There was a little something for everyone during this year's legislative session, even for Ian Dury fans. Just consider the following:
• Sex: As the session wound down last week, it seemed highly likely that legislation by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, to level the prostitution playing field was going to pass. Current law defines solicitation for prostitution (chiefly vaginal intercourse) as a misdemeanor, while solicitation of a crime against nature (fellatio, cunnilingus, anal sex and bestiality) comes with a felony label. Senate Bill 381 makes them both a misdemeanor. During debate, supporters argued that johns would be encouraged to change their ways if given a second chance, while opponents countered that johns would indeed be encouraged — encouraged, that is, to seek out more prostitutes.
• Drugs: Marijuana, synthetic and otherwise, carried the banner for illegal substances this session. Many already know that the lab-produced herbal stuff, known as Spice, Voodoo, Mojo and other names, is going to be outlawed. But there was also Senate Bill 576 by Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, which creates a minimum fine of $250 for second-offense possession of marijuana and mandates substance abuse treatment and community service. Claitor originally wanted a 48-hour mandatory jail sentence as well, but lawmakers on the House side told him to chill, dude.
• Rock 'n' roll: Senate Concurrent Resolution 112 by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, was given swift passage for good reason. As adopted, it crowns the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame as the "official honors and recognition organization and information resource for Louisiana's music, musicians and musical heritage." That heritage, of course, includes a great many rock 'n' rollers. — Jeremy Alford