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7.7.20

Too many LA leaders botching virus endgame

The same lack of vision and leadership that caused Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to botch the opening rounds of Louisiana’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic threatens the same for the emergency’s endgame.

In this situation, Louisiana suffered quickly and disproportionately largely because of decisions Edwards made. While he would have needed seer-like qualities to have understood the virus impact in mid-February to order cancellation of Carnival festivities, by its end the shape of things to come was evident.

Instead of immediately placing some restrictions on potential hotpots, launching infrastructure for testing and care of positive patients on a massive scale, and ramping up tracing capacity, Edwards dithered. Failing to take these measured actions earlier, he belatedly overreacted, shutting down quickly massive swaths of the state’s economy indiscriminately. As a result, too many people needlessly became infected early on, creating a bigger epidemiological curve, which then triggered a desperate attempt to flatten it which only has served to delay achieving the necessary solution: the acquisition of “herd immunity.”

6.7.20

Legislator expiation leads to stupid theorizing

Passage of historic tort reform legislation has forced at least one leftist Louisiana legislator not just to express expiation but also to expound economic ignorance and illiteracy.

Democrat state Rep. Malinda White sinned multiply against her liberal allies. She joined a veto-proof majority with initial House approval during the regular session of SB 418, then abstained on the version that drew the veto of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. Then, in the special session she voted with a larger veto-proof bunch for the stronger HB 57 and with an even larger majority to send it to Edwards, who has said he will sign it.

That uppity behavior won’t go unnoticed by party powerbrokers, who remain indebted to the trial lawyer lobby and hope to see donations from it fall as little as possible given personal injury lawyers’ smaller profit margins and their annoyance at Democrats’ inability to curtail the transfer of wealth from vehicle insurance ratepayers to their pockets. So, White devised a way to compensate for her apostasy.

4.7.20

Independence Day, 2020

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.


With Saturday, Jul. 4 being Independence Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.



2.7.20

Perkins plan pursues wealth redistribution

The week of wackiness in Shreveport will push aside for the moment more analysis of the just-concluded back-to-back sessions of the Louisiana Legislature.

This space this week already has vetted the aspirations of an area state legislator to aim low and miss as well as the whininess (affirmed by their reaction to even-handed broadcast news about their activities) of cut-rate merchants of hate. But the news that Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins intends to offer the city as an experiment for a universal basic income was too good to pass up.

Earlier in the week, Perkins announced this, a part of a consortium of other mayors – all Democrats – who will follow what appears to be the Stockton (CA) Economic Empowerment Demonstration, where a leftist nonprofit called the Economic Security Project is fronting enough money to give $500 a month for 18 months to 125 adults in a particular neighborhood who make below the city’ median income. (This group receives funding from the group that started the States Newsroom, the umbrella organization of leftist news agencies in state capitals the Louisiana version of which came online last month.) If done similarly, this means about $1.125 million will find its way into the pockets of select Shreveporters.

1.7.20

LA tort reform win signals major power shifts

They did it, delivering not just a crushing blow to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards but also changed the balance of power between state Republicans and Democrats and prompted perhaps a permanent shift in power relations between the governor and the Louisiana Legislature.

HB 57 by GOP Speaker Clay Schexnayder in its final form accomplishes most of what Republicans wanted with tort reform. The issues involved, in order of impact in lowering vehicle insurance rates, are (1) lowering the amount in controversy, or the jury trial threshold, (2) calculating more accurately the actual costs involved to deal with injury, or collateral source, (3) eliminating the ability to sue insurance companies directly, or direct action, (4) allowing evidence of seat belt usage in a trial, or the seat belt gag rule, and (5) lengthening the amount of time to file these cases for hearing, or the prescription period.

The version, which attracted large majorities (including some legislative Democrats who had opposed bills with similar provisions in the past but who realized it would pass and decided to jump on the train before it left the station) and drew a pledge from Edwards to sign, lowered the threshold in injury cases to from $50,000 to $10,000, created a process to calculate damages more closely related to actual costs, diluted the ability to launch direct action, and removed the seat belt exclusion. These provisions more closely mirror those in states with far lower vehicle insurance rates. The changes take effect permanently and without contingency in 2021.

