Two years in a row now the Louisiana Legislature has made the right call on a pair of controversial bills. Now if only it can force Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to back members on one or otherwise push his negativity aside.
This week, as it did last year, the House of Representatives turned back HB 649 by Republican state Rep. Stephanie Hilferty. This would have forbidden a school district from allowing corporal punishment in its schools. This was the second attempt to get the bill over to the Senate, failing both times barely to obtain the absolute majority of the seated House necessary, meaning without suspension of the rules the measure is dead for the session.
That action replicates the bill’s fate from last year, and for good reason. Research demonstrates that as part of a continuum of disciplinary actions, when it occurs sparingly as a last resort, spanking in combination with other methods creates the optimal regimen for discipline. Further, statute makes use of this discretionary by a district, and only when parents approve in the cases of their children.
Hilferty made show of the fact that such punishment isn’t allowed against prisoners or juveniles in state custody. But that ignores the parental opt-in feature, which acknowledges that parents know best how to discipline their children and are granted authority on their children’s behalf to delegate actions in the best interests of their children.
The House not only rejected this bad bill but it also sent along to the Senate an excellent bill designed to discourage private sector discrimination on the basis of ideology against lawful enterprise. HB 978 by GOP state Rep. Blake Miguez would disallow state contracting in larger amounts to entities that refused to attest they didn’t have policies preventing their doing business with firearms and ammunition concerns because of the trade carried out by those businesses, unless only those entities bid.
Some firms have declared policies of viewpoint discrimination against such industries, in the process denying them loans, transaction processing, and the like. The State Bond Commission already has adopted a similar policy covering underwriters of bond sales.
This year’s version, like last year’s, passed the House with a supermajority. However, Edwards vetoed that one, alleging that it could cost the state more, even as data from other states show that anxiety overblown. Still, during the veto session Republican legislative leaders made no move to try to attempt an override.
The Senate passed the bill with ease last year, and should do so again for a return trip to Edwards. He well may remain a stubborn ideologue and veto this version also, but this time GOP leaders should show no hesitation in scheduling and whipping to fruition a successful override that puts the people’s interests over woke posturing.