lady justice 3According to several watchdog organizations, Louisiana has one of the worst judicial climates in the country.  The state has been given the dubious title of the nation’s judicial hellhole by several neutral watchdog groups. Campaign funds given to a judicial candidate are often cited as possibly influencing future judicial decisions. Some are advocating the appointment of judges in order to do away with the pressure on judicial candidates to raise campaign contributions. So is this the solution? Is appointing rather than electing judges the way to go in Louisiana?

Published in Louisiana elections

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Although a decision on the matter will apply to many fewer defendants across Louisiana now, a needed challenge to a badly flawed decision on jury sentencing points out in passing an unintended consequence of recent change to this policy.

Last year, voters amended the Constitution to sweet away the state’s requirement – shared now only by Oregon – that juries decide cases with only 10 of 12 votes (except, according to the criminal code, cases that could carry a capital sentence). However, the change to unanimity didn’t affect cases already in the pipeline.

Published in Louisiana legislature

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Blackface mania has consumed voters in Virginia and is seeping into other states.  Are their closeted politicians in Louisiana who are perusing their old yearbooks and scrapbooks to see if there are any blackface photos lurking in their past?  Actually, no, since blackface parodies have been part of the Louisiana mode de vie for a number of years.

Published in State of Louisiana

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A slew of upcoming state House of Representatives special elections could confirm the tightening grip conservatives have on the Louisiana Legislature.

In a matter of days voters can head to polls in seven districts: the 12th vacated by Republican Rob Shadoin, the 17th left by Democrat Marcus Hunter, the 18th cut loose by Democrat Major Thibaut, the 26th set aside by Democrat Jeff Hall, the 27th departed from by Republican Chris Hazel, the 47th traded in by GOP state Sen. Bob Hensgens, and the 62nd jettisoned by Republican Kenny Havard.

Published in Louisiana legislature

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It may take awhile longer, but Louisiana looks set to shape state powers to regulate abortion providers, in a good way.

Last week, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit refused to hear a decision made by a panel from it last September. The case involved operating restrictions upon abortion mills placed by the state back in 2014, but stayed from implementation because of the court challenge. The three-judge panel had ruled the state could proceed with the changes, which would tighten up provision standards on par with other surgical procedures and have doctors involved obtain admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles.

Published in Louisiana legislature

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How do you put a dollar value on the worth of a public official?  How about this idea. Shouldn’t receiving any salary increase be based on results? 

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron will pocket some three and a half million dollars this year, making him one of the highest-paid football coaches in the nation. He received such an enormous salary package based on results. It’s the old adage that you get what you pay for, and with Ed, LSU ended the football season winning10 games. 

Should time and work be the only criteria in paying public employees? Why not pay the governor, the secretary of economic development, the superintendent of education, and a cross section of other public officials that directly affect our lives based on a scale of how well they perform and what results they achieve? 

Published in Louisiana legislature

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Louisiana is going into its fourth year of John Bel Edwards at its helm. The first three years have been quite rocky, in large part due to his predecessor, Governor Bobby Jindal, leaving a major budget deficit that needed filling. As a result, numerous special sessions, a few totally unsuccessful, ultimately balanced the budget. Today, Edwards, a Democrat, says the days of raising taxes are over, that the budget has been stabilized.

Published in John Bel Edwards

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by Tom Aswell

Publisher of Louisiana Voice

Republican members of the Louisiana Legislature are pretty smug about their ability to block any proposed legislation or budget put forward by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Witness the antics of Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) as he danced to puppeteer/House Speaker Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia) in rejecting the findings of the Revenue Estimating Conference, effectively killing any chance Edwards had of implementing badly needed pay raises for Louisiana’s public school teachers.

But do Henry and Barras, members in good standing of the “Caucus of No,” give a damn about teachers or, for that matter, the state as a whole?

Published in Louisiana legislature

 This past Tuesday’s election stirred mediocre interest here in the Bayou State. This was the fifth election in Louisiana in 2018. And get ready for six election dates in 2019. There was a 45% turnout last week, even though voters witnessed a great deal of election hype from throughout the nation. Louisianans just were not all that enthused.

Published in Louisiana elections

 

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It’s been ten years since the financial crisis on Wall Street filtered down through the insurance industry.  Many national insurance companies were under siege, and even though Louisiana is a small state in population, policyholders were affected proportionally at a much greater degree than in most other parts of the country.

Published in Louisiana legislature
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