The legislative session is underway in Louisiana and HRC is keeping a close eye on a couple of pieces of legislation that could impact the LGBT community across the state.
This week, the Louisiana Senate amended Senate Bill 288 by Senator Conrad Appel to ensure that the bill would not prevent cities and counties in Louisiana from passing municipal ordinances which would require city contractors to have non-discrimination policies including that matched municipal employment protections for LGBT employees in the contractor’s workplace. Cities across Louisiana would still be free to set local LGBT non-discrimination policies and extend those to contractors who receive taxpayer- funded contracts. This bill has passed the Senate and now heads to the House.
House Bill 597 by Representative Mike Johnson is an unnecessary bill that restates the religious protections afforded to faith leaders under the Constitution of the United States. This bill does little to add to protections that already exist for pastors and faith leaders but it is clearly motivated by animus towards LGBT people, particularly same-sex marriage. This week the bill was amended in the House to be sure limit the scope only to clergy as well as religious organizations and their employees. This bill has passed the House and now heads to the Senate.
Last year Rep. Johnson led a failed attempt to push an extreme anti-LGBT bill, HB 707 which was supported by former Governor Bobby Jindal. Thanks to the strong coalition efforts between HRC and local organizations in Louisiana, this bill was defeated with bipartisan support.
HRC continues to working alongside Forum for Equality and Equality Louisiana to monitor concerning legislation this session to protect LGBT Louisianians from discrimination.
HRC has been on high alert this year, tracking nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills across the nation, but particularly the South. Even though some state legislatures have already adjourned, more than 80 anti-LGBT bills are still active and several state legislatures are still in session.