State Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro) prepares to ask the author of HB-458, State Rep. Mary DuBuisson (R-Slidell) a question during final House passage of a bill that would raise in-state cosmetology licensing fees by sixty (60) percent. In posing her questions, Emerson would easily (and likely unintentionally) demonstrate that she (Emerson) knew far more about HB-458 than did DuBuisson, who came across as nothing short of a full-blown buffoon in her presentation of the bill to her colleagues in the Louisiana House of Representatives on Thursday, April 27, 2023.
UPDATE: Monday, May 8, 2023 @ 8:00 p.m.
It appears that The Senate Commerce Committee Agenda for Wednesday, 5/10/23 actually won’t reflect deliberations of either HB-458 or HB-470. Maybe, as the old saying goes, “the heat got too hot in the kitchen.” If so, get ready for the butane tank to get cranked up a bunch more as more time passes!!
Our subscribers and site visitors by now know that we are not happy at all with Gubernatorial candidate State Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville). In our post of six days ago, we openly chastised him for voting “yes” on a fee increase for in-state licensed cosmetologists from $25 to $40 (out-of-state licensees, meanwhile, get a break with a fee drop from $50 to $40).
The previous link shows a plethora of problems that the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology has caused over the years for small businesses, particularly Vietnamese nail salon owners and those who wish to practice hair braiding for a living. The amount of money the Board has spent on legal fees oppressing both groups’ ability to simply earn a living and pay taxes in the process is absolutely staggering!
In today’s feature, we want to demonstrate just how buffoonish the author of the bill, State Rep. Mary DuBuisson (R-Slidell), was in her presentation of the bill before the full Louisiana House of Representatives.
Let us begin our series of short video clips with State Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro), who has the battle scars to prove that she likely knows more about the Cosmetology Board than anyone else in the entire Louisiana Legislature. Let’s take just a couple of minutes for Emerson to clearly demonstrate that she (Emerson) knew more about DuBuisson’s bill than did DuBuisson herself! The following video would truly be comical if it were not for the fact that any State Representative can be on the Floor of the House of Representatives and be as clueless as DuBuisson comes across in the following short video:
Rep. Emerson easily demonstrates that she knows FAR more about the content of HB-458 than does the bill’s author, Rep. DuBuisson, who can’t even keep straight whether she (DuBuisson) is speaking on HB-458 or HB-470 and must furthermore seek assistance from House staff for what should be the simplest of questions! In the above video, DuBuisson wins the video award for any video dictionary describing the word “buffoon!”
We are going to present a brief video of Rep. Nelson’s vote in just a moment but, before we do that, we actually had a few of his supporters (although most people asked us, “Richard who?”) who felt Nelson had been “deceived” about HB-458 and that he was unaware he was voting for a fee increase!
Well, here’s our thought on that: Richard Nelson begins every forum he attends by saying, “Hi, I’m Richard Nelson, and I’m running for Governor of Louisiana. I grew up in Louisiana, and I graduated Valedictorian of my class, and I also graduated near the top of my class at LSU and also at LSU’s law school.”
O. K. Now, that would be someone pretty smart, no? So is the contention of those who say Nelson was “deceived” that he can’t even read the fiscal note on a bill? Also, can he not understand his colleague, State Rep. (and candidate for Attorney General) John Stefanski (R-Crowley) as he quizzed DuBuisson on, “the $500,000+ this raises,” and what that money will be used for?:
DuBuisson again appears buffoonish in indicating, “I didn’t ask them for a breakdown,” of what the $500,000 will be used for. She follows that up with the absurd contention that $500,000 a YEAR is needed to, “maintain a website” to process license renewals and accept online payments.
The caption beneath that video is NOT a joke! Sound Off Louisiana reached out to two (2) IT specialists, both of whom said the cost of maintaining a website and enabling it to process online license renewals and accept online payments would be (their exact word), “miniscule,” with one of those experts indicating that the Board would save money because bank fees should be substantially reduced! We will point out that the Board has an IT staffer (William Bunch) making more than anyone else in the office at $92,000/year. That salary is what it is despite the fact that the Board still insists it must take down its website EVERY Friday and put it back up on Monday mornings because of a “fear of hacks” if nobody is present in the office to monitor the site! So, $92,000 for someone who cannot even keep a website up over a freaking weekend! Folks, you can’t make this stuff up!
