A Few Items Which Discredit The Louisiana Legislature

Sometimes you’ll see what happens within a legislative session – not just in Louisiana, but certainly here – and wonder if perhaps it would be better to flush the institution outright and start over.

We’re at that point after having surveyed the recent works of that body plying its trade at the State Capitol.

We offer a few examples of how miserably corrupt and haughtily incompetent that legislature can show itself to be, starting with this

The third time is the charm for a Kenner lawmaker looking to outlaw dogs in trucks. House bill 1091 cleared a house committee which prohibits dogs from being in the back of pickup trucks unrestrained.

Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill (D)-Drycreek voted against the measure.

“As you know I live and represent a redneck area and we have a lot of hunters around our house and hunt in our area and all I do is say load up dogs and they roll up,” says Hill.

With the 12-2 vote, you will not be able to just toss the dogs in the back of the truck and get on an interstate highway.

This is the third effort to get this bill out of committee by its author Thomas Willmott (R)-Kenner. It’s a bill that opponents say is too over the top and too intrusive.

“It’s more of a public safety bill, rather than a bill that is being over-reaching,” says Rep. Troy Landry (D)-New Iberia.

The bill’s author says it’s an easy transition to protect yourself and your pets.

“You can put them in a crate. You can use a leash, collar, or whatever. They have trolley systems you can use. There’s all kind of different devices you can use. All I’m saying is that you have to use them on the major roadways that we have in the state of Louisiana which is the interstate system,” says Willmott.

The law says if you have a dog loose in the back of your truck on an interstate you’re going to have to pay $150 and an additional $50 bucks per pooch. The measure now heads to the house floor.

Willmott is an exceedingly dim bulb as a legislator and has proven it with stupid bills year after year, including this petty crusade of his to Save The Dogs From Their Redneck Owners.

Is it a great idea to have your dog ride in a pickup truck while going 75 miles an hour? Probably not. Is this such a priority that a state legislature has to pollute the statutes with prohibitions and fines and waste the time of the House and the people of this state in a meaningless debate over what scraps of our individual freedom and judgement we’re to be allowed to keep by our elected masters?

Speaking of that, here’s something from a couple of weeks ago – it’s an hour-long LPB discussion on the Left’s attempts to create a minimum wage in Louisiana. To get to the most important piece for our purposes, skip ahead to 31:45. A transcript of the segment in question is below…

Rep. Herbert Dixon (who is bringing a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage): “…the national government, the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, it gives employers the opportunity to hire young folk and have those young folks serve at a lower rate than the current minimum wage for a specified period of time. It also gives other considerations for employers to hire other individuals that may have some disabilities to work in a lower minimum wage rate. So there are opportunities for employers not to be captivated by this slow rise of the minimum wage that I’m proposing and getting ready for an increase, but there are opportunities that exist right now and this bill does nothing to impinge on those employer rights to hire young folks and give them those work experiences that was mentioned here earlier.”

Shauna Sanford, the host: “It sounds like there is some flexibility in there, but it kinda gets back to Scott’s point, which is that he doesn’t want to be told how much he has to raise the wage level.”

Dixon: “That’s admirable, but, uh, I’m sure Scott is told April 15 he better have his income taxes in, and if he don’t have it in by September that Scott is going to go to somewhere that, um, provides for individuals that feel they don’t want to be told…. So, that sounds good, but we’re told every day at some form or other – that’s why we’re in the legislature now makin’ laws that’s telling individuals here how certain things are gonna work.'”

Sanford: “…Let’s hear from John, another small-business owner.”

John Overton, owner of TurnKey Solutions in Baton Rouge: “I think that’s an excellent point. I think we’re told ENOUGH. We get told so much, and the more the government gets involved in my business, the more I want to get out of being a small business owner. You’re takin’ it out of our heart to be the masters of our own destiny. Just like I know what’s in the heart of some of my employees, is not money. When you say that if you pay people a couple extra bucks they’re gonna be motivated to work hard, that flies in the face of every personal DISC assessment, Meyers-Briggs, some people aren’t motivated by money. They’re motivated by the opportunity to grow their career. Yeah, some are just motivated by the bucks, but…when you say you’re gonna be told this, and you need to be told more, that kind of gets the ire up of a lot of small business owners.”

