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.
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.
It’s the kickoff for hurricane season and forecasters are predicting as many as 14 named storms with anywhere from 3 to 6 of these storms growing into major hurricanes. Here on the Gulf Coast, we certainly perk up when this time of year rolls around. For years, a good story in south Louisiana went like this:
“I’m a Catholic, so I certainly know a good bit about suffering,” she would say.
“Yeah, I’m a Louisiana homeowner, he answered.
“Oh, so you understand.”
Governor Jimmie Davis must be rolling over in his grave right now. Louisiana’s internationally acclaimed official state song is under attack by the Louisiana Legislature. There is an effort by some south Louisiana legislators to designate the Cajun classic Jambalaya as an official public ballad. And them’s fightin’ words for those who have embraced You are my Sunshine as the sanctioned formal melody.
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 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.
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.
BATON ROUGE, LA (February 20, 2019) – More than two dozen new laws permanently affect the taxes paid by small and large companies conducting business in Louisiana, ultimately leading to an additional $3 billion in state taxes over just three years. That startling statistic is one of many outlined in a summary released today by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), reviewing business taxes enacted in Louisiana since 2015.
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.
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.
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?