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July 10th, 2009

Welcome to Louisiana: Werewolves Not Allowed

Signed into law on June 19, 2009, and going into effect August 15, 2009, in the state of Louisiana, a very important bill known as SB 115.  So groundbreaking and important is this bill, filed by Senator Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, on behalf of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops at the behest of New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes, that Louisiana is the first and only state in the nation to have even touched on the issue in any fashion.

That is correct, the ban on human-animal hybrids is unprecedented in lawmaking and has been set in motion as a "pre-emptive strike" for an impending future where "mad scientists" (to use Sen. Martiny's own words) will be mixing up cells in petri dishes willy-nilly.

Lord only knows what abominable, ungodly creatures might be born of these unchecked experiments, so the Bishops, spearheaded by Archbishop Hughes, were in need of finding an ignorant, god-fearingly-addled-enough senator to file this bill for them.  Lo and behold!, they found Sen. Martiny.

Contrary to what one might think, the bill did not muster a lot of opposition from our host of similarly ignorant, god-fearingly-addled governing officials; despite sound arguments like this one from Dr. Jeffrey Gimble, a stem cell researcher from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge:

"There are no mad scientists at our state institutions.   Anything that's going to criminalize scientific activity could potentially restrict our ability to recruit young scientists to our state."

In fact, even after hearing from experts such as Dr. Gimble, (a mere suggestion, no one testified against the actual bill) all of the Senators voted to pass SB 115  All. Of. Them.

Danny Loar, lobbyist for the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops - who used the "pre-emptive strike" term - explains that the bill is to thwart those scientists who might want to mix "human and animal cells in a Petri dish for scientific research purposes. . . . It is becoming more of an issue globally."

Is it now?  If this is such an issue, one wonders why the other states are not taking such "pre-emptive strikes".  Perhaps, Louisiana being the scientific mecca that it is - and as far ahead as we are, education-wise, as compared to the rest of the country - it stands to reason that we should be the first to tackle this (not yet but soon to be) important issue.

"We're trying to punish, for lack of a better term, mad scientists."
- Sen. Danny Martiny

Those "mad scientists" - if convicted - will be punished by being subjected to a prison term of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.  Actually profiting from the dastardly deeds will garner the crazy men with test tubes and petri dishes civil fines of $1 million or double the gain from the research, whichever is greater.

July 27th Update:

Louisiana Sentaor Mary Landrieu, and others, are now trying to have a similar ban passed through Congress and made applicable to all of the United States.  See this HuffPo article for more.

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