Dixon: “Well, it shouldn’t. We’re in the greatest country in the world, that exhibitors and marketers say that gives us the right to vote to put in individuals that think the way that you think or that think the way that I think. There’s not too many countries out there that does that. And so, as we’re bein’ told, we’re livin’ by a set of rules that have been set down over 200 years that we live by, and we’re not the first set of citizens of America that have been told things. I grant you, there’s a lot of things that state government or federal government can say to me that excites me that I may not want to hear, but you take some of the good with some of the bad and still we’re the greatest country in the world.”

We’ll sum up that exchange. Dixon justifies a government dictate that small businesses pay higher wages without getting more productivity out of the workers being paid…by saying that those businesses might prostrate themselves to the government for a waiver to pay lower wages to members of special classes appointed by the government under special conditions it specifies. So his bill to jack up the minimum wage is perfectly fine and oh-by-the-way if you don’t like it maybe we’ll just throw you in jail. And Overton hits him between the eyes with the fact that the people who make this country work, the people who own better than 95 percent of the businesses in this state, are sick and tired of government dictates, conditions and specifications which take away the entire point of going into business for oneself in the first place and that people like Dixon are killing the country.

And Dixon’s response is that this is the greatest country on earth (why that is, he has absolutely zero idea) and that Overton ought to just suck it up, shut up and make money he can pay the government with.

Did we mention that Herbert Dixon is the chair of the House Labor Committee? Sorry if we left that out.

And yeah, he’s a Democrat. The House is controlled by Republicans. And yet Republicans in the Louisiana House of Representatives allowed this man, who thinks it’s a good idea to threaten business owners with jail and to tell them to shut up and pay if they don’t like his plan to force their labor costs up, to chair the Labor Committee.

That level of idiocy gives you an indication of exactly what quality of leadership all the work the voters have done in trying to elect a conservative majority has produced.

But wait, there’s more. Here’s the worst member of the Louisiana Senate, running his mouth about the worst bill in this legislative session…

State Sen. Ben Nevers wondered with reporters Monday why none of the St. George organizers had contacted him about his legislation that would suspend efforts to create a new city from the unincorporated southern sections of East Baton Rouge Parish.

By the end of the day, the organizers phoned and set up a meeting for Tuesday morning.

Nevers’ Senate Bill 674, which would suspend the incorporation of new municipalities while the process is being studied, is scheduled for a hearing later this week. In particular, as now worded, the legislation would stop the effort to create a new city of St. George. But that wasn’t Nevers’ intention.

“I’m willing to work with St. George and make sure they can have their vote,” Nevers, D-Bogalusa, told the Press Club of Baton Rouge. “I haven’t heard from organizers.”

Later in the day, after hearing of Nevers’ statement, Norman Browning, one of the St. George organizers, said he would call Nevers immediately.

“Definitely, I’m going to reach out,” he said.

Nevers’ office confirmed late Monday that the senator had set up a meeting with some St. George representatives for Tuesday morning.

We’ve discussed Nevers’ bill already. It’s a bald-faced assault on St. George, and his efforts to pretend that he’s solving some statewide problem by placing a moratorium on incorporation petitions while creating some study committee are completely unconvincing. It’s obvious that Nevers is carrying water for the Louisiana Democrat Party, which wants to kill St. George because if that city incorporates it will blow away any chance their chosen candidate for Lt. Governor next year – namely, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden – might have at getting elected. Having Nevers carry the bill rather than a Baton Rouge Democrat like Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb or Sharon Weston Broome makes more political sense, just like Ed Price carrying a similar anti-St. George bill in the House (which we discussed yesterday) when everybody knows HB 768 is really Rep. Regina Barrow’s bill. These people think that having Nevers carry a Kill St. George bill would somehow make it not about St. George but some esoteric itch that needs to be scratched apropos of nothing particular, as though the rest of us are morons who can’t connect the dots.

