Tuesday, 12 May 2015 15:51

Louisiana Business, Rep. Seabaugh, Republicans vs. Cops, Firefighters, Teachers Unions

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seabaughby Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net

    State Rep. Alan Seabaugh is playing with fire, according to some local politicos, as he fights for passage of a bill that would eliminate employee payroll deductions for union dues.
    The bill is being pushed heavily by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) and Republicans, including Seabaugh, are carrying the water for the business lobby.  Seabaugh has a 98% voter approval rating with LABI.

    He is also on the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, which approved the bill on a 9-6 vote to send it to the House floor on Tuesday, May 12.  All Republicans voted for the bill; Democrats voted against.
    Columnist Robert Mann recently published a video at NOLA.com which gives evidence that big business interests regard the legislation as an effort to choke the life out of  unions and other employee organizations.
    The legislation has teachers, police officers, and firemen in an uproar, and some Republican legislators are feeling the heat and want the bill to just go away.
    It is an agonizing decision for these legislators – do they want to face the wrath of LABI or the wrath of teachers, police officers, and firemen and their families and friends.
    Sgt. Michael Carter, longtime president of the Shreveport Police Officers Association (SPOA) and a 19-year veteran of SPD, pulled no punches.
    “We hold Rep. Seabaugh personally responsible for this bill and its malicious intent towards the working police officers in Shreveport,” Carter said.
    He noted that SPOA should not be included in the bill.  He added, “Reps. Bishop and Seabaugh have attacked SPOA without reason and are intent on destroying an organization that serves local officers as they sacrifice their personal health and safety protecting citizens of Shreveport.”
    Some government watchers say the bill has become the most lobbied and contentious issue of the session.  A lot of money is being spent by proponents and opponents of the legislation on media buys and mailouts.
    A group of 10 GOP legislators are urging Rep. Stuart J. Bishop, the main sponsor of the bill, to return it to the calendar, thereby eliminating a House floor vote.  Two of them voted for the bill in committee.  Had they not, the bill would have failed on an 8-7 vote and never made it out of committee.
    Editor’s Note: See a detailed report from the SPOA below

