Every year, the precious freedoms of Louisiana citizens are under assault by certain members of the state legislature. This is contrary to the reputation of Louisiana as a freedom loving state. In such a state, legislators should be focused on limiting the role of government and preventing citizens from being unnecessarily taxed or fined.
The best use of the precious funds of state residents is not to pay another fine or ticket to fund government programs. The most productive use of these funds is in the private sector, growing businesses, or supporting a family.
Unfortunately, if a bill being debated tomorrow in the Louisiana House of Representatives, HB 376, is passed, a new fine will be created for motorists caught using a handheld cell phone while driving.
As noted by State Representative Ed Larvadain III (D-Alexandria), if enacted, this new law will be used to generate revenue for government offices across the state. It will be used by “small town mayors” to “write a bunch of tickets,” forcing motorists to miss work and possibly face having their driver’s license suspended.
Unfortunately, the author of the legislation, State Representative Mike “Pete” Huval (R-Breaux Bridge) is obsessed with taking money away from Louisiana citizens and giving it to the government. Once again, he is frantically pushing his bill (HB 376) which will not only restrict the rights of Louisiana motorists to use a handheld cell phone in their vehicle but also authorize police to issue tickets for the “offense.”
In previous years, opponents of the legislation have worried that passage of the bill could lead to racial profiling. Well, this year, opponents need not worry because Representative Huval has added requirements that the state government compile data on the tickets issued. He said that racial profiling concerns have now been “addressed.”
Thus, there will be more government record keeping as the race and ethnicity of each motorist issued a ticket will be collected by the State of Louisiana and that information will be furnished to the legislature. This is just what Louisiana does not need, more government record keeping and more bureaucrats collecting and disseminating personal information about the residents of our state.
This bill should be anathema to any true conservative Republican. Supposedly conservative Republicans support limited government, safeguarding individual liberty and reducing taxes and fines on hard working citizens.
In this legislation, Republican Huval is exposed as a lover of big government for his bill will create more unnecessary paperwork and infringe on our precious rights. None of this seems to matter to Representative Huval and his friends in the insurance industry who support the legislation.
Another major concern about the bill is that police officers will have to determine whether a cell phone is being used improperly in a vehicle. This will require close examination of a driver. According to Louisiana State Representative Mack Cormier (D-Belle Chasse), it may create “a hazard where an officer can cause a wreck.”
In a state that is the violent crime capital of the nation, our police should not be spending their valuable time peering into vehicles to catch drivers using their cell phones in the “wrong” manner. Instead, the focus should be on stemming the horrific rise in violent crime in our state.
It is no business of any Louisiana politician how a motorist is using a cell phone if there is no reckless driving involved. Louisiana already has several laws on the books penalizing motorists for distracted driving and texting while driving. We do not need another law infringing on our liberties.
This is a horrible bill because our state government has no right to tell us what we can do with our own property (cell phone) in a vehicle that we own if we are not harming other people. This is the “Nanny State” running amok.
Every day on my radio show, listeners use mobile devices to call my program from their vehicles. They give their opinions, provide traffic updates and other valuable information to our audience. These callers know they must be careful when they use a mobile device in their vehicles, and they are very responsible individuals.
If this law is passed, what will be next? Banning other “distractions” such as listening to talk radio or music, eating, drinking non-alcoholic beverages, and even conversing with other passengers in the car. We know the most distracting thing may be a baby crying, let us hope this will not be eventually banned.
We do not need more laws in Louisiana, we have too many already. This bill is another money grab, another brazen effort to reach into the empty pockets of Louisiana citizens.
Let us strike a blow for both freedom and proper police priorities by defeating this legislation. Please call our legislators at #225-342-6945 and let them know your views on this alarming bill.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs nationally on Real America’s Voice Network, AmericasVoice.News weekdays at 7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at [email protected]