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Solutions with no problems – Stockley on Louisiana Legislature

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by Joshua Stockley, Louisiana Progress , laprogress.org

Philosopher Groucho Marx said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”  Welcome to the Louisiana Legislature.

Apparently a wave of criminal violence has hit churches in Louisiana.  This year, zero people have been killed in church shootings in Louisiana.  In 2009, zero people were killed in church shootings.  This crime wave has caused State Representative Henry Burns to propose H.B. 68, “Packing Heat For Christ,” allowing people to carry concealed weapons in houses of worship as long as the religious leader approves.  You will no longer have to live in fear of someone hijacking your offering plate because you can bring your gun to church.  Amen or bang!

In 2009, 23 people were killed in churches or on church property across the United States.  You are more likely to die from lightning (34 killed) or bees (54 killed) or ladders (412 killed).  Our legislature should focus on real problems, not arming my deacon.

Another misguided piece of legislation is H.B. 1247 by State Representative Frank Hoffman banning elective abortion coverage by private insurers.  As presently worded, H.B. 1247 defines an elective abortion as “other than to preserve the life of the mother when her life is endangered.”  First, this would prohibit insurance from covering an abortion for rape or incest victims.  Second, in some cases a fetus develops a defect that would translate into a very short, difficult, and painful life (short being defined as a few hours or days).  This legislation would force a woman to pay out of pocket to terminate the pregnancy or carry the baby, give birth, and then watch it die.  Why should any woman have to endure the trauma of learning that her child will not live more than a few hours, carrying the child for nine months knowing it will die, and being forced to watch the child die?  Anyone who has had a family member endure such pain would neither write nor support such emotionally calloused legislation scoring cheap political points.

H.B. 1247 also ignores the fact that an overwhelming majority of abortions are paid in cash and that a lack of insurance coverage is not cited as a deterrent to abortions.  Like “Packing Heat For Christ,” H.B. 1247 attempts to provide a solution where there is no problem, thereby creating new problems.  Notice the bill was written by a man and not a woman.

Last year the legislature created a “career diploma” easing curriculum requirements for a high school diploma.  Opponents argued the career diploma would artificially boost graduation rates with faux courses aimed at preparing students for employment at Taco Bell (career diplomas do not meet college entrance requirements).  Proponents denied this claim arguing the career diploma would prepare individuals for vocational and technical fields by providing career-specific courses of instruction (Parts Manual 101 instead of English Literature).  The career diploma would encourage more students to stay in school without compromising the overall quality of education.

This past year the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) declared that end-of-course exams would be the same for all students pursuing any diploma.  In response, career diploma supporter and State Senator Ben Nevers introduced S.B. 490 requiring BESE to construct end-of-course exams just for career diploma courses, meaning career diploma students will be tested on interpreting Taco Bell menus and operating cash registers, rather than grammar, critical thinking, and statistics.  This is obvious proof that the career diploma is a dummy diploma.

Last, but not least, State Representative John LaBruzzo has filed H.B 415, a constitutional amendment requiring all of Louisiana’s college students to complete a class on the U.S. Constitution before graduating.  I think this constitutional amendment falls short because it does not require public servants to pass this course as well.  Nevertheless, this unfunded mandate will force all college students to take (and pass) a course from me in order to graduate.  Beautiful (and thanks)!

Dr. Joshua Stockley is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a regular columnist for the Monroe News Star, and co-host of the weekly radio talk show, Political Incorrectness. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

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Written by demon53

April 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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