Legislators on Sanctuary Cities, Liberty
Legislators handling key bills on sanctuary cities and religious liberty described their legislation at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Rep. Jay Morris (R-Monroe) is the author of HB 453 on sanctuary cities. A so-called sanctuary city is a city which has a policy against turning over illegal aliens to federal immigration officials. There are two sanctuary cities in Louisiana — New Orleans and Lafayette. Morris’ bill provides that if a sanctuary city releases an illegal alien who should have been turned over to ICE and that alien subsequently commits a crime against a citizen, the victim can sue the sanctuary city for the damages he sustained. The damage must be reasonably related to the release.
Morris’ bill passed the House 65-20 and is now pending in the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, where it has an uncertain fate.
Rep. Mike Johnson is the author of HB 597, the Pastor Protection Act, which would make it clear that pastors have no obligation to perform a same-sex marriage if it is contrary to their faith. Johnson said 78 percent of Louisiana voters supported the Marriage Amendment to the Louisiana Constitution, which prohibits same-sex marriage. Yet now the U.S. Supreme Court has forced states to perform such ceremonies. The bill would prevent that decision from being used to infringe on the consciences of members of the clergy.
The bill appears to limit its protection to clergy affiliated with organizations approved under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. One member of the Chamber EBR asked Johnson if that were a flaw in the bill. Johnson said the bill does not say they must be approved under 501(c)(3) but eligible for approval.
Johnson’s bill passed the House 80-18 and is pending in the Senate Judiciary B Committee,where it too faces an uncertain outcome.