Yesterday, at approximately 11:30AM, while the Louisiana House was in session, indeed, on the floor of the chamber itself, one Democrat legislator, Malinda White of Bogalusa, physically assaulted and threatened the life of a fellow legislator, Republican Alan Seabaugh of Shreveport. It is reported that several people in the immediate area had to physically restrain Rep. White and remove her from the floor of the chamber.
That Rep. White committed an assault and battery is not in question- there are presumably dozens of witnesses from both parties to confirm what happened. However, she then threatened to go get her gun and “finish this.” Now that is a homicidal threat by one legislator against another, committed within the sacred confines of a deliberative chamber devoted to the ideals of democracy, while they were arguing over a bill.
Both parties were supposed to meet with House Speaker Clay Schexnayder yesterday. Whether any such meeting took place or not, we do not know. As of this writing, neither the Speaker of the House nor the House itself has taken any punitive action against Rep. White. At this late hour on the final day of the session, it does not appear that any such action is to be expected, but criminal behavior of this seriousness on the House floor, cannot be allowed to go unpunished.
Democracy can only exist when free men and women, elected to represent and do the will of the people, meet in safety to discuss the political issues of the day and enact laws which a majority think necessary and proper. A personal confrontation such as occurred yesterday, over a bill on the House floor, was a direct attack on democracy itself.
Let me repeat: a Republican legislator’s life was threatened on the floor of the House! Any Democrat who seeks to pass this off as one of their own having a bad day, does not understand or simply refuses to acknowledge the obvious seriousness of what occurred. Anyone defending such behavior should be roundly condemned for even suggesting that this is not a most grave matter requiring an immediate response.
There are several things that can still be done, even at this late hour: Speaker Schexnayder could remove Rep. White from her influential committees. After all, he recently removed a Republican committee chairman, Ray Garofalo of Meraux, from his chairmanship of the Education Committee, for much less. The entire House, acting as a full body, could censure or even remove Rep. White from the legislature. The former is the minimum penalty which the House should consider, but removal from the House is certainly warranted.
In any event, we shall know soon enough what is going to happen as the legislature must adjourn sine die by 6pm this evening.
LOUIS GURVICH, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana