Photo courtesy Aimee Adatto Freeman, Twitter
State Representative Aimee Freeman asked New Orleans residents to reach out to members of the House Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 7, known as The Pink Tax Bill. If approved, the legislation will remove sales tax on diapers and menstrual products for both children and adults.
“The Pink Tax Bill helps our most marginalized women and families when every dollar counts,” said Freeman. Many people in our state live on paycheck to paycheck. The Louisiana Budget Project estimates that over 20% of women in Louisiana are below the poverty line. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that low-income families spend up to 14% of their income on diapers and related baby care products.
“Families with financial difficulties shouldn’t have to choose between food and diapers for their babies. Girls who cannot afford tampons shouldn’t be forced to skip school because they are menstruating. Older people with a fixed income should have every opportunity to spend their days in hygienic conditions. “
Freeman sees HB 7 as a fairness problem. “Menstrual products and diapers are not a luxury and should not be subject to luxury taxes. We don’t tax other items that people need, such as: B. Prescription Drugs. We have a moral imperative to make certain basic needs accessible. “
“Many proponents have given testimony for HB 7 over the past week,” Freeman said. “It’ll be back in Ways & Means on Monday, May 3rd. If you email or call your lawmaker to end the pink tax, a message will be sent that this legislation is important. I need everyone’s support and entry, ”she continued. Freeman hopes HB 7 will become law this year.
The Pink Tax Bill is a continuation of Freeman’s Law 138 of 2020, which allowed municipalities to exempt feminine hygiene products and diapers from sales tax. “Passing Law 138 is one of my greatest achievements,” she said.
Other laws that are part of the Freeman 2021 legislative agenda are HB 409, HB 375, HB55, HB282, HB 341 and HB 372. This session includes HB 409, “The Student Bill”, which has clear reporting requirements and responsibilities on the coverage includes how the public universities of Louisiana tackle abuse of power. It also mandates the termination of employees who do not adhere to reporting guidelines.
Freeman ran for state clerk in 2019 because she loves Louisiana and New Orleans. “My husband West and I loved raising our children here. We love walking around our neighborhood with our dog Pepper. I’m passionate about improving our community, and I want to be part of the New Orleans legislative team and work to make our great city and state better. “
Freeman recently started Problem Solver’s caucus with Republican Pro Tempore Tanner D. McGee. “The goal of the Problem Solver’s Caucus is to unite and serve Louisiana and focus on the important problems facing our constituents. We believe that we are always stronger when we discuss and consider perspectives and points of view. In this session, we’ll be working on internal issues like healthy eating at the Capitol, improving technology to better inform the public, and paying employees competitively, ”she said.
Freeman believes this is work in Baton Rouge. “The state parliament needs more problem solvers than party politics. Regardless of party affiliation, there is one task that needs to be done for our community and our state. I was able to draw on my in-depth business experience and solve problems across parties. Louisiana is ranked 50thth in too many categories. It’s time to change that, ”said Freeman.
Freeman’s HB 409, “The Student Bill,” revises current legislation that dictates how Louisiana public universities respond to abuse of power. It contains a clear description of the reporting obligations of employees with regard to abuse of power and a clear reporting process for all responsible employees. The bill provides for the termination of employees who fail to comply with reporting requirements and the right of survivors to receive copies of reports relating to themselves. HB 409 has left the house and is to be heard by the Senate.
Other provisions provide for clear memorandums of understanding to be drawn up for universities and law enforcement agencies, training for staff to be updated and improved, an interagency policy for student records and update requirements for campus climate surveys and reports to be drawn up.
Under HB 375, survivors of sexual assault have the option of terminating their rental contracts early and without penalty. It was passed by the House without objection and will appear before Senate A’s Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks. The Louisiana Fair Housing Center is collecting signatures in support of this legislation.
HB 55 will end the requirement that domestic violence survivors must go to a notary public for an injunction (TRO). The House Civil Law and Procedure Committee passed this bill last week without objection. Representative Freeman will be introducing the legislation on Tuesday, May 4th on the floor of the house.
“Over 60 women are killed by gun violence in Louisiana each year. There are more murders involved in the breakup than any other time. This bill removes unnecessary safety barriers for victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous places in their lives, ”Freeman said.
HB 282 will make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in our state’s housing options.
HB 341 is local legislation that clarifies which owners in the Upper Audubon Security District are responsible for the package fee.
HB 372 provides the ability to increase fines and fees for developers working in the city of New Orleans who consistently fail to comply with safety and licensing regulations.
Freeman has also opted for co-author HB 353, who expands the background checks for gun purchases. “I joined this legislation because many of you are reaching out to me to take action against legislation without permission to wear,” she said.
Freeman is against HB 542, anti-transgender youth legislation. “I will oppose any legislation that hurts or discriminates against transgender children in our state,” Freeman said. HB 542 will be heard before the Education Committee of which she is a member on Tuesday May 4th. A similar bill, SB 104, was voluntarily put on hold in the Senate after 400 red opposition cards were filed.
Another controversial bill heard by the House Education Committee is HB 654 by Rep. Ray Garofalo, which bans teaching “divisive concepts”, including systemic racism and sexism, in the classroom. “I received opposition emails from more than 100 voters, including one from Chris Dier, Louisiana Teacher of the Year 2020, whose statement I read on the committee,” Freeman said.
While Freeman waits for additional data before giving a statement on redistribution, she believes Louisiana should continue to have an open primary system. Louisiana runs a majority voting system rather than holding traditional primaries. If a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast for office, the candidate wins immediately. However, if no candidate reaches that threshold, the second round of voting between the top two voters will determine the winner.
“Voting advocacy is very important in determining the outcome of any piece of legislation. I urge voters to reach out to me and other lawmakers to stand up for or against bills they think are important, ”concluded Freeman.