In what is turning out to be one of the ugliest legislative sessions in my adult lifetime, the Louisiana Legislature seems bent on further eroding both our reputation and our wellbeing. After passing a bill requiring rear seat passengers to wear seatbelts, the leges kowtowed to the will of former governor–and mentor/benefactor of current Gov. Jindal– Mike Foster’s wishes and passed a bill that allows motorcyclists to go helmet-less, guaranteeing an increase in death and carnage–and higher medical bills that will cost taxpayers. Additionally, the House soundly defeated an attempt to ban smoking in bars and casinos, ostensibly to ensure freedom of choice. But that freedom only extends to smokers–a minority–and ensures that any nonsmokers–the majority–who wish to work in bars and casinos, or merely hear live music, drink a beer or gamble must breathe the toxic outgassing of smoking addicts.
Thanks, Louisiana Legislature! I’m no longer worried that my “right” to kill or maim myself or to personally pollute the air around me while smoking in confined spaces with nonsmokers will be taken away. Who cares that taxpayers will pay my bills if I smash my head in a minor motorcycle accident? And who cares if I make service workers sick or if nonsmokers don’t want to breathe my smoke? It’s freedom of choice–for me! I don’t want the government telling me what I can’t do to your lungs! That’s an invasion of my pursuit of happiness. So screw all you nonsmokers. How dare you use government to tell me what to do with your health!
Louisiana is truly a leader. We have 2 cities in the Top 10 for murder. We are the Number 1 per capita state for carbon emissions. We incarcerate a larger percentage of our population than any other state. And now we “protect” the “rights” of smokers and soon-to-be-brain-injured motorcyclists. Maybe we’ll become one of the top organ donor states when the helmet law becomes effective.
Just don’t get caught in the back seat without your seatbelt on. We wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself. Because we care about your wellbeing.
NOTE: As of 3pm June4, all 3 of these bills await final passage if any of you care to get involved and contact your elected officials. See the Comments for this posting for specifics.