Home Opinion Baton Rouge: Up Close & Personal

Baton Rouge: Up Close & Personal

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Louisiana is the greatest state in the nation with a diverse culture but we are headed for great difficulty.  Sometimes, I know what it must have been like during the pre-Revolutionary War days to be Paul Revere.  Suffice it to say, that in today’s world of Louisiana politics we need a new age Paul Revere.  Instead of “The British are coming!” the cry today is the “Feds are coming!”  This is exactly why a group of Bossier City and Shreveport citizens came together and decided to look at upcoming legislation that affects you the citizen in our state.  Louisiana Power Coalition LLC, was born out of necessity, to stay ahead of the proverbial curve to keep the citizens informed.  This takes dedication, manpower and a full time representative/lobbyist in Baton Rouge on a day to day basis.

First, before the session, the legislation is read and certain bills are picked out that need to be addressed. These bills are scrutinized from a Conservative angle, and the good thing is that we take a look at the bills BEFORE they come into the legislature.  This allows YOU the opportunity to look at the bill.  An e-mail blast comes ahead of time of the vote so that you can call your legislator and weigh in with him or her.  You essentially will have a seat at the table in Baton Rouge with Louisiana Power Coalition, LLC.

The main purpose of this column will be to consider the highlights of the past week’s legislation.  If you haven’t been living on Mars, you know that Common Core is our predominant issue in the legislature this season.  The legislature has had a tsunami of bills pro and con on Common Core.  We have picked the ones that would change the face of the education system to address with the public.  There is a bill numbered HB 953 authored by Representative Leger that is on Student/Standards and provides for a statewide content standard for required subjects.  LPC is against this bill because its approach is to put into Louisiana law the Common Core and PARCC testing.  The bill was engrossed after it passed the House Education Committee and it will make PARCC or any other national or consortium developed assessment a requirement by Louisiana law and requires by law that assessments must test nationally competitive standards.  If this law passes the Senate we will have a law that effectively can only have national standards in Louisiana.

In late April, a federal act on requirements on the Driver’s Licenses passed the House and will soon head to the Senate.  This federal act is called The Real ID Act, and for all practical purposes is the federal government’s collection of your data for sharing with The Federal Homeland Security as well as the FBI.  The Senate Transportation Committee will soon be hearing it to be passed to the Senate.  Basically, The Real ID provides for a national ID card and will essentially turn your license’s jurisdiction over to the Federal Department of Homeland Security.   The official purpose of the Real ID is open-ended.  No longer do officials have the need for a warrant to search and seize, because now with this Act they are allowed to scan your biographical documents and take your biometric picture at the driver’s license bureau.

HB 907 says that the individual citizen has an opt out by not getting the gold star on your driver’s license.  The Act recites that this Real ID is used for three official purposes which are entry into a Federal facility, entry into a nuclear facility and to fly commercially.  There has been some question that the public fears they will be harassed at airports if you don’t get this Real ID gold star on your driver’s license.  Remember you have the ability to fly with a passport.  Considering this wouldn’t it be better to use your passport?  If Louisiana, doesn’t adopt this Act, we can fly with a passport.  Louisiana citizen’s only real opt out on The Real ID is for Louisiana to not make the Real ID Act law here in this state.  The bottom line is do you really think that the airlines will ground all passengers that are not Real ID compliant?  I say no they won’t and I would rather a question of the ability to fly than turn in all of my personal information and give my biometric picture to The Department of Homeland Security to be tracked and watched by authorities.  This Real ID Act is federalization of your identity card with far reaching powers that includes the scanning, retaining, and sharing even allowing the sale of your personal data.  Where is this allowed in the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.  Say no to Real ID!

Diane Long is the President of Louisiana Power Coalition, LLC. She can be reached at Diane.Long4040@att.net