study of putting the cart ahead of the horse.
HB 650 calls for the reorganization of the State Department of Education (DOE).
The problem with the bill is it comes almost a year after Superintendent of Education John White already initiated a reorganization of the department that is arguably blatantly illegal.
More on that in a subsequent post.
For now, on behalf of Rep. John Bel Edwards and Rep. Rick Gallot, we humbly apologize to Sen. Claitor for taking up so much of the good Baton Rouge senator’s precious time. After all, he could have missed a free meal from a lobbyist while contemplating this trivial piece of legislation.