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.
Louisiana’s business voice, LABI, as well as the Louisiana Insurance Department each took a huge hit in the waning days of the recent legislative session. LABI, with the full support of Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, pegged legislation to supposedly reduce insurance rates in the state as the most important proposed legislation of the session.
With election day down the track, less than a half-year away, what’s Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards going to do?
Attorney General Jeff Landry has achieved a significant win in the ongoing three and half-year battle between the Democrat Edwards and the Republican Attorney General.
Once again, Louisiana politicians are on the verge of passing another law that will restrict our freedoms and take money out of the pockets of hard-working Louisiana taxpayers, all in the name of safety.
For several years, LA State Representative Mike “Pete” Huval (R-Breaux Bridge) has tried to pass a bill banning the right of a motorist to use a handheld cell phone in a vehicle. The bill would prohibit both phone calling and GPS use by responsible drivers.
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.
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.
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.
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.