Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger was handling Senator Ronnie Johns’ SB 468 on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.
“This bill has to do with the minimum age for dancers in strip clubs. If you have to be 21 to drink in a strip club, you probably ought to be 21 to dance,” Leger said, introducing the measure which has the intent to help halt human trafficking.
“Does this apply equally to men?” Rep. Sam Jones asked.
“It says dancers,” Leger replied
But then House Clerk Butch Speer announced, “Representative Havard has an amendment. It’s 4636 and it’s available on your computers.”
Havard came to the front of the House and explained, “Members, in the spirit of this legislative session, I offer up this amendment of trimming the fat. I have put an age limit on it of no more than 28 years of age and shall be no more than 160 pounds. And I’ll take any questions.”
While the members were hooting and hollering over the amendment, House Speaker Taylor Barras called on Lafayette Rep. Nancy Landry.
“I knew that was coming,” Havard said.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker,” the chairwoman of the House Education committee said, then fixed Havard with a disapproving glare. “Do you know I find this amendment offensive?”
“Well, I’ll pull it, Ms. Landry,” Havard said promptly.
But it didn’t end there.
“For the floor on the bill, Representative Stokes,” the Speaker called out.
“I don’t even know what Rep. Havard was thinking. All the women in this body are disgusted at what you just did,” the vice-chair of House Ways and Means said, her voice shaking with anger.
“I hear derogatory comments about women in this place regularly. I hear and I see women get treated differently than men. And I’m going to tell you what – you gave me a perfect forum to talk about it right now, because it has got to stop. That was utterly disrespectful and disgusting.”
The bill passed unanimously, but without an apology from Havard, or any admonitions from the House Speaker.