Today lawmakers can start pre-filing bills for the upcoming March Legislative Session and culture war topics are set to take center stage alongside budget and hurricane-related issues.
A battle over how to teach American History in the context of race and racism was brewing in the Legislature last year before it was tabled after a controversial comment about slavery from the then-House Education Committee Chairman. That fight will resume, and we could see some of the first bills on the topic get released this week.
“I think critical race theory is something that still has the public’s attention and I think we are going to see a lot of bills on that, or a big momentous push on those issues,” Houma Republican Representative Tanner Magee told WWL. “I think that is going to be a dominating kind of policy issue that’s going to be in the Legislature.
New Orleans Democratic Representative Matthew Willard agreed with that prediction and added that this being a non-fiscal session means lawmakers can file as many bills as they’d like. That means there will be new attempts at criminal justice reform focused on previously decided, non-unanimous jury verdicts.
River Ridge Republican Senator Kirk Talbot told WWL he expects lawmakers will take another crack at the transgender sports bill that was narrowly upheld last year in a historic veto override session. On the non-culture side, we could see a renewed push to address nursing home conditions.
“The issue of home health, where we can take care of elderly people at home instead of putting them in some of the worst nursing homes in the country, has failed every year,” said Talbot. “Nursing home evacuation plans, obviously the Bob Dean nursing home tragedy.”
COVID isn’t going away any time soon and neither will COVID-related legislation. Abita Springs Republican Representative Larry Frieman said to expect many lawmakers to rally around vaccine-mandate-related legislation.
“I really think that you are going to see a number of bills that are going to address that, I will actually have my own bill trying to address that,” said Frieman.