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NAACP seeking travel advisory for Louisiana, citing 'concerning' policies

3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, June 07 2023 Jun 7, 2023 June 07, 2023 5:11 PM June 07, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The state branch of the NAACP is asking its parent organization to issue a "national travel advisory" for Louisiana because of legislative policies and actions that it believes target and marginalize certain groups, including African Americans.

The Louisiana State Conference cited about a dozen "potentially damaging bills" that were introduced in the 2023 legislative session. With time running out on the session, it will soon be clear how many of the measures will become law.

Those singled out include SB 46, which "provides for the review of textbooks and other instructional materials"; SB 159, which "allows seventeen-year-olds to be held and tried as adults under certain circumstances"; and HB 646, which "provides for the annual canvass of registered voters."

The organization lists those, and several other bills, as detrimental to the Black community. Other bills cited, the group says, would have negative effect on the LGBTQ+ community.

The State Conference is asking Gov. John Bel Edwards to veto all of the items it called out.

Louisiana NAACP officials also raised concern about a decision to halt the investigation into the death of Ronald Greene and the alleged coverup, which has been detailed through a series of reports by the WBRZ Investigative Unit.

The state organization is formally requesting a national travel advisory from the NAACP. In May, such an advisory was issued for Florida in response to what the organization called "aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools."

WBRZ reached out to the Office of the Lt. Governor, which oversees tourism in the state, for a response to the concerns. On Thursday, we received the following statement:

“Prior to Covid, we had five record breaking years in tourism. We are competing against every other state for tourism dollars. It is unfortunate that anyone would discourage people from coming to Louisiana. We have our challenges, but we should not let politics get in the way of promoting our great state and the great things we have here. The tourism industry supports over 250,000 families who need that business for their income; and, for those small businesses, the mom-and-pop operations that are struggling to get back to making a profit after the pandemic, we have to do everything we can to make sure they succeed. It’s disappointing that anyone would hurt that,” - Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.


The complete list of bills cited by the State Conference follows.

For the African American community:

  • HB 70: Amends the present law to reduce the opportunity for the reduction of a sentence and parole eligibility for offenders convicted for the fourth or subsequent time of a nonviolent felony offense.

  • HB 464: Increases the minimum term of imprisonment for the possession of a firearm by a felon from five years to 10 years.

  • HB 646: Provides for the annual canvass of registered voters

  • SB 23 makes the Secretary of State the only official who can determine the locations of alternative locations for early voting.

  • SB 46: Provides for the review of textbooks and other instructional materials

  • SB 54: Repeals provisions relative to police officers making arrests for certain misdemeanors and felonies.

  • SB 130: Authorizes retired law enforcement officers and retired elected law enforcement department heads to carry concealed firearms if POST certified at the time of retirement.

  • SB 159: Allows seventeen-year-olds (17) to be held and tried as adults under certain circumstances.

For the LGBTQIA2S+ community:

  • HB 466: "Don't Say LGBTQ+" prevents students and educators across the state from having and providing safe, inclusive classrooms. It will block teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people, further stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people and isolating LGBTQ+ kids. HB 466 silences educators by banning the instruction and discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity during any extracurricular academic, athletic, or social activities in grades K–12. It also bans school employees and other presenters from discussing their own sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • HB 648: Gender Affirming Care Ban: Bans physicians from providing age-appropriate, best-practice health care for transgender minors under the age of 18. This bill contradicts guidelines recommended by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and more, because gender-affirming care saves lives.

  • HB 81: Pronoun Restriction: Allows schools to forcibly out and intentionally misgender transgender and non-binary students.

  • Summary: State lawmakers are targeting LGBTQIA2S+ rights by limiting the ability to update gender information on IDs and records, weakening nondiscrimination laws, restricting free speech and expression, banning affirming care for trans youth, and blocking access to medically necessary health care. This puts transgender people at risk of losing jobs, facing harassment, and other harms.

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