Of course, as we’ve already indicated, the REAL need for the money is to continue to oppress small business operators like nail salon operators and hair braiders.
Based on Stefanski’s stellar line of questioning, he sure is looking like an EXCELLENT choice to be Louisiana’s next Attorney General to us!
Okay. Next up we have State Rep. Joe Stagni (R-Kenner), who sought to merely confirm that the State Cosmetology Board checks for “sanitation.” Let’s take a look:
Rep. Stagni seeks to confirm that the Cosmetology Board checks for “sanitation.”
How about we check out what prominent cosmetologist Chris Guidry, an Aveda school alumnus, had to say about the Board entailing “sanitation,” shall we? Here’s what he posted to an online Cosmetology publication:
In Louisiana, our students are required to complete 1500, at a cost of around $20,000. Upon completion they have to wait several weeks/months before getting their test date. The large majority of students fail the state board on the first test date.
Our state board requires NO continuing education, does not check for cleanliness (for the guest of the salon ), and only makes sure that our cosmo license is up to date. Basically state board is a straight money grab! They have no regard for the guest or the craft!! It’s disgusting…
I certainly don’t want to hurt the craft that I love dearly, but I’m yet to see the benefit of state boards or a license. You become better by practicing and passion not by a piece of paper.
It sure is refreshing to have an insider (and Aveda school alumnus) speak the truth! So, with all due respect, Rep. Stagni, it sure doesn’t appear the State Board of Cosmetology is fixated at all on “sanitation” based on a knowledgeable insider like Guidry’s commentary, no?
Okay. We’re about to present Nelson’s key vote on the measure. First, however, we want to stress the following previous efforts in prior years for the Cosmetology Board to increase the license fee from $25 to $35. Here they are:
2015: Louisiana State Rep. Stuart Bishop https://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/members?ID=43. The measure failed to ever get a full House vote because he knew he lacked the votes for passage.
2017: Louisiana State Rep. Sherman Mack https://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/members?ID=95. The measure again failed to ever get a full House vote for the same reason Bishop’s measure didn’t. Note: CLICK HERE for Mack and Board Chairman Edwin Neill’s slick little maneuver of six years ago.
2018: Former Louisiana State Rep. Robert Johnson (D – Marksville, but who was term limited and no longer a state representative). The measure failed to ever get a full House vote for the same reason as Bishop and Mack’s bills didn’t.
2022: Louisiana State Rep. Rhonda Butler (most recent effort in 2022, and she was targeted to sponsor the 2023 version of the bill this Legislative Session https://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/members?ID=38. Butler’s measure failed to get a full House vote for the same reason as Johnson’s, Bishop’s and Mack’s didn’t.
So, many folk may ask, how did the buffoonish DuBuisson manage to not only get a full House vote, but to get one that got the SUPERMAJORITY (2/3) vote with a full nine (9) votes to spare? Well, the answer would be simple. She, combined with Board Chairman Edwin Neill and Jeremy Adell, who owns Sportclips franchises in Louisiana, simply negotiated behind-the-scenes for “over a year” wherein they threw out a bone to these so-called conservative Republicans: deregulation in requiring 300 less hours to obtain a cosmetology license (from 1,500 to 1,200). That is to say, they blackmailed them. They essentially said, “We’ll give you a small taste of deregulation (though Gov. Edwards just may veto it), but you’ve got to shower us with a half a million dollars a year to get that tiny bit of deregulation!” That behind-the-scenes maneuver got some small school owners and their supporters fuming mad!
Many long-time Sound Off Louisiana subscribers know that founder Robert Burns has a good friend, Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, who was Louisiana’s first (and for a long time, only) African American auctioneer. He’s also the one whom Gov. John Bel Edwards yanked from the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board a mere 20 days after appointing him. Phillips has a saying he likes to use when he knows someone grasps a concept others may not grasp. He says, “He (she) knows what time it is!”
