Lawmaker speaks out about proposed ‘Cajun Navy’ legislation

People climb aboard a boat as they prepare to leave their home for supplies on August 15, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Record-breaking rains pelted Louisiana over the weekend leaving the city with historic levels of flooding that have caused at least seven deaths and damaged thousands of homes.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People climb aboard a boat as they prepare to leave their home for supplies on August 15, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Record-breaking rains pelted Louisiana over the weekend leaving the city with historic levels of flooding that have caused at least seven deaths and damaged thousands of homes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(WGNO) – The “Cajun Navy” has become a symbol of our state’s kindness in recent weeks. Regular people stepping up to help their neighbors in a time of need. But a Republican state senator wanting to help alleviate some logistical problems has found himself the target of critics.

Republican state senator, Jonathan Perry told KPEL last week that he’s working on legislation that would put more authority behind the “Cajun Navy” after many Good Samaritans were turned away from helping once state agencies stepped in.

“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” Sen. Perry said. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of someone going out to rescue someone and then not being able to find them (the rescuers) and, secondly, there’s a cost.”

Perry then proposed a kind of new license that would allow volunteers to get around some of those restrictions. But his proposal was met with negativity and those asking, how someone could control volunteering.

“The liability can be as simple as someone signing a waiver prior to a natural disaster,” Perry explained in a Facebook post Tuesday evening.

“If nothing takes places and no legislation takes place. Members of the ‘Cajun Navy’ or anyone else who wants to help will continuously get stopped and be prevented from going and rescuing people,” Perry said. “Under current law, if there is a barricade or perimeter set up by law enforcement and they are told they can not cross it if they do they technically are breaking the law.”

“My goal is to eliminate that completely. So that the volunteers and those part of the Cajun Navy have immediate access to go and rescue our people… It will basically remove any restrictions and allow people to get to our citizens quicker.”