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Peaceful protesters upset about being denied access

KMSS-TV
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 9:09pm

Locked doors greeted 7 ladies Wednesday morning when they went to deliver some papers to Representative Seabaugh's Legislative Assistant. Locked doors and am armed Shreveport Police Officer.

Unlike Wednesday, the doors were unlocked today, and anybody could enter the building to visit any floor, which is how a tenant says it is during business hours, and has been for as long as he can remember.

Property Manager Dale Eschenbach agreed, but said she decided to lock the doors because of the last protest the group had. Fox 33 was at that protest as well, and 6 people asked Rep. Seabaugh to accept the Medicaid expansion. He said that he was against it, and the group left.

In an emailed statement, Rep. Seabaugh criticized Eschenbach's actions stating, "Regretfully, the building ownership and management chose to lock them out of the building rather than giving them access to my office."

But the activists aren't just upset with the Eschenbach's decision. One of the women, Frances Kelley, found Seabaugh's phone number on the Louisiana Legislative website and called his Legislative Aide asking for her to allow them access or for the aide to come downstairs to receive the paperwork. She refused and hung up on Kelley.

While Kelley and the other activists were disappointed they weren't about to talk to Seabaugh or his aide about House Bill 402, they were even more upset to be denied access to an office paid for, at least in part, with taxpayer money.

State Representatives are given $500 a month to keep a district office, and are given money for their assistant as well.

House Bill 402 states, in its abstract, "Provides that suits filed for employment discrimination for any reason other than age, disability, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, sickle cell trait, and genetic discrimination shall be dismissed and considered frivolous."

Many are calling this bill "back-door bigotry" because it provides protections for most minority groups, but not for the LGBT population. If the bill passes, any employment discrimination lawsuit filed because of sexual orientation would automatically be deemed frivolous.

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