BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In the waning hours of the legislative session, a debate over the definition of domestic abuse had tensions high at the state capitol.
The bill by Representative Malinda White of Bogalusa looks to clarify the definition of domestic abuse which has been an emotional subject through the session.
It would include language of physical, sexual, psychological, and financial attacks or control. Some of the debate stemmed around adding family members, a current or former household member, or dating partner to the list of people who could be considered abusers. The Louisiana Family Forum objected to the additions of unmarried people.
The emotional subject led to Rep. White and Rep. Alan Seabaugh having a heated argument on the House floor while another bill was being heard. Other House members intervened when Rep. White shouted at Rep. Seabaugh and made some threats to “finish this.”
Rep. White had to be physically restrained and removed from the House floor temporarily. When asked why she reacted in an emotional way, the abuse survivor said the Representative accused her of not understanding her own bill.
“A man telling me I didn’t know about domestic abuse and violence when I lived it,” Rep. White said. “Nobody comes and tells a woman that or a man for that matter and that’s what he did.”
Rep. Seabaugh claims he was commenting on the legal aspect of the language in her bill. Rep. White has faced push back from the NRA on this bill as well but they have withdrawn their objection after an amendment was added.
The bill has come out of the conference committee and needs to be approved in the House, where Rep. Seabaugh is expected to present an amendment that Rep. White will object to.
The session ends at 6 p.m. Thursday evening when all bills are complete in the debate and voting process.