Monday, May 17, 2010

HB 1205 Update

Well, well, well ... Rep. Harrison's Proposed Substitute for HB 1205 is now available for review. And it's actually worse.

Whereas the previous version at least had an Affirmative Defense provision that qualified the "harboring" and "transporting" sections of the bill, the new version, as far as I can tell in my reading of it, has done away completely with any kind of Affirmative Defense provision. Although the original Affirmative Defense provisions were unconvincing and problematic to many of us, at least some kind of effort was made to try to give some recourse to nonprofits providing humanitarian aid to undocumented immigrants or to attorneys representing undocumented migrants. Now, there's not even that. It seems to me that Harrison's new language represents a clear and unabashed slap in the face of charitable nonprofits and immigration lawyers who work with undocumented immigrants out of a concern for basic human dignity and well-being, not to mention a sense that even undocumented immigrants have the right to some kind of legal representation without creating the threat of criminal prosecution against their lawyers simpy for doing their job. This proposed substitute bill does, I think, comment negatively again on Rep. Harrison's character. It makes him now seem not only angry, but also vindictive. And it's also yet another tactical mistake, because any nonprofits or immigration lawyers who may have been assuaged by the Affirmative Defense provision will now have to join the full ranks of the opposition to this bill if they want to protect their interests and continue their work.

But I have come across something even more telling about Rep. Harrison. Here's a guy who is proposing a bill whose fiscal impact on the State's budget is estimated to be upwards of 6-7 millions of dollars annually.

And yet this very same guy is the author of House Concurrent Resolution 25 (HCR 25), submitted in the very same Congressional session, which reads, in part:

WHEREAS, each new area of government spending tends to become entrenched and grow exponentially in future budgets in perpetuity; and
WHEREAS, such growth imposes increasing budgetary demands that lead to more and greater taxation; and
WHEREAS, tax revenue is money taken from individuals by government and cannot therefore be available to each of them for use according to their own individual needs; and
WHEREAS, compelling arguments against overly burdensome taxation have focused on the ability to maximize tax revenues and thereby contribute to greater government growth; and
WHEREAS, the true virtue of lowering the tax burden imposed upon citizens by government is that it expands individual liberty and thereby allows for greater economic growth; and
WHEREAS, maximizing liberty is a more desirable societal goal than maximizing tax revenues and government growth.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby memorialize the Congress of the United States and other state legislatures to pledge to return government to its proper purposes and to reverse its encroachment into areas best served by private individuals.
I ask you: is there a fundamental contradiction in what this guy advocates and believes? So it seems to me.

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