Leslie Turk

Morris feels 'like a criminal' over helmet repeal bill

by Leslie Turk

Yesterday Republican state Rep. Jim Morris of Oil City said he felt like a criminal (or was made to feel like one) for sponsoring House Bill 639, which would have repealed the state’s motorcycle helmet requirement. The repeal would make helmets optional for those age 21 and older.

That qualifies as criminal in my book, and is also fitting for Gov. Bobby Jindal who backs the repeal. The last time the repeal went through, under Jindal mentor/motorcycle enthusiast Mike Foster, motorcycle fatalities increased 100 percent, according to Jim Champagne, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission's former executive director.

This year, the effort to repeal the state’s motorcycle helmet requirement died after failing to get a single nod in the state Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee. The committee, which deals with health and safety issues, beat up on Morris and other backers, eventually deferring the bill. While it could be heard again by the committee, it's highly likely this harebrained idea has gone away for good. The Advocate reported today:

Jindal has argued in favor of the helmet repeal, calling it a freedom of choice issue. His executive counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, represented him in committee.

Faircloth admitted the bill “doesn’t stand a chance” when argued on health issues. “On the basis of personal choice, the Governor’s Office fully supports this,” Faircloth said.

State Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, pointed out that Faircloth was in the Health and Welfare Committee to deal with safety issues.
“I just want to kind of help you with what committee you’re in,” Heitmeier told Faircloth.

Read the rest of the story here.