House back in session, take up domestic violence, registrar of voters legislation

Published: May. 26, 2015 at 8:38 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2015 at 1:14 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With three weeks left to go in the 2015 session, some lawmakers are feeling the pressure, and a couple of items hit roadblocks on Tuesday.

The House was back in session after enjoying the holiday off. Committee rooms were busy from the start of the morning into the afternoon with it being crunch time at the Capitol.

Some lawmakers are happy their measures are moving forward, while others will have to work quickly to keep time on their side.

For Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, she's on a mission to better understand the inner workings of the state's Registrar of Voters offices.

Each parish has one. They register people to vote, work elections and were the subject of a 9News investigative report this month. Questions were raised like have the ROV offices become a life-time position.

Rep. Smith wants to create a group to take a closer look. The measure passed the House Appropriation Committee unanimously as did a bill from Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard.

"We've been sitting here watching them cut $600, $700 million in higher education the last six, seven years," said Rep. Richard, I-Thibodaux.

Rep. Richard wants to cut personal and consulting service contracts and, in turn, fund higher education. He has the support of the state treasurer.

"This bill is about whether we ought to be spending this money to encourage our Hispanic neighbors, for example, to wear their seat belts, or whether we out to be putting the money into roads or higher education," said John Kennedy, LA State Treasurer.

A bill from Sen. Sharon Weston Broome that she says would protect victims of domestic abuse from housing discrimination did not have the same luck.

"I am committed to work through this particular bill which is feel is a tool in the tool kit to help remedy that," said Sen. Broome, D-Baton Rouge.

The bill has its supporters, like a victim who joined Sen. Broome. Debbie Marie says it's about protecting victims first, not landlords.

"Is your focus on protecting these companies, or is your focus on the one being kicked and punched and spit on and all that stuff?" asked Marie, a domestic violence victim.

However, the bill was ultimately deferred with some lawmakers saying it's not ready to be taken up by the full House. Sen. Broome now waits for another hearing.

The anti-abortion bill from Representative Lenar Whitney, R-Houma, also stalled in committee. Her bill would ban abortions based on the gender of the baby. That measure passed the House Floor overwhelmingly two weeks ago, but the Senate Committee vote was 50-50.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.