Thursday, May 27, 2010

HB 1205 Is Dead

Today was a good day. The omnibus immigration bill in the Louisiana House of Representatives, HB 1205, is dead. The author, after facing a serious grilling from his fellow committee members, "voluntarily deferred" his bill, with the full knowledge, confirmed publicly by Committee Chairman Cedric Richmond, that it will not be brought up again this legislative session. Even though I had testimony prepared, I didn't even have to testify. Victory. Thanks to everyone who wrote/phoned to legislators, put up blog posts, and otherwise made your voices heard. They listened. We prevailed.

I'd like to thank House Judiciary Committee Members Edwards, Leger, and Connick, for their thoughtful comments and clear, unequivocal opposition to this bill as it was written.

I'd also like to give a special acknowledgment to Committee Chairman Cedric Richmond, who spoke eloquently about the troublesome provisions in this bill as it related to the civil rights of underrepresented minorities. Richmond also deserves recognition for the conscientious and diplomatic way he handled the hearing. He made sure that those of us opposed to the bill and willing to testify against it were acknowledged. I have always been favorably inclined towards Cedric Richmond, especially ever since I saw him, along with law enforcement officers, take on the gun lobby two years ago by trying to limit, if not ban, the sale of assault weapons. Today, I was immensely impressed with his professionalism, his knowledge, and his measured consideration and thoughtfulness in running the Committee hearing today.

I have a couple new favorite legislators in Baton Rouge, with Cedric Richmond leading the pack. Unfortunately, my own Representative, Walker Hines, has been a disappointment to me on this matter. He was noticably absent at the last Judiciary Committee hearing when HB 1205 was on the schedule; and he was nowhere to be found today. I have written to Walker Hines multiple times about this bill, and he has ignored the last few messages I sent to him, which is unusual because Hines has always been very responsive, even if to tell me that he disagrees with me. I wonder what's up with Walker. I have counted on him as an ally in this cause, and have exhorted him to exercise some leadership. And he has been nowhere to be found. I like Walker and have generally been impressed by him. In fact, I initially was a harsh critic and supported his opponent in the last election; but he won me over to his side over the last two years and I have become a converted supporter and general advocate of his legislative initiatives over the past two years. But I can't hide my growing disappointment in his absence and lack of leadership on this issue. It is giving me some pause and sobering my enthusiasm for him. [UPDATE: I have just received an email from Walker Hines. He had a great and more than satisfactory explanation for his absence today and assured me that he was adamantly opposed to the bill and was ready to run into committee if needed for his vote against. He was tending to other important legislative business and knew that the bill was already doomed. (It makes sense that they would have inside beads on such things.) So, turn the dial back up on Walker Hines!]

Anyway, since I didn't get to testify (which was fine, because my testimony's sole purpose was to convince the Judiciary Committee that the bill was bad and to vote against it and thus kill it), I will be posting up on the blog in the next day or so the official testimony that I prepared for the occasion, just for the public record. Be on the lookout for that.

For the moment, though, HB 1205 opponents should take a moment to celebrate a fine accomplishment with the death of this bill. Bravo! And well-done!


Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Yay! So what about all oil?

Michele Benson Huck said...

I joined the contingent of folks who journeyed to Baton Rouge to oppose HB 1205. It was fascinating to see how the committee proceeded. I, too, was very much impressed by Cedric Richmond's leadership.
So glad I was present to witness the demise of this unsavory piece of legislation. I'm please I could come along - thanks Uncle Johnny!