Butthurt black legislators staged a walkout in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Monday, thus raising the average IQ of the Louisiana House of Representatives by at least 10 points.
The walkout was over a bill that would require a vote by locals before any war monuments on public land could be removed
The Louisiana House approved legislation Monday aimed at blocking the removal of Confederate monuments, causing the 24-member Legislative Black Caucus to walk out.
A largely party-line 65-31 vote followed an emotionally charged two hours of debate and comes as the majority-black New Orleans is taking down statues of figures from the Civil War’s Confederacy.
“It was disgusting. We just couldn’t stay,” said Black Caucus member Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, while waiting in the hall for an aide to get his glasses and cellphone from his desk in the chamber. “You have to stand for something.”
The measure now goes to the state Senate for consideration. Two other proposals with similar objectives — House Bill 292 and Senate Bill 198 — are awaiting a hearing in committees.
House Bill 71 would forbid the removal, renaming or alteration of any military monument of any war, including what is referred to in the bill as the “War Between the States,” that is situated on public property unless a majority of the voters in the municipality or parish approve.
All wars were mentioned in the measure, but the debate focused only on Confederate monuments.
“The monuments you seek to protect are deeply offensive to African-Americans and to Christians,” said state Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe. “Do they have any monuments to (Adolf) Hitler in Germany?”
“This bill is very much about white supremacy and divisiveness,” said Rep. Patricia Smith, a Democrat who represents a Baton Rouge district that includes the State Capitol and which is 62 percent African-American.
State Rep. Thomas Carmody Jr., a Shreveport Republican who sponsored HB71, said his legislation “is only about allowing the public to decide.” He said he was trying to protect Southern history and heritage. He also said he believes in secession and that the Civil War was not fought by the Confederacy to protect slavery.
An advisory committee in Shreveport, a black-majority city, has been holding hearings on the future of a Confederate memorial in front of the Caddo Parish courthouse. Carmody’s predominantly south Shreveport district is 88 percent white.
Even if the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, Carmody said that because of the timing, his legislation probably would not halt the two-year effort to remove four monuments that many in New Orleans find objectionable.
“It’s offensive to bring to the middle of my city,” said Democratic Rep. Gary Carter, of New Orleans, “monuments to those who fought for my enslavement.”
Carmody replied that voters could approve, in a scheduled election, the choice made by their City Council.
“This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen done in this building,” said Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.
Democratic and African-American representatives pursued the strategy of attempting to flood the legislation with amendments, all of which House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, shot down as not being germane to a bill that required a vote on removing Confederate military statues. The speaker’s rulings were sustained on near party-line votes.
“I don’t know why in a session where we can’t balance a budget,” said Democratic Rep. Sam Jones, a former Franklin mayor, “we are here today to refight the Civil War.”
Jones attempted to amend the legislation to include a minimum wage. State Rep. Barbara Carpenter, D-Baton Rouge, then tried to amend the bill to allow local elections on equal pay.
Ten legislators spoke against the legislation. Carmody was the only representative who spoke in favor of it.
HB71, Carmody said over and over again, was about holding an election for any effort to remove a war-related monument. But it was New Orleans and four Confederate statues at the center of the debate.
A marker commemorating the Battle of Liberty Place, a civilian uprising against local government, which formerly had white supremacist wording, was taken down in the middle of the night April 24. A memorial to Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, was removed Thursday.
We should have picked our own cotton.