A.B.A.T.E. of Louisiana, Inc.
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ABATE helps Louisiana become
the 3rd State in the Nation to
have a Law passed addressing
FROM THE PRESIDENT: Rick “BRICK” Lindsey
Hello fellow motorcyclists and enthusiasts. It has been a very busy and successful Legislative year for our organization and I would like to thank all of the members and supporters who helped us in our endeavors.
We started the year off by reconfirming our purpose, defining, and adopting our annual Legislative Agenda for 2019. Armed with our new agenda and a few choice documents provided to us by the Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP), over 40 members converged on the Capitol for opening day of the 2019 Legislative session.
Our plan is to set the 2020 Legislative Agenda in September 2019. If you have any areas that you feel we need address concerning the motorcycling community, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Remember, we are here to fight for the rights of ALL bikers in our state. Our goal is to establish communication between Legislatures, Law Enforcement, and the biker community, so you don’t have to. Please become a member of ABATE today to help us help you.
The purpose of ABATE of Louisiana is:
PROFILING BILL, ACT # 294: We are proud to say that on Jun 11, 2019, Louisiana officially became the 3rd State in the Nation to have a law passed addressing Motorcycle Profiling. John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, signed House Bill 141 and this law (ACT #294) becomes effective on August 1, 2019. It wasn’t an easy task to make it happen. It took hundreds of letters/emails to State Senators and Representatives along with several trips to the State Capitol by ABATE Executive Board Members.
It began when we submitted a Profiling Bill, HB 141, in the 2019 legislative session with the help of Rep. Frankie Howard (Primary) and three (3) co-authors. Our first committee hearing was on May 2, 2019, and we were at the Capitol to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. It moved favorably to the House with a unanimous vote and picked up eight (8) more co-authors. They did make a small amendment by adding the profiling training requirement to the existing Bias Recognition training for police officers. It was then scheduled for House debate on May 15, 2019, and it passed with 91 YEAS and 0 NAYS and picked up eighteen (18) more co-authors. But, we weren’t there yet.
From the Senate side, we received a referral to Senate Judiciary B for yet another hearing. This hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, May, 28th. We went well prepared to testify after receiving a complete Louisiana Module report from the Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP) to assist us in presenting evidence of profiling in our state. Astonished by the details found in this report, showing the documented 41,000 instances of profiling in our state over the last 5-years, we were even more motivated to make this bill become law. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and was moved forward to the Senate floor for
debate where it was referred to the Legislative Bureau for review. It was returned without amendment’s and then voted on by the Senate and passed unanimously 38-0. On June 3, 2019, it was sent back to the House for concurrence and passed 103-0. It was signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate on June 4, 2019, and sent to the Governor for Executive Approval.
The Governor finally signed it on June 11, 2019, and it became ACT # 294 with an effective date of August 1, 2019. The bill was pre-filed on March 25, 2019, and was signed by the Governor on Jun 11, 2019. Needless to say, during the entire process we were sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for a bomb to drop and for something to go wrong but, amazingly, nothing ever did. We spent hours upon hours watching House and Senate telecasts each day as our bill went through the steps. I remember as a child watching the old Schoolhouse Rock skit on Saturday mornings “I’m Just a Bill”. Heck, I even went to YouTube and watched it again to remind me how the process worked.
HCR 46 “ALL ROAD USERS ACT”: by Rep Thomas passed the House Transportation Committee on May 13, 2019, and passed the full House with 91-YEAS and 0- NAYS on May 22, 2019. On May 23, 2019, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Works and where it was presented by our Legislative Director Glenn McGovern, and passed unanimously. It then passed the Senate unanimously on June 1, 2019. On June 4, 2019, it was sent to the Secretary of State.
This Resolution will be sent to the Louisiana State Law Institute to study a possible change or increase in penalties for drivers who injure or kill motorcyclists, pedestrians, or other legal road users. With a favorable review and report from them we will be able to do something next session. This is a model Bill that has been adopted in 9 other states and is desperately needed to protect the Louisiana motorcycling community (120,000+). At this point, we only have a small misdemeanor charge of around $285.00 and that is only if the officer on scene decides to write it. Although many espouse the decline in motorcyclists’ deaths in 2018 for our state is great, we believe one is too many.
We have been fighting to increase the penalties of the drivers injuring us or taking our lives. We have lobbied for the last several years to get the “All Road Users Act” passed through our House and Senate. Unfortunately, the State Representative who agreed to author/sponsor this bill was unable to do so this fiscal legislative session.
Although a “Failure to Yield” law exists here, it is a simple moving violation and can be written at the discretion of the officer. How disheartening is it to tell your loved one that a biker’s life is worth less than $300.00? The driver that took out four (4) riders on Dec 15, 2018, one of whom passed away on Christmas Day, only received a $74.50 fine in court. HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT? GBNF David “Gypsy” Lowe.
ABATE is helping the Protecting Louisiana Motorcyclists group by placing "Look Twice Save a Life" signs at accident sites where a biker was killed by the negligence of a motorist.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Upon request, the Governor of Louisiana and numerous Parish and City Officials proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. They have begun to place signs on the main thoroughfares across the state.
Although we all know that every month should be, a request has already been sent in for May of 2020. With the growing support of the State and Local City Officials we can better get the word out to watch for bikers.
HELMET LAW: We believe it should be “Freedom of Choice”. We came close (4-votes) last year getting it passed but were told that the governor would veto it if it came across his desk. We will re-visit this next session.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION (MRF) BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY:
We also attended the 11th Annual Michael “Boz” Kerr “Bikers Inside the Beltway”. This event is the ONLY National Motorcycle Lobby Day held in our Nation’s Capitol. Motorcyclists from around the country rode to D.C. to help educate Members of Congress about the issues facing motorcyclists today. This event was held Monday, May 20th and Tuesday, May 21, 2019. We met with several of Louisiana’s Senators and Congressmen to discuss items of interest for ALL riders in our state. Our main focus was to seek support for House Resolution (H. Res. 255): Promoting awareness of motorcycle profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of
profiling. This Resolution now has 46 co-sponsors with 2 from Louisiana. Thank you, Jacque Lindsey, for securing a commitment from Congressman Mike Johnson and Congressman Ralph Abraham. The Senate passed an identical item, Senate Resolution (SR 318) unanimously on Dec 11, 2018. ABATE is already making plans to attend this event next year and strengthening the relationships with our Federal Legislatures.
MID-SOUTH M.I.L.E. This year A.B.A.T.E. of Louisiana, Inc. is honored to be hosting the 28th Annual Mid-South
M.I.L.E. (Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness) “Louisiana Style”. We will introduce southern hospitality to each of the SMRO’s from the 6-member states. The MRF will conduct a seminar along with Bart Cocquyt, from Belgium, who will brief us on the motorcyclists’ events and legislation happening across the pond. Several other organizations from the motorcycling community will also be conducting seminars on
their programs. This seminar and the Saturday night “Cajun Bayou Banquet” will be open to all bikers and the general public. This event is scheduled October 25-27, 2019, in Shreveport, LA.
Please go to www.midsouthmile.org for more information and early registration.