ICYMI: Rep. Garofalo and the ‘Good of Slavery’

Rep. Ray Garofalo (R) is the author of HB 564, one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory. Yesterday, he presented the bill to the House Education Committee, which Garofalo chairs. HB 564 is a divisive, anti-free speech piece of legislation that aims to ban “certain concepts related to race and sex” from college and public school classrooms.

When Rep. Stephanie Hilferty (R) questioned Garofalo about the language in the bill, he replied: “You can talk about everything dealing with slavery. The good, the bad, the ugly.” 

Hilferty interjected, “There’s no good to slavery!” 

Garofalo dismissively responded, “Then whatever the case may be.”

The Louisiana Democratic Party immediately called Garofalo out and shared a video of the exchange on Twitter. The video is nearing 1 million views and has generated tons of national media coverage.

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus has since called on House Speaker Clay Schexnayder to remove Garofalo as Chairman of the Education Committee. Governor John Bel Edwards joined the Black Caucus, saying, “the incident is egregious enough to warrant his removal.”

In a self-pitying non-apology speech from the House floor, Garofalo claimed he was taken out of context—despite the fact that the legislation he proposed was racially charged and divisive. At one point in the hearing, Rep. Gary Carter (D) pressed Garofalo on the history of discrimination in Louisiana. Garofalo refused to even acknowledge the history of discrimination based on race and gender, claiming he was not a history teacher, thus incapable of answering.

The contentious hearing lasted more than 4 hours. Garofalo, Claston Bernard, and two Heritage Foundation members attempted to convince the public that racism is a Marxist conspiracy to shield our children from using draconian legislation.

Rep. Carter later attempted to kill the bill but failed due to Republican backing for HB 564. Garofalo voluntarily deferred the bill and intends to bring it back up at a later date.