Women's caucus members lash out over measure to limit stripper age, weight

Women's caucus members lash out over measure to limit stripper age, weight

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Legislature has been called a good old boy's club for years, but now the women's caucus says they've gone too far after a lawmaker offered an amendment to a human trafficking bill.

"I gotta say looking out, I've never been so repulsed," said Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner.

Stokes, took to the House floor to lash out against an amendment to a minimum age bill for strippers. The amendment by Rep. Kenneth Havard, R-Jackson, set new age and weight limits for strippers.

"I put an age limit - no one over 28 or more than 160 pounds," said Havard.

"I don't know what Havard was thinking. That's dangerous politically," said Stokes.

Several female lawmakers lined up.

"To actually file an amendment and present it on the House floor, it was embarrassing and offensive, as well," said Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans.

But no one was  more vocal than Stokes.

"I refuse the spirit of everything I heard," she said. "I can't believe the behavior in here. We have to call an end to this. I hear derogatory comments about women in this place regularly. I see women get treated differently then men."

Eventually, Havard pulled the amendment.

"You don't find this offensive?" asked Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette.

"I'll pull it Ms. Landry," said Havard.

But the damage may have already been done. Stokes said she may seek a formal reprimand.

"I think it's a distinct possibility, and I think the women's caucus will have a meeting," said Stokes.

"The fact that this would be a flashpoint shows that colegiality has deteriorated," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

Sherman said the rancor the amendment created is a sign of the legislative times, and that things aren't like they used to be.

"The issues have never been tougher in the Legislature," said Sherman.

The bill's author said he was trying to make a point.

"We're becoming a nanny state where we're over-regulating and telling people what to do with their lives every day," Havard said.

But for many, it was too late.

"You've given me a perfect forum. It's got to stop. It's disgusting," said Stokes.

Some say the amendment shows that lawmakers have too much time on their hands, with so many pressing issues still at stake. Havard said he spent less than five minutes on his amendment.

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