Louisiana is a conservative state led by liberal Democrats and big government Republicans. The Louisiana Legislature has some true conservative fighters, but far too many “RINO’s.” One sign of the problem is that our liberal Democrat Governor, John Bel Edwards, signed the state budget bill, HB 1, and praised the majority Republican legislature for historic “investments” in a bevy of spending projects.
State funds were allocated for a variety of infrastructure projects and the fifth pay raise in a row for Louisiana public school teachers. However, in this session, there was no significant effort to streamline spending or give Louisiana taxpayers relief.
Unlike our neighbors, Texas, and Florida, which are booming economically, Louisiana still suffers from a state income tax and a corporate franchise tax. In this session, there was no meaningful tax reform legislation passed. Thus, nothing was done to improve the business climate of a state that is economically last in the nation and is the only state in the South to be losing population.
It was not much better with socially conservative issues as measures to give Louisiana citizens the right to carry a firearm without a permit (constitutional carry) failed. Bills to eliminate elementary and high school curriculum featuring “critical race theory,” sexual orientation and gender identity also failed.
Some pro-life measures passed as did a bill to prevent transgender females from competing against biological girls. Yet, nothing was done to truly give Louisiana residents more freedom or more economic opportunity.
The session could have been worse. A bill (HB 376) that has been introduced every year since 2009 to criminalize the use of handheld cell phones by Louisiana motorists has not yet passed the State Senate, but we still have a few days left!
If enacted, the bill would allow police in Louisiana to ticket anyone talking on a handheld phone while driving. However, the bill is unnecessary since there are already laws on the books banning “distracted driving.”
This never-ending battle is pushed every year by insurance agent and Louisiana State Representative Mike “Pete” Huval (R-Breaux Bridge). His rationale is that the bill improves “public safety.” However, safety is not enhanced by requiring drivers to pull off the road before talking on a handheld cell phone. In fact, it is both inconvenient and potentially dangerous.
If public safety is the true concern, Huval’s bill should outlaw all driving distractions, such as listening to the radio, eating fast food, putting on lipstick, rubbernecking and dealing with crying babies in the back seat of a vehicle.
Of course, his only focus is banning handheld cell phones, which are a critical tool we rely on. Their use should not be discouraged. Motorists use cell phones to report emergencies, receive important calls and notify police about accidents or dangers on the road, such as drunk drivers.
This issue is Huval’s signature cause and main obsession. Obviously, his constituents in Breaux Bridge have no other problems which require his attention.
Fortunately, every year, a coalition of liberal Democrats and true conservative Republicans have been able to defeat the RINO’s who are the prime supporters of the legislation.
This year, the bill passed the House after multiple attempts. It received the votes of many Republicans who do not mind passing more laws restricting the rights of Louisiana citizens.
A discussion with one “conservative” Republican legislator was particularly enlightening. He said he supported the bill because it was “no big deal” for Louisiana drivers to just purchase the equipment needed to talk “hands-free.” He did not express any concern for people who could not afford such a device.
He had no problem passing another law, and distracting police, who should be focused on combating out of control violent crime, with more nuisance enforcement. He saw his job as working to improve “public safety.” Yet, the studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute show that the passage of such laws banning handheld cell phones in vehicles do not improve “public safety.”
While RINO legislators may view this legislation as “no big deal,” it represents another government intrusion into the rights of our citizens. It is the expansion of the Nanny State. As Louisiana citizens, we do not need state legislators to constantly tell us what we can and cannot do. This bill micromanages our behavior, limits our freedom and restricts our rights.
Currently, in Louisiana, there are too many laws on the books. In this session, approximately 3,000 pieces of legislation were considered. Henceforth, for every new law that is enacted, legislators should remove three laws from the books.
The RINO legislator boasted that Louisiana, due to the work of the State Legislature during the past three years, has been doing “great.” Really? Our population is stagnant, our business community is contracting, and our best and brightest are leaving for other states.
Any legislative activity that is not designed to make this a better state for our citizens and our businesses is a waste of time. Passing another law forcing motorists to behave as certain legislators deem ‘safe” is not a worthwhile activity.
It is time to “clean house” in the Louisiana Legislature. Most of our current legislators do not seem to grasp the problem that our state is falling further behind each year.
While discussing the bill, the legislator was told that we should follow the lead of Texas, which currently does not restrict the rights of motorists to use handheld cell phones. He seemed uninterested in the activities of other states, and only possessed an insular concern about the activities of Louisiana politicians.
Louisiana should be following the lead of the conservative states that are growing instead of liberal states that are declining in population.
There are not enough true conservatives and reformers in the Louisiana Legislature. Sadly, there are too many typical politicians.
To save Louisiana, we need to start the groundwork now. There is plenty of work to do before the next statewide election in the fall of 2023.
Are we finally tired of seeing our family members and friends leave the state? We are not going to solve the problem by re-electing the same type of politicians who created the mess we are in today.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award-winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs weekdays nationally on Real America’s Voice TV Network, AmericasVoice.News from 6-7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. CT 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]