EXCLUSIVE: Bill To Protect Louisiana Monuments Moved Into Democrat-Led Committee By Karen Carter Peterson

Legislation designed to protect historical monuments and landmarks throughout the state was moved into a State Senate committee led by Democrats in a political maneuver by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) where it is expected to die.

Sen. Beth Mizell’s (R-Hammond) SB276 was originally referred by Senate President John Alario (R-Westwego) to its correct committee for a hearing, the State Senate Education Committee, which deals directly with the “Preservation of historic landmarks and objects.”

The bill is designed to protect monuments after an embroiled fight to save four historical monuments in New Orleans ultimately failed and Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council signed off on the plan.

However, Peterson is listed on the official Senate Journal for the state legislature as moving the bill out of the Republican-led Senate Education Committee and into the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is largely made up of New Orleans Democrats.

Peterson actually chairs the Senate and Governmental Committee, but it is still questionable about why the legislation was moved in the first place.

The Senate Education Committee directly deals with the preservation of history throughout the state. The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, though, does not.

Here’s what that committee does:

  • Affairs of the Senate
  • Appointments which require confirmation by the Senate
  • Apportionment for public officials and governing authorities
  • Assignment of space in state buildings, including space for Senate and legislative needs
  • Capitol building and all other buildings for state government services in the state capital, including capitol parking
  • Classified and unclassified service for public employees
  • Creation of all legislative committees and proposals for interim studies by committees
  • Elections, state political parties and their committees, and officers, procedure, and other matters relating to elections
  • Employees of the Senate
  • Expenditures of funds by the Legislature
  • Governmental ethics
  • Intergovernmental relations between the state and the United States or other states
  • Legislative Auditor
  • Legislative Fiscal Officer
  • Lobbying and lobbyists
  • Maintenance and care of capitol complex buildings
  • Rules and procedures of the Senate and the Legislature
  • Rules or laws enacted to reorganize the legislative or executive branches of government
  • Services of or for the Senate and/or its committees and members
  • State buildings generally, including naming of state buildings

The Hayride cannot conclude that any of these dealings listed above have anything to do with the history-protection legislation.

In this committee, the Louisiana Heritage Protection Commission legislation is considered dead on arrival, as city officials in New Orleans are likely to ask that the five Democrats on the committee kill the bill so that it cannot be heard for a full vote in the State Senate.

The group Save Our Circle, which ferociously fought against Landrieu’s plan to remove four historical monuments in New Orleans, which includes Robert E. Lee Circle, has been pushing for state-wide legislation to protect history all over the state.

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