Guest Commentary
SPOA takes aim at Seabaugh
Submitted by SPOA’s Executive Board

The Shreveport Police Officers Association (SPOA)  is a labor organization.  We are a union that is dedicated to the profession of law enforcement.  The public service that we perform is a dangerous profession.  We are careful and decisive about who we trust – our lives depend on that.  
    During the first week of April, we received a phone call from an SPOA member stating that the Honorable State Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R) wanted to talk to Michael Carter, the SPOA president.  
    Rep. Seabaugh phoned Carter to let him know that he had voluntarily withdrawn HB 141, which made union payroll contributions illegal for LA public educators.  SPOA expressed opposition to the same bill filed by Rep. Seabaugh two years in a row, and still would oppose any such bill.  
    Carter thanked Rep. Seabaugh for voluntarily withdrawing the bill.  Rep Seabaugh then warned him that another bill that was much more devastating would be filed.  That bill would eventually become HB 418, filed by the State Rep. J. Bishop (R-Lafayette)..  
    During the phone conservation Rep. Seabaugh stated; “I will not vote for the bill (HB 418) because I believe in the work that fire and police do every day.” Carter believed at that time that Rep. Seabaugh was a man of his word.  Carter thanked Rep. Seabaugh and cited the SPOA’s appreciation.  
    On April 29, 2015 Carter received a phone call from multiple Union leaders from Baton Rouge.  All stated that Rep. Seabaugh had been quoted as saying that he would vote for HB 418, literally defunding all public service unions including Fire, Teachers, and Police associations statewide.  
    Carter initially dismissed the accusations as rumors until he received a call from a trusted friend, Chris Stewart of the Baton Rouge Police Officers Association.  Stewart confirmed the rumors as fact and prompted Carter to initiate contact with Rep. Seabaugh.  
    Rep. Seabaugh returned the call to Carter late in the evening on April 29, 2015.  Rep. Seabaugh offered the lamest political rhetoric for “flip flopping” or as some would say; outright lying about his promise to vote against the “clean bill” that has been titled HB 418.  
    The conversation resulted in Carter driving all night to reach the Louisiana State Capitol before the hearing on April 30, 2015.  Carter gave testimony against HB 418 that literally exposed every lie and rumor that had been given to justify HB 418.  
    Before Carter testified in front of the Labor Relations Committee, Rep. Seabaugh engaged in hateful and direct attacks against the LA Educators, LA Firefighters, and the BRPOA President who testified.  The attacks focused on the AFL-CIO and their donations to various groups that Rep. Seabaugh disagreed with and felt were immoral.  
    As Carter listened to the testimony, he could not help but wonder how the SPOA was included in HB  418.  Carter testified that the SPOA is not a member of the AFL-CIO, a national association, or a LA association.  What could SPOA have done to provoke Rep. Bishop to include them in a bill that directly attacks ALL public sector unions in Louisiana?  
    Furthermore, if Rep. Seabaugh could vote for HB 418, which he did, knowing that the SPOA was not a member of any of the organizations that he attacked publicly, why did he lie to Carter and say that he would not vote for any bill that hurt the SPOA?  
    Rep. Seabaugh proved on April 30, 2015 that the voluntary members of the Shreveport Police Officers Association could not trust a word he says.  His actions were loud and clear, even leaving the room during testimony offered by Carter, disrespecting a man who lives in his very own district.  
    Rep Seabaugh is dancing to the drum of deception, and putting it all on the line to maintain a 98% approval rating with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI).  LABI is a union.  LABI is a special interest group that threatens Republican andidates  with nasty flyers and hate letters to their constituents if they support or vote for a bill that is against LABI’s interest.  
    We are notifying the citizens of Louisiana House District 5 that Rep. Seabaugh has turned his back on public safety.  Rep. Seabaugh lied the worst lie, and voted for HB 418 that was claimed to cost the taxpayer’s money.  
    Testimony after testimony was offered and records were shown and offered to each member of the committee to prove that all SPOA dues are personal funds of individual members, collected at their signed request, at the expense of the SPOA…and NOT taxpayers.  
    All demonized affiliations with national organizations were proven false in regards to the SPOA.  So, after sworn testimony, which of course followed honest conversations from Carter to Rep. Seabaugh, he voted against working police officers that spend their own money to fund their own association.  
    Membership is voluntary.  Dues are not deducted without prior written consent.  Dues are not collected at the taxpayers’ expense.  With that full knowledge, Rep. Seabaugh voted to defund the Shreveport Police Officers Association.  
    Let’s discuss tax dollars.  To any and all persons reading this open letter, the SPOA will gladly show you the wire transfer fee of $54 levied by Regions Bank,  paid by the SPOA.   Once that fiction has been laid to rest, let us discuss what is costing the tax payers a lot of money.  
    Filing bills in the State Capitol is not free nor cheap.  Staff attorneys, assistants, paralegals, clerks, committees, actuaries, not to mention the Legislators themselves, are all paid public servants.  When a fraudulent bill is filed, it costs all LA tax payers a significant amount of money to entertain legislation.
    The Shreveport Police Officers Association has  been attacked by Rep. Bishop and Rep. Seabaugh.  So we are going to do what Cops do when they are attacked.  Day to day we face being hit, kicked, choked, stabbed, increased risk of auto accidents, and even shot to death.  We have friends.  We also have constituents.  It is called the silent majority in political terms.  
    Honest citizens of all races and both genders that go to work each day, pay their taxes and very seldom ever come into contact with a police officer in a negative way.  They support us, and we protect them.  
    They do not take kindly to politicians attempting to hurt working police officers without provocation, and without just cause.  The electorate does not appreciate being lied to and told that the taxpayer is being burdened with dues collection, when in fact, the waste of taxpayer’s money can be traced directly to Rep.Bishop and his cronies.
    But we do not elect cronies, at least we do not mean to.  We attempt to send a delegation to Baton Rouge that will make Shreveport stronger, safer, and respected.  Lies do not achieve respect.  Defunding the Shreveport Police Officers Association without being able to justify the money that has been wasted in trying to do so is unethical and a violation of all that is honest.  What is withheld from an employee’s check after they are paid  is none of Rep. Seabaugh’s business…but LABI has  told him that it is.  
    In a statewide press release last week, LABI stated that it is going all the way to make sure every elected state representative votes for HB 418, and that it will spend a significant amount of money to get the bill passed.  A “dirty” bill filed on rumors and lies.  
    It has been sent through committee and will now go to the House floor.  Threats of nasty flyers abound from LABI with a wink and a pat on the back telling elected officials to do the right thing.  The Honorable Representatives are much smarter than this.  They are our leaders, locally, and statewide.
    The Shreveport Police Officers Association Executive Board has voted unanimously to match LABI’s expenditures dollar for dollar.  However, we understand that the House is made up of local Representatives.  Therefore, we will begin with our  local Representatives.  We will start our expenditures on the least honest of our northwest delegation.  
    We will begin with the Honorable Louisiana State Rep. Alan Seabaugh.  You will not find a Union more accustomed to a street fight than a police union.  We are the Shreveport Police Officers Association and we are comprised of voluntary members of the Shreveport Police Department, all sworn classifications.  
    We are expected to go after bad people every day…and we will not let you down.  Please take the time out of your day to call Rep. Seabaugh, and ask him to justify why he is maliciously attacking working police officers.  
    The Shreveport Police Officers Association, Executive Board, 2015.

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Lou Gehrig Burnett

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

www.faxnetupdate.com/ | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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