The March Pew Research COVID-19 study, which normally would have come and gone without much furor or comment, contained a fascinating nugget of information which was picked up a good bit by some in conservative media, because it showed a fairly sizable discrepancy between “white liberals” and people of other ideological persuasions when it comes to mental health. Specifically, some of the data shows a staggering number of people fitting that category responding that they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition…
And in particular, younger white liberals are especially likely to have issues with mental health…
There is even more of a pinpoint discrepancy when it comes to white liberal females…
Why are we showing you these numbers? Because it’s a real phenomenon which played out, of all places, on the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives yesterday.
Rep. Malinda White is a Democrat from Bogalusa. She’s been known throughout her two terms in the House as being one of the less-stable personalities in the Legislature. White is the very definition of the “white liberal” in the Pew study; her voting record doesn’t make her AOC or Ilhan Omar, but she’s a big-government leftist who talks like somebody fresh off a 16-hour binge of the Lifetime Movie Channel.
Malinda White also commonly drops references to a habit of carrying a gun everywhere she goes.
She dropped that reference yesterday in a way which was a bit more threatening than normal…
In the waning hours of the legislative session, a debate over the definition of domestic abuse had tensions high at the state capitol.
The bill by Representative Malinda White of Bogalusa looks to clarify the definition of domestic abuse which has been an emotional subject through the session.
It would include language of physical, sexual, psychological, and financial attacks or control. Some of the debate stemmed around adding family members, a current or former household member, or dating partner to the list of people who could be considered abusers. The Louisiana Family Forum objected to the additions of unmarried people.
The emotional subject led to Rep. White and Rep. Alan Seabaugh having a heated argument on the House floor while another bill was being heard. Other House members intervened when Rep. White shouted at Rep. Seabaugh and made some threats to “finish this”.
Rep. White had to be physically restrained and removed from the House floor temporarily. When asked why she reacted in an emotional way, the abuse survivor said the Representative accused her of not understanding her own bill.
“A man telling me I didn’t know about domestic abuse and violence when I lived it,” Rep. White said. “Nobody comes and tells a woman that or a man for that matter and that’s what he did.”
What actually happened was this – Seabaugh had asked White to amend her bill because it was a mess. She isn’t a lawyer and she got bad advice from the Legislative Bureau on its language, and despite the fact the bill had essentially skated through both the House and Senate without any votes against it (there was barely any debate on it at all), a number of observers had begun recognizing problems with the legislation. The conference report on the bill is due out today, and those amendments would, it’s expected, be in the bill.
White did make some of Seabaugh’s suggested amendments to the bill, HB 159, but not all. Specifically, there’s a discrepancy between “household members” and “family members” in Louisiana law which indicates they are separate things and create separate effects. White, during yesterday’s floor session, approached Seabaugh and asked him if the bill was to his standard, and he said no based on that discrepancy.
Upon which she began patronizing him, which he didn’t appreciate and explained that he’s a lawyer and these are legal terms and they have to be written correctly or else you’ll have a piece of legislation which creates wrong effects.
And that’s when White went ballistic. According to several witnesses her face turned purple, she began screaming at him and she grabbed his arm. And then she threatened to get her gun and “finish this.”
There are several misdemeanors involved in this. It’s simple assault, simple battery and threatening of a public official.
White was escorted off the floor of the House by a number of members and parked in an anteroom. She wasn’t arrested, and she was allowed back onto the House floor later that afternoon.
Amazingly, Speaker Clay Schexnayder hasn’t done anything about this. Supposedly Schexnayder is parking White’s bill and the session will end tonight without it getting a final vote.
But as of right now, that’s all. White apologized to the House but not to Seabaugh for her behavior.
There are a number of points to be made here. First of all, what happened to Seabaugh isn’t without precedent. A couple of years ago another Shreveport-area Republican, Rep. Dodie Horton, was verbally assaulted by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson on the House floor after Horton asked Peterson and a group of her fellow Democrat senators who had come into the other chamber to observe House proceedings to pipe down so she could hear debate on bills she was trying to vote on. Peterson responded with vulgarity and threats and caused a great stir in the chamber as a result.
Nothing was done about that, despite the fact Peterson had built quite a history of insane and abusive behavior toward her colleagues.
The Peterson-Horton incident took place before Schexnayder took over as House Speaker. But Schexnayder’s treatment of Rep. Ray Garofalo, stripping him of his chairmanship of the House Education Committee for what could at worst be described as a momentary verbal slip regarding the efficacy of slavery during debate on a bill limiting Critical Race Theory in Louisiana’s public schools, would impose a duty to apply real consequences to White. After all, Garofalo didn’t attack or threaten anyone; all he did was bring a bill Republican legislatures are passing all over the country (Iowa’s governor just signed a bill doing the same thing HB 564 would have done) and then continue attempting to pass it despite the ginned-up controversy over his statements.
If Schexnayder won’t punish White for essentially threatening to shoot dead a third-term Republican legislator on the floor of the House he’s the Speaker of, this goes far beyond politics. This cuts to basic leadership skills and it’s not OK. At the very minimum she ought to be stripped of her committee assignments – she’s a member of the Agriculture, Ways and Means and House Governmental Affairs committees.
So far as we know Seabaugh hasn’t pressed charges against White. But seeing as though she threatened to get her gun and “finish this,” it would seem prudent that she be checked for weapons when she arrives at the Capitol today, and if there is a firearm in her purse it’s no longer simple assault but felony assault and she’s got to go away in handcuffs.
Particularly since if Seabaugh had acted this way toward White yesterday, everybody knows he would have gone to jail.
White excused herself by saying she’s a domestic abuse survivor. Yesterday’s incident begs the question whether there weren’t two sides to that story, because normal people don’t behave like this. Unhinged psycho people do. And Louisiana has more than enough problems without adding to them by tolerating insane and potentially violent members of its Legislature running amok and emoting in the House chamber.
Do your job, Schexnayder. Put a stop to this unprofessional, abusive behavior.