The 2020 Regular Session of the Louisiana State Legislature will convene at noon on Monday, March 9th and will adjourn no later than 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 1st. As a newly elected state representative, I have been eagerly anticipating the opening of the legislative session as the opportunity to truly begin the work of turning our state around and bringing hope and renewed optimism to the good people of Louisiana. Since taking office on January 13th, I have attended meetings and talked to constituents from across our district – from Hall Summit to Jena and all points in between – in an effort to understand the cares and concerns of the citizens and leaders of District 22.
As of last Friday 1,120 bills have been pre-filed by legislators, with a huge variety of issues being addressed, including the legalization of recreational marijuana, abolition of the death penalty, lessening restrictions against shooting feral hogs, and naming of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly as the official butterfly of the state. Although legislation regarding tort/insurance reform and fiscal responsibility appear to be the hot topics this session, I am also extremely interested in a few bills addressing important constitutional and moral issues currently being debated in our state. I am a proud supporter and co-author of HB686 by Rep. Danny McCormick(R-Oil City), a “constitutional carry” bill that would allow the concealed carry of a weapon without a permit. I am also fully supportive of legislation authored by Sen. Beth Mizell(R-Franklinton) and Rep. Beryl Amedee(R-Houma) that would ban biological males from identifying as females and competing in girl’s high school sports.
I would encourage everyone interested in the legislative process to check out the House of Representatives website at https://house.louisiana.gov where you can get daily and weekly schedules, watch videos from committee rooms and the House floor, track individual bills, and see how each representative votes. Of course, I will also be posting updates and comments about the session on Facebook @GabeFirment22 and at least occasionally through Twitter @FirmentGabe.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing in recent days of two noteworthy citizens of District 22. Mr. El Ray Lemoine of Montgomery, LA passed away on February 29th at the age of 78. Mr. Lemoine was a true public servant and beloved by the citizens of Grant Parish and beyond, having served as Clerk of Court in Grant Parish for over 39 years. On the morning of February 28th I was notified that my friend Everett “Crusty” Toler of Jena had suddenly passed away at the age of 71. “Crusty” was a fixture around Jena known for his devotion to the Jena Giants, big heart, and love of all things political.
When I announced in the summer of 2018 that I was running for state representative, I was informed by numerous Grant Parish politicos that I had to immediately head to the north part of the parish and speak with Mr. El Ray Lemoine. I was given similar advice in LaSalle Parish, and quickly scheduled an appointment to meet with Mr. Crusty and the “Ole Boys” Club at the Brisket House. Although I did not get to know either of these men as well as I would have liked, there is no doubt that District 22 lost a couple of fine Christian gentlemen who loved their families and communities and left proud legacies of service and sacrifice. If there is an “Ole Boys” Club in heaven I’m sure that Mr. El Ray and Mr. Crusty have already had many a conversation about baseball, tractors, LSU, hunting, fishing, and just maybe a little politics.