In the state whose governor warned Republicans to “stop being the stupid party,” Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and his colleagues repeatedly ignore that very advice — proposing one ridiculous law after another. Laws such as those that aim to limit women’s rights, make it a felony to drive while undocumented, and allowing concealed weapons in places of worship are only the tip of the iceberg.
Here are the five worst ideas to come from Louisiana’s Tea Party Legislature:
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, pool
Teaching Outrageous Lies In Schools
In 2012, Governor Jindal proposed a school voucher program that would violate religious liberties, cost taxpayers more money, potentially close public schools, and harm children of low-income families. What comes with the voucher system are updated school textbooks that promote not only Christian teachings, but some fairly outrageous ideas. According to these books,the Loch Ness Monster is real, the KKK were respectable and morally upstanding, Africans are unable to read because communists took control of their government, and President Bill Clinton was only elected because of fabrications put forth by the liberal media.
The Louisiana state legislature also passed a bill that would allow the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in science classes throughout the state. During a hearing before the Senate concerning this bill, the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), Republican state senator Mike Walsworth asked science teacher Darlene Reaves if experiments regarding evolution are included. As she described an experiment where students can watch E. coli evolve, Walsworth actually interrupted to ask if the bacteria would evolve into a human.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
There have been a large number of laws in Louisiana that infringe on the reproductive rights of young girls and women. Proposed legislation includes requiring that a physician be present when administering the abortion pill, forcing abortion clinics to post signage notifying women of alternatives to abortion, the criminalization of abortions, and a stipulation that women be Mirandized before having the procedure.
Jindal can’t understand why anyone would be against a law treating women doing something perfectly legal as criminals, explaining, “When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights. Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.”
That’s not even the worst of it—Republican state representative John LaBruzzo proposed a “feticide” bill that would criminalize abortion and sentence women who have one up to 15 years in prison with hard labor.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Nullifying Federal Gun Laws
Emulating state laws like those proposed in the Texas legislature, Louisiana Republicans moved to pass legislation that would reverse any federal gun law before it is implemented. H.B. 5 “prohibits the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms.”
Making productive use of time and taxpayer money, a supporter of the bill, State Representative Joe Lopinto (R) himself admitted that the bill was unconstitutional, saying, “Although I like what this bill states…I have $100,000 of student loans that tell me it’s probably unconstitutional.” Despite this, Lopinto argued it was worth the energy of countering the federal government even “if we have to spend every dime.”
AP Photo/Danny Johnston
Eliminating Income And Corporate Tax
In early 2013, Governor Bobby Jindal proposed completely eliminating income and corporate taxes in the state. To offset the loss of $3.6 billion in revenue, Jindal offered a sales and cigarette tax hike from 4 to 5.88 percent. The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy studied the governor’s plan and found that it would actually raise taxes significantly on the “bottom 80 percent of Louisianans.”
Jindal couldn’t garner support for this bill on any front. Businesses and advocates for the poor were extremely critical, eventually leading Jindal to give up on the idea altogether. “I recognize that in this instance I need to be the one who gives so that we can have the chance to achieve success,” he said, “but I’m not going to pout, I’m not going to take my ball and go home.”
Limiting LGBT Workers’ Rights
A law proposed by Louisiana representative Alan Seabaugh (R) would prohibit LGBT people from obtaining any type of assistance or protection if they feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace. This blatantly bigoted bill plainly states, “Provides that suits filed for employment discrimination for any reason other than age, disability, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, sickle cell trait, and genetic discrimination shall be dismissed and considered frivolous.”
The bill goes even further: “If an LGBT individual is a victim of employment discrimination, the state would actually punish them with a financial burden for even trying to object,” says Equality Louisiana.
AP Photo/Jason DeCrow