Great editorial in today’s Times-Picayune on our effort to save the state’s retirement system.
The timing of the release of a new report from the National Center on Teacher Quality was coincidental, but it just so happened to hit on some issues in education that are making big news in Louisiana right now. Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform proposals for the 2012 legislative session focus heavily on ensuring effective teachers in the classroom. So does this new report and it validates that many of the governor's reform ideas are on the right track. Click to read more.
Any proposed changes to the Louisiana Constitution this year should be placed on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot rather than the Dec. 1 ballot, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recommends in a research brief released today.
"The state could save taxpayer dollars and take advantage of likely higher voter turnout by choosing the national election date on Nov. 6 over the less preferable December voting day," said PAR President Robert Travis Scott.
The concern stems from a new Louisiana system for fall election dates beginning in 2012 and continuing in even-numbered years in the future. The former system of three fall election dates will be consolidated to two. This system creates a new context for decision-making about the election dates for constitutional amendments in years of presidential and congressional elections.
The Legislature specifies the election dates of proposed constitutional amendments and normally chooses from among the state's fall election days for political officeholders. If amendments are assigned to an election day in which some parishes or precincts would not otherwise have to conduct elections, then the proposed amendments result in inconvenience to voters and unnecessary expenses to operate those polls and employ voting commissioners.
We have seen recently the costly result of the lone constitutional amendment on the 2011 runoff ballot, which caused polls to be open that otherwise could have been closed. Had the amendment appeared on the primary ballot instead, the state would have saved $735,000.
Because it is a presidential election, the Nov. 6, 2012, ballot will require open voting polls for every precinct in the state. The Dec. 1 ballot is less likely to require a fully statewide election. Based on historical election results, the majority of congressional and local seats are likely to be decided in the Nov. 6 open primary and no runoff on Dec. 1 will be necessary for those offices. Some precincts might have few contests or perhaps nothing to put on a runoff ballot.
A conscientious and fiscally prudent approach to the placement of proposed amendments on election ballots could save the state potentially millions of dollars while also ensuring maximum voter participation on proposed changes to the fundamental law of the state.
PAR's Research Brief, Smart Election Date for Constitutional Amendments Would Save Money and Encourage Voter Participation, explains the background of constitutional amendments and the system of elections in Louisiana. The report offers several options and recommendations for future policy.
An independent, non-partisan research organization, PAR is a leading authority on proposed changes to the state Constitution. PAR routinely publishes citizen guides to amendment proposals that are placed before the electorate.
James Carville in email from Democratic Senatorial Committee (fundraiser appeal)
"Every once in a while, someone asks you to make a decision. “Paper or plastic?” “Ford or Chevy?” “Bacon or sausage?”
Well, now I’m asking you to make a decision. Are you gonna let Republicans take over our country in 2012? Or are you gonna stand with me, President Obama, and the Democrats who want to pass his agenda and get our middle class up off the mat?
This is not a “later” decision. This is a “now” decision. Because if we don’t act, we’ll end up with Newt Gingrich and the Tea Party making all the decisions – and you and I might as well spend our time playing Parcheesi, because Democrats won’t be able to do a thing to stop them."
Would it shock you to find out that only half of those actually bother to register?
It certainly did me.
Furthermore, of those that are registered to vote, only about half actually end up voting!
That's why FRC Action has launched an unprecedented voter registration project with a goal to empower leaders in all 50 states to register 250,000 Christian voters in their areas.
We are actively engaging churches, Christian universities, tea party groups and other civic-minded organizations.
I will tell you, so far it hasn't been hard to convince Americans that we need to ensure that ALL of our elected officials are men and women who will defend the family, protect the unborn and get our country's fiscal house back in order.
Our only challenge is finding the resources in the next few weeks to keep this program going strong.