The Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), the self-described "family values" organization that holds major sway over lawmakers in heavily conservative parishes, has released its annual legislative scorecard, which it calls a "Family Security Advisory," gauging legislators' votes in the recently concluded session.
On the Senate side, 12 lawmakers scored a perfect 100 percent, earning the title "Outstanding Family Advocate." Five were from the New Orleans metro area: Sens. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie; A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell; Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville; Danny Martiny, R-Metairie; and David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans. Two local state senators — Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, and Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, earned the designation "Hostile."
It was much the same in the House, where the local 100 percenters included Reps. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie; Paul Hollis, R-Covington; Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell; John Schroder, R-Covington; Tim Burns, R-Mandeville; Greg Cromer, R-Slidell; and Raymond Garofalo, R-Chalmette. The only metro state representative to earn a "Hostile" rating from the LFF was Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans. It's worth noting that Republicans tend to score higher with the LFF while Democrats tend to score poorly. Heitmeier was the lone local exception among Democrats.
Peterson — who is the head of the state Democratic party — responded to her "Hostile" rating by telling Gambit, "I'm very proud of my record on families: I put families first by not hiking tuition annually on college students; by fighting to give women equal pay for equal work; and by authoring legislation to expand health care accessibility and affordability. Fighting for working families who are struggling with [Gov. Bobby] Jindal's sustained campaign of privatization and service cuts is what I do every day.
"Furthermore, I believe in the Golden Rule, something the Family Forum doesn't always espouse," Peterson added. "Lastly, I do not believe in discriminating against people for any reason."
The LFF graded each state lawmaker on his or her vote on 10 bills the organization deemed significant to its fundamentalist agenda. On the House scorecard, four of the votes had to do with public schools, while two were abortion-related bills.
The others included a law regarding video poker, of which the LFF noted, "This bill was a part of a three-bill series that would have expanded gambling in the state. Governor Jindal vetoed all three bills at LFF's request."
The last bill on the list prohibited state tax credits from being used for pornographic films, which passed 95-0 in the House. — Kevin Allman