Tuesday, October 07, 2008

LA Republican who advocated sterilization of the poor loses legislative leadership position

Rep. Ray LaBruzzo (R-Eugenics) has been booted from his position of leadership in the Louisiana state legislature.

LaBruzzo was vice chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee. He ignited a national controversy in September when he proposed paying poor women to have their tubes tied. He also recommended tax incentives to encourage college-educated, higher-income Louisianans to have more children.

"It's easy to say, 'Oh, he's a racist,' " LaBruzzo said. "The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions."
The Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, backed by the Jindal administration, sat down and thought of a solution: take away LaBruzzo's leadership role on the committee.

In making the change, House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said the Legislature "will undertake the enormous and difficult task of reforming health care in Louisiana in the next several months. Some of the comments made by Rep. LaBruzzo recently have impeded his abilities to help lead critical health-care reform and be an effective member of our leadership team."

LaBruzzo did not return a call for comment.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is working with state and federal agencies on a new health care plan that must in part be steered through the Legislature, had been openly critical of LaBruzzo's suggestion.


Monday's decision was a serious setback to the 38-year-old representative. He had already been branded as a lawmaker with a knack for proposing bills with little chance of becoming law, either because of their controversial nature or because they were proposed without apparent forethought.

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