Tilting at Windmills: Annual Bills, Same Result

Apr 25, 2014

  It appeared to be “Tilting at Windmills Day” at the Capitol Thursday, with committees hearing this year’s version of bills that seem doomed to perennial failure.

The House Labor Committee, meeting after the House floor session, took up the “Equal Pay for Women” bill. Deborah Freda with the American Association of University Women filled committee members in on the current state of the “pay gap.”

“Women in Louisiana make 67 cents for each dollar men earn,” Freda said. “That means they only earn two-thirds the pay of men.”

She also reminded committee members that women are the majority in Louisiana.

“Females in this state are 51-point-1 percent of the population, and that’s your constituents.”

Committee members called the question on the bill quickly, and even stated they were eager to end their work week. That prompted the bill’s sponsor, Representative Barbara Norton of Shreveport, to vent her disgust with the pre-determined outcome.

“We’ve been here before, and there is no reason for us to act like we don’t really know what this is all about,” Norton said.

It was about killing the bill, again.

The bill to repeal the “Louisiana Science Education Act” was heard in Senate Education. The end result was clear from the start, as committee chair Conrad Appel limited each side to fifteen minutes of total testimony.

“Can you just give us the short version?” Appel asked several people who came to testify on the bill.

Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum objected to doing away with the law, which effectively permits the teaching of creationism in public schools.

“I urge you not to be bullied, or to buy into the crusade of scientism’s disciples,” Mill said.

The repeal failed, as it has for the past four years. College student Zach Kopplin, who started the repeal effort when he was still a student at Baton Rouge Magnet High, vowed he would keep coming back.

“The Louisiana Science Education Act will be repealed,” Kopplin predicted. “It’s an embarrassment to our state, to our country, and to our education system. And my generation will not allow it to stand.”

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