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Is there a gubernatorial election taking place in Louisiana this year? Based on the amount of current interest, you wouldn’t know it. Qualifications for statewide offices are less than four months away. Four months? And barely a peep out of candidates who want to run major offices in the Bayou State. What gives?
The decision by the Baton Rouge Advocate to go behind a paywall will cause a significant shift in how state political news and opinion become consumed in Louisiana – in ways perhaps The Advocate didn’t expect or want.
Earlier this week, the newspaper’s top brass announced the new model. In some ways, it was late to the party, as a large majority of papers in the country have turned to this practice. In fact, it became the second-to-last mid-major to major paper in the Louisiana to do so, with just the New Orleans Times-Picayune the last standing with entirely free content (and, perhaps not coincidentally, that paper that has done the most to embrace a move online while deemphasizing its print version).
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.”
As the Louisiana legislature begins a new session, the focus—early on—concerns alligators, almond milk, marching bands, the Who Dat Nation, driverless cars, wrestling matches, crab traps, meatless burgers, and changing the name of the state song. By any objective measure, most of these proposals should go by the wayside and the focus should be on educating our kids, particularly at a very young age.
The NFL was almost destroyed by the misguided actions of spoiled players who chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. These unpatriotic actions were supposedly in the name of supporting social justice or fighting police brutality. Regardless of the intent, the impact on the league was very negative as attendance and ratings suffered.
If you are a sports fan living in Louisiana, you are well aware of the rise to the top by LSU’s basketball team that won the SEC championship and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. But then the bubble burst. Not because the Tigers were defeated by Michigan State. No, the team was undermined by the irresponsible action of the LSU administration itself.
Now this is not a sports column, but a commentary of the dysfunctional leadership at the state’s flagship university. The basketball fiasco is just one more misstep. Here is the latest in a long line of rash actions.
If you are Businessman Eddie Rispone or Congressman Ralph Abraham (one of the two Republican candidates) intending to unseat Governor John Bel Edwards for the rights to the state capitol’s 4th floor, you have some heavy lifting to do.
And, if you are running for political office this year or working on a political campaign, reading the just-released 2019 Louisiana Survey, a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs of LSU, is a must-do.
The ever-so unhealthy John Bel Edwards vs. Jeff Landry feud has emerged, once again. The on-again, off-again legal wrangles between the two top state lawmakers broke skin today. The issue? Healthcare.
In other words, a pre-existing hostile condition has spread into the Louisiana legislative healthcare arena over the uncertain and most-controversial issue of pre-existing conditions coverage.
Statewide elections are six months away, so after ignoring Louisiana’s outrageously high insurance rates for the past three years, legislators are running for cover. Two study commissions have been created, one by the Governor and another by the Insurance Department, for the purpose of finding ways to lower the cost of auto insurance. So to be of help and having a bit of background in dealing with insurance issues, I have the solution. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Do one thing. Enforce existing laws.
“The Killer” needs to take a break from Rock and Roll. Jerry Lee Lewis had a recent stroke and will spend the coming months in a rehab facility near his home in Nashville. I was looking forward to his April 28th concert at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and had already lined up my tickets for his show. But that’s been cancelled. So let me look back on a few memories about Jerry Lee.
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.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and time to check the email box to see what the Louisiana political world has to offer.
Let’s see. Governor John Bel Edwards claims that one of his opponents, Rep. Ralph Abraham is praising the governor’s business climate because the Congressman, for one, said that Louisiana is open for investment. Elections are over six months away and the political climate is beginning to come to a slow boil, especially for the governor's race.
According 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?
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.