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Crybaby Black Caucus discourages assistance

In my previous posting, I averred how the actions of many Louisiana politicians were akin to spoiled children. Today, the Legislative Black Caucus in the House put an exclamation point on that fact.

The first bill discussed this afternoon was HB 14, which in its original form would have created for future election regional voting centers in populous parishes where people registered in any parish could vote. It later got amended so that people registering to vote in an area affected by a declared emergency after the declaration could not use this method, and then an expiration date of July 16, 2006 was attached. This is the same date as for HB 12 which allows people who registered to vote prior to the emergency declaration for Hurricane Rita but after the last presidential election who have not provided positive identification not otherwise called to military service to vote by mail, passed only days earlier by the same chamber.

In an unusual moment of good sense, the House defeated the amended bill, with Republicans holding fast against it joined by some white Democrats (the debate can be read here). Not long afterwards, during debate on an entirely unrelated bill, the head of the Caucus, Rep. Cedric Richmond, made a motion to adjourn the entire session. After his motion was defeated 24-77 with all votes cast by members of the Caucus, its members (except for the Speaker pro tem Rep. Yvonne Dorsey) left the chamber and did not participate in further votes.

Richmond’s remarks on the floor were that the session wasn’t pursuing sufficient levee reform, it was not satisfactorily addressing voting concerns, and it was not dealing with housing issues at all, so it was a waste of money and needed to be stopped. He said these things despite the fact that one of his group’s pet projects, HB 12, was still alive and well and on its way to becoming law. The group’s exit also contradicted Richmond’s assertion that continuing to meet was a waste of money, because by walking out they wasted taxpayer dollars (and forfeited any voice their constituents had on a few bills) that paid their salaries for their period of playing hooky.

The Caucus’ actions brings to mind a crybaby child who plays as long as he wins but if he loses a match, then picks up his marbles and runs away bawling. This is the face our Legislature presents to the rest of the country as it asks for Americans to bestow gifts of tens of billions of dollars on Louisiana (while whining it’s not enough): we can’t pass a levee governance bill creating a system similar to every other state’s, yet we can pass legislation that will make elections less honest, and even after that some of our lawmakers immaturely quit the process. Is it any wonder why the rest of the country is so reluctant to invest in Louisiana?

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