Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator
Conservatives in the Louisiana House of Representatives turned to a seldom used procedure Tuesday to bring a controversial education proposal back from the dead. With just two votes to spare, members revived a bill that would prohibit public school teachers and employees from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students.
The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation from Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, failed to advance from the House Education Committee a week ago. Three Republicans joined Democrats in opposition in a 4-7 vote.
On the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Bossier City, asked his colleagues to discharge the rejected bill from committee and move it before the Committee of the Whole, on which all representatives have a vote. Needing 53 members to support discharge the bill, the House voted 55-39 to back Crews’ motion.
Bills brought before the Committee of the Whole are handled much like any other proposal brought before a legislative panel. Representatives can bring supporters and opponents to testify during the bill’s hearing, a process that has never happened on the House floor to the recollection of longtime legislative watchers.
There was no immediate indication from House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, on when Horton’s bill would be scheduled for a hearing.
Louisiana’s “Don’t Say Gay” proposal is modeled after legislation that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law.