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Tuesday, 28 April 2015 12:21
N. Louisiana religious leaders marriage bill; PSC wants cable control
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mike-johnsonby Lou Gherig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net
Religious leaders confront Johnson
Republican state Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City is touting his controversial bill, called the Marriage and Conscience Act, as a vehicle for “religious freedom.”

But according to advocacy groups Equality Louisiana and Louisiana Progress Action, HB 707 would legalize discrimination, basically against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.
Many legal experts, business leaders, and faith leaders agree and have spoken out against the bill, including business giant IBM.
Last week, religious leaders in Johnson’s own back yard held a press conference at the Broadmoor Branch Library and spoke out against the bill.
Among those speaking out against the bill were:
*Pastor John Henson, Church for the Highlands;
*Pastor Samuel Mims, the Shepherd’s Hut;
*Rev. Mary Richard, Church of the Holy Cross;
*Rev. Barbara Jarrell, the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church;
*Chris Broadwell, Director of Congregational Care at Grace Community United Methodist Church;
*Susan Caldwell, Director of Religious Education at the All Souls Uniitarian Universalist Church.
Johnson attended the press conference in an effort to gain support for his bill. But he failed to convince those at the press conference.
When it was over, the group released a statement signed by 50 faith leaders from throughout the state declaring their opposition to Johnson’s bill. On Friday of last week, a petition was taken to Johnson’s Bossier City office containing 3,000 signatures of citizens opposed to the legislation.
Johnson was undeterred. He said he would continue his efforts to get the bill passed and signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who says he supports Johnson’s bill.

Have complaints about cable?
Have you ever been upset about your cable service and don’t know who to call? Well, that could change if a bill in the current session of the Legislature passes and is signed into the law.
State Rep. Joe Bouie, D-New Orleans, is awaiting action of his bill, HB 534, which would allow the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) to take over the regulations of cable and video service providers. Presently, that authority lies with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
The LPSC is supporting the bill. It wants to adopt new standards of customer service for cable providers. It says new oversight is needed for providers who are bundling their products with phone services, which are already regulated by the LPSC.
District 5 Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell of Elm Grove had this to say: “Somebody needs to regulate cable. The prices are outrageous and the service is not the best. We get a lot of complaints about it. The industry needs to answer to someone.”
Cheryl P. McCormick, CEO of the Louisiana Cable and Telecommunications Association, said her organization opposes the legislation.
She noted the industry is already regulated on the federal level by the FCC and that more regulation is not the answer. The marketplace dictates how we perform, she added.

(Image above: Rep. Mike Johnson)

Lou Gehrig Burnett

Lou Gehrig Burnett is the publisher of Fax-Net, a North-Louisiana newsletter.

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