Braiding the House Together

May 12, 2017

The full House put a number of bills through the mill Thursday, having some bi-partisan fun along the way.

“This is my rescue-a-Republican-bill day,” New Iberia Democrat Terry Landry joked, as he helped Denham Springs Republican Valerie Hodges pass her ignition interlock bill.


The final debate of the day brought the stress-relieving camaraderie into high relief, as Carencro Republican Julie Emerson urged passage of her bill to deregulate hair braiding.

“Right now, in order to braid in the state of Louisiana, you have to have 500 hours in a class and be licensed,” she explained. “There’s actually no ability to get the license anymore. There’s no school that offers the 500 hours at this point.”

Dry Creek Democrat Dorothy Sue Hill objected to the idea of deregulating the practice.

“I’m concerned,” said the 78-year-old from Beauregard Parish, “Because if we deregulate this, you know, this is eliminating all the sanitation, and being clean. And I’m very much on that. I was a home economics teacher and you learned to wash your hands before you ever touched anything.”

Hammond Republican Chris Broadwater tried to help Hill understand the lack of danger in passing this measure.

“Are there any reports of anyone dying from having their hair braided? Any reports of someone being maimed or injured because someone was braiding their hair?” Broadwater asked rhetorically from the lectern.

“It's a skill, using just your hands,” Baton Rouge Democrat Pat Smith chimed in.

“I am fully in support of this bill, because it gives individuals an opportunity to have work,” Smith added, then quipped, “And I am also helping out my Republican friend.”

“You got some bills coming you need some help on, too?” Landry asked, earning appreciative laughter from the members.

The entire exchange had House Speaker Taylor Barras remarking, “It’s nice to see y’all getting along. That’s good – for one day, anyway.”