In A Flash

Louisiana Lawmaker wants to make it more difficult to ‘Defund the Police’

By: - September 29, 2020 12:38 pm

State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, has proposed legislation to withhold state construction dollars from higher education institutions and local governments who try to “defund the police”.

If it became law, local governments and higher education institutions would be required to submit their law enforcement budgets to the Legislature’s joint budget committee by Nov. 30 each year.

If the local government or high education institution had cut their law enforcement budgets by 10 percent or more, lawmakers could demand they appear before the committee and refuse them access to new state construction dollars.

Harris could not be reached for immediate comment at the time of publication. In 2016, he was also the sponsor of Louisiana’s “Blue Lives Matter” law, which makes it a hate crime to attack someone because they are a law enforcement officer or first responder —  or appear to be people with those jobs.

The Anti-Defamation League opposed the law — in part by arguing that other state laws already make it a crime to assault or kill law enforcement officers —  but lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly voted in favor of it.

Harris is running as a candidate for Congress in Louisiana’s 5th district, which includes Alexandria, Monroe and rural parts of eastern Louisiana. 

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.