30.6.20

NW LA must reject leftist intimidation attempt

In Shreveport, “Black Lives Matters” has found its economic blackshirts with their blacklist.

“Blackshirts” was the nickname given to a militant wing of the Italian National Fascist Party under Benito Mussolini. Its members used violence against political opponents to help Mussolini consolidate control over the country nearly a century ago.

Today, a group styling itself “We, the People” in Shreveport and Bossier City continues in that tradition of intimidation. It alleges it “is a Citizen-Led Initiative focused on bringing justice to the many victims of systemic racism & oppression, as well as reformation of systemically oppressive legislative policies. We fight for The People.”

29.6.20

Phelps threatens to sink lower than Norton

Democrat former state Rep. Barbara Norton set the bar pretty low in representing her District 3 constituents. However, her successor Democrat Tammy Phelps looks as if she’ll give it a go to do even worse.

Norton, who ran for offices seven times before finally notching a win in 2007 for that one, like most legislative Democrats made poor voting choices. Yet more than most, she opposed educational accountability measures, supported higher taxes and redistributionist government to the extreme, backed stupidly excessive regulations on business, and wanted to clamp down on Second Amendment rights.

But where she truly sunk to infame was the staggering amount of intemperate factual ignorance she brought to her barely-literate speechmaking in committee and on the floor, spouting off bilge such as America should repudiate the Declaration of Independence and not allow its study in schools and when colleagues pointed out the fatal flaws in a bill of hers requiring movie theaters to have metal detectors she said opponents aided and abetted in killing children.

28.6.20

GOP can't fumble tort reform close to scoring

As legislators enter the homestretch of tort reform, the Republican legislative leadership has to make sure it doesn’t fritter away its opportunity to make this meaningful.

The situation prior to Tuesday’s end of session remains in great flux. A mélange of ten bills circulate at present to bring this about, addressing five distinct issues, presented here roughly in order of impact in lowering vehicle insurance rates: (1) lowering the amount in controversy, or the jury trial threshold, (2) calculating more accurately the actual costs involved to deal with injury, or collateral source, (3) eliminating the ability to sue insurance companies directly, or direct action, (4) allowing evidence of seat belt usage in a trial, or the seat belt gag rule, and (5) lengthening the amount of time to file these cases for hearing, or the prescription period.

Currently, leadership has banked upon eight of these instruments addressing these matters. HB 57 by GOP Speaker Clay Schexnayder tackles the jury trial threshold by lowering it to $10,000, the seat belt exclusion, and a diluted version of direct action, after the Senate amended out a section dealing with collateral source. It sits in conference between those two versions.

25.6.20

LA legislative GOP starting to act like majority

Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards capitulated on one issue, and legislative Republicans have decided to follow the same strategy to make him cry uncle on one even more important.

Earlier this week, the Republican-controlled Senate began moving SB 12 and SB 18 by GOP Sen. Big Mike Fesi. The former, a constitutional amendment, and the latter, its statutory equivalent, would disallow the Legislature from using one-time money from unclaimed funds held in escrow for continuing expenses except for one dedication already in law.

These mirrored legislation that advanced in the regular session until, in its final minutes, the constitutional amendment version hit a snag in the Senate. Although it received majority approval, an amendment requires a two-thirds supermajority approval. The same happened initially with SB 12, with several senators from both parties flipping their votes from the regular session.

24.6.20

Up to Southern, NW LA to make law degree work

It’s a tenth of a loaf, and perhaps not likely to grow any larger, but Shreveport looks set to dip its toe into its long-sought goal of graduate legal education provision.

Last week, the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education approved of a Southern University System plan to offer law school coursework in Shreveport. This came in the wake of a reportto the Regents that didn’t see an educational shortage for lawyers in the region, but did perceive a maldistribution in employment that underserved the area, which led to the panel turning down an SUS request to create a law school in the city.

So, SUS proposed establishing a branch of its Baton Rouge campus there. The first step, which would take place for two years beginning in the spring of 2022, would allow for final semester students to complete coursework in Shreveport. This would give them a head start in making connections and seeking employment in the region. With the city willing to provide downtown (near the state and federal courts) space for both instruction and materials, along with space already in system possession it would not cost much to do this for 40-50 students.