Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Rep. Katrina Jackson: You’ve Come a Long Way, Lady

Rep. Katrina Jackson, at her desk on the House floor
Credit Sue Lincoln

A couple of weeks after the end of the 2012 legislative session, an irate Katrina Jackson called a press conference. She was livid because Governor Jindal had vetoed her signature piece of legislation, supporting public schools.

“This bill passed by a unanimous vote of the House, and only missed one vote in the Senate, Jackson said in June 2012. “He’s defying the expressed will of the Legislature!”

Now, two years later, Governor Jindal is tweeting that he’s looking forward to signing her H.B. 388, which received final concurrence in the House Wednesday afternoon.

“We stand as co-authors of House Bill 388,” Jackson said just before the vote, surrounded by about a third of the House membership. “It is one of the pieces of legislation as will be most impactful to this state regarding our pro-life movement.”

The bill, which requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges, is expected to result in the closure of three of the state’s five abortion clinics.

So how has this Democrat come so far so fast, especially in a male-dominated, Republican majority legislature? Jackson says she’s learned to pick her battles, like the abortion restriction bill.

“That is one issue that doesn’t split us along party lines,” Jackson explained.

She also says you have to know the system, and work with other lawmakers as much as possible.

“Where there are issues dealing with their district that don’t impact (my) District 16, I try to work with them to get those issues resolved,” Jackson said. “And in return, they do the same thing for me.”

While some call that “trading votes”, she sees it as “helping.”

One of the biggest tests of Jackson’s growing legislative influence comes today, as the Senate Education committee will vote on her House-approved bill to enact “Erin’s Law.” It requires public schools to teach kids about sexual abuse—what it is, and where they can go for help. The challenge is reconciling that requirement with the years of legislative refusal to permit the teaching of comprehensive sex education.

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