It’s insulting, not just because they think the rest of the state is as stupid as their voters are but because the gap between their opinion of themselves and the actual quality of their tradecraft is so vast.

Ben Nevers ought to just offer up his crappy bills and be honest about the crappy rationales behind them, instead of trying to get cute with the public. And playing the victim at the Baton Rouge Press Club as though Norman Browning or somebody else among the St. George organizers should have rushed to kiss his ring when his Kill St. George bill was made public and it’s a major affront to him that his phone didn’t ring is enough to induce a psychotic break. Who does this wrinkled old crook think he is? Why is Norman Browning required to break bread with somebody who’s throwing the kitchen sink at his incorporation effort?

When that meeting takes place, you can bet Nevers will attempt to shake Browning down for some consideration or other in exchange for his forbearance in not including St. George in that moratorium – and if Browning gives Nevers the correct response, namely to tell him to do something anatomically impossible, that will be evidence of how “unreasonable” those St. George people are. And why? To reject Nevers’ attempts to rein in the rampant confusion among incorporation petitions in Louisiana which have produced, what? One new city in this state in the past decade?

And finally, there is wannabe governor and current state rep John Bel Edwards (D-Amite). Who is barking at Roger Villere and Bobby Jindal for their “hypo-hypocrisy” in calling for Vance McAllister’s resignation…

“The Republican Party calling Rep. McAllister a ‘hypocrite’ after it defended Sen. (David) Vitter reaches a level of hypocrisy so great I’m not sure the English language even has a word describe it,” Edwards, who heads the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement sent Friday (April 11).

“Maybe ‘hypo-hypocrisy?’ The people at Webster’s Dictionary have a busy weekend ahead of them,” added Edwards. He is running against Vitter for governor of Louisiana next year.

John Bel Edwards wants you to know he’s really smart. Unfortunately, he’s unemployable by the Webster’s Dictionary people, because to work there you’d probably need to know that “hypo-” is a Greek prefix which means “under.” As in, a hypodermic needle reaches under the dermis, or skin. And “hypo-hypocritical” would mean “under-hypocritical,” or in other words, Genius John Bel Edwards is actually saying that Jindal and Villere aren’t really all that hypocritical when they voice a preference to have the tawdry fraud currently occupying the 5th Congressional District seat removed so that his sex scandal won’t continue to chew up headlines and constitute a rolling embarrassment to the state.

McAllister isn’t going to resign, the way it looks at the moment, largely because of people like Edwards supporting him. And why does Edwards support him? Because he’s soft on Obamacare and because he continues to run his mouth in favor of Medicaid expansion. John Bel Edwards can’t shut up about what a sleazeball David Vitter was because he had a sex scandal arising from conduct that occurred 13 years ago, so obviously – if we are to take him at his word – he thinks sexual misbehavior ought to disqualify people from high office. But this bloviating windbag is willing to take up for McAllister. Why might that be?

Gee, I dunno. Maybe he wants to tar the Republican Party, which never did approve of McAllister, with his sexual misdeeds as more of his inevitable skeletons tumble from the closet. Or maybe he wants to prolong the agony of the 5th District having an ineffective congressman in hopes that some Democrat might have the seat fall into his lap. Or maybe he wants McAllister to remain in the statewide public eye so he can continue running his yap about Vitter and hookers – as though Charlie Melancon’s nine-month rhetorical odyssey on that subject wasn’t rejected soundly enough by the voters who had to put up with it in 2010.

Nah. Edwards couldn’t possibly be insincere and opportunistic in his babbling about “hypo-hypocrisy.” After all, the whole basis of his complaint about Villere’s demands for McAllister’s ouster was that the state GOP should have asked David Vitter to resign when his scandal broke in 2007 – as though the Republican Party could have been expected to boot a Republican Senator and allow then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement. That’s a realistic expectation, right?

Again – the stupid rhetoric is insult enough. But it’s the arrogance, and misplaced arrogance at that, which really makes these people intolerable.

But these are our state legislators. We elected this ship of fools. We pretend things are improving at the Capitol, and to a small extent they are. But we’re still governed by louts and imbeciles, and we must do considerably better in next year’s statewide cycle.

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