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Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the 2019 legislative season was the lack of extraordinary sessions. For the first year since the governor and current legislators were elected in 2015, we had no special session. Whether the reason was fatigue or election politics, our leaders in the Capitol determined that seven special sessions over the previous three years was enough. One major factor - and the most important characteristic of this session - was the existence of a more stable budget outlook based on a sales tax revenue stream established last year after much political wrangling. The 2019 session was the least contentious fiscal debate since the post-Katrina era. There were no mid-year budget cuts to adjust around, no drawdowns on the state rainy day fund and no obvious short-term gimmicks to prop the budget. The main theme was which programs to expand, not which to cut.

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In the 2016 presidential race, all the so-called experts predicted that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would easily win the GOP nomination and face Hillary Clinton in the general election. The problem with this prediction was that Bush was a horrible candidate who did not appeal to the base of the Republican Party. Voters suffered from “Bush fatigue” and wanted a change.

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There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as Louisiana’s legislative Republicans showed on a controversial matter. But one of their own might employ the same to thwart them.

Yesterday, the House Insurance Committee had a light schedule of just two bills. One, SB 173 by Republican state Sen. Fred Mills, has generated much conflict. It regulates the state’s response in case the U.S Supreme Court declares unconstitutional part or all of the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards actually opposed it, setting off skirmishes that continued in yesterday’s hearing where an administration representative softened that stance with the bill’s passage.

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The heavy spring rains have been incessant up and down the Mississippi River, and there are projections for more Midwest thunderstorms later on this week. And all this water has, over the years, been channeled in tight levee systems that are right now under massive pressure.

Author John Barry, who has been a guest on my radio show on several occasions, documented the dangers of flooding on the Mississippi in his award-winning book, “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi river Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America.” I asked him about his concerns today. “I know the power of this river, and quite frankly it makes me nervous to see this much water on the move,” he says

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To the thick, and thin, of things, the first polls are out, putatively describing which Democrat has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump in 2020. Sleepy Joe Biden debuted at the top spot and immediately signaled that he wasn’t that guy when he announced Trump was an aberrational Republican. Since every member of the GOP, except Mitt Romney, has bent over backwards to accommodate Trump, Biden is wrong. They are all just like Trump.

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by Tom Aswell, Publisher of Louisiana Voice

LSU basketball coach Will Wade has been REINSTATED and all those Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) supporters can breathe a sigh of relief.

But does anyone even remember the shabby treatment of STEVEN HATFIELD by LSU? Did anyone ever protest the disgraceful manner in which he was shown the door? Well, a handful of SCIENTISTS did protest Hatfield’s firing, but who listens to scientists anyway? Certainly not Donald Trump.

Hatfield, for those who may not remember, was an expert on biological warfare who, along with about 30 others, found themselves on the FBI’s list of “persons of interest” in connection with its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Apparently, this honor was bestowed upon him because he had once passed through Fredrick, Maryland, where the anthrax envelopes were mailed from. Actually, he worked as a biodefense researcher for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Frederick—enough to make him a “person of interest.”

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Qualification for this fall’s gubernatorial election is less than five months away.  So far, there are only two races at the statewide level that are competitive. The governor’s race always draws a crowd, with Governor Edwards being challenged so far by two major and well-funded opponents.  The other major contest pits the incumbent insurance commissioner in the run for his political life against well-funded newcomer Tim Temple. Incumbents in the other statewide offices have no opposition so far. 

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Paul Manafort should remember March 11, 2019 and perhaps Donald Trump might too.

Today is the day that Paul Manafort was sentenced to a total of 7.5 years for crimes prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller. Perhaps conveniently arranged, Manafort has just been indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for "a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme through which Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars."

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President Donald Trump is pro-crime.  I know he claims to be in favor of the rule of law. But, his actions overwhelmingly prove otherwise.  

trump congress speechPresident Donald Trump will be speaking to the nation Tuesday night on the eve of the successful trip to Switzerland and the passing of his tax plan. Also, he has laid out a plan of sorts to enable the “dreamers” to remain the the United States in exchanged with ending the immigration lottery and in exchange with $25 billion to fund his Mexican wall.

Last year, when he addressed the nation, about ten days after his inaugural speech, the President gave a sober speech in which afterwards, even the most liberal commentators congratulated him for staying on message.

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