Well, State Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan (R-Lafayette) certainly appears to, in the words of Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, “know what time it is” entailing Neill’s likely motivation for supporting DuBuisson’s so-called “companion bill,” HB-470, which would call for that 300-hour reduction in hours to obtain the cosmetology license. Furthermore, he had the guts to lay it out there on the line whereas many of those small school owners and their supporters may have been very reluctant (for obvious reasons, as Neill can be extremely vindictive, even to someone he readily admits was his “financial savior,” ) to be as blunt as Coussan was on April 27, 2023. Let’s take a look at what he had to say:
Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan appears to, as Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips would say, likely, “have a good idea what time it is!”
All right. We always save the best for last, huh? As everyone can tell, we’ve had our eyes, ears, and, much to their chagrin, CAMERAS on the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology Board for a long time. Our focus all started when one Vietnamese manicurist contacted us and told us all of the pure hell this Board puts them through year after year after year. We gradually gained the trust of this community, which is comprised of EXTREMELY hard workers, all of whom are in this country LEGALLY! What we observed were families working 90-95+ hours every week and working hard. In short, they don’t even know the meaning of the phrase, “taking a day’s vacation.”
What Nelson did in joining with other so-called “conservative” Republican state representatives is take the faces of these hard-working people, which attempt to emerge from the mud and sludge that the Cosmetology Board slams those faces into using the Board’s jackbooted heel, and he literally took his own jackbooted heel and slammed their faces right back into that sludge and mud as they slowly rose! That action on Nelson’s part, folks, is why we had such a strong reaction to his vote, and why, as we stated in our last feature, we can, under no circumstances, support his candidacy for Governor going forward.
We want to conclude this feature by authoritatively demonstrating just how little care or concern Nelson showed for their hard work. We’ve already shown that, at best, this gentleman who brags on how smart he is, at best, failed to pay attention during the discussion of the bill. Well, whenever representatives aren’t near their desks because they’re likely busy talking with colleagues about other matters, they will signal to the Speaker of the House how the master vote board should be cast for them since they are away from their desks. Let’s take a look at Nelson’s vote so all of those hard-working Vietnamese manicurists can remember it when they head to the polls this October. Here’s the video:
Nelson’s vote on HB-458 is called out by Speaker Clay Schexnayder.
The only word we can use to describe the above video entailing Nelson is “pathetic.” It’s really incredible that he wants to tout, “If Louisiana can just be average………” then would proceed to cast a vote that would drive Louisiana even further away from “average.”
There is one other candidate for Governor who will not be happy with this post, and that will be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Why is that? Because Nelson has no chance whatsoever of becoming the next Governor of Louisiana! None! Nevertheless, his presence in the race is extremely valuable to Landry.
Why? Because Nelson helps syphon off votes from any other Republican who may be able to knock Landry out of the runoff. Hence, the last thing Landry wants is for votes to go away from Nelson because he knows they’re very unlikely to go to him but rather to one of his other opponents (State Sen. Sharon Hewitt, State Treasurer John Schroder, or former LABI President Steven Waguespack).
That places us in the awkward position of hoping Nelson plummets in the polls (though at 3 percent at present, that wouldn’t be much of a fall) and that his campaign contributions dry up to nothing to cause his impact in the race for Governor to be as minimal as possible. After all, even three percent (3%) is going to be crucial in deciding which Republican makes the runoff with former Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson. Ideally, we’d like to see Nelson withdraw from the race, but we view that as unlikely.
Now, the Senate Commerce Committee is supposed to take up both HB-458 and HB-470 on Wednesday morning. We know there will be many upset ladies who, in our opinion, have every right to be fuming mad at how this whole process was handled. We too are mad, so don’t be surprised if Sound Off Louisiana‘s Burns also appears for testimony in firm and adamant opposition to HB-458. Only time will tell if Louisiana’s Senators succumb to the same blackmail to which their House colleagues so easily succumbed.
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