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4.6.11

His political future related to odd Tucker tactics

As a result of his odd dealings with HB 479, the pertinence of the question increases even more: what office will term-limited Speaker Jim Tucker wish to contest this fall?

Last week, Tucker informed by memo the bill’s author, state Rep. Kirk Talbot, that the bill, scheduled to head to the House floor, would require a two-thirds vote for passage. This bill increases by three percent most state employees’ minimum contribution to their retirement plans, whether defined contribution or benefit. Tucker, relying on the House legal staff whose employment he oversees, argued that their characteristics made them either a “fee” or “tax,” which have constitutional requirements subjecting any increase of which to a two-thirds affirmative vote.

Talbot yanked the bill while another memo came across, this time to Tucker from the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration which demolished the legal reasoning that Tucker had produced by his request (which did not even argue properly the seminal case involved from 1983, Auburn Insurance Co. v. Bernard).

2.6.11

Lawmaker hypocrisy helps doom needed legislation

A couple of items needing passage by the Louisiana Legislature long ago once again seem set to fail this session, in part because of selective hypocrisy by some legislators.

The idea to allow holders of concealed weapons permits to carry handguns onto college campuses (who otherwise are not sworn peace officers), in the form of state Rep. Ernest Wooton’s HB 413 took a tumble again. As previously noted, to prohibit this exercise of Second Amendment rights fails both logically and empirically. What’s the theoretical justification for banning carrying in this one public venue as opposed to all the others now not banned? Why do something counter to research that shows concealed carry does not increase violent crime, but reduces it?

If nothing else, common sense tell us that, other than the existing ban, there’s absolutely no deterrent to illegal carrying and use on campus (regardless of whether a permit is held), so even a mildly-motivated miscreant still will attempt to use illegally a handgun.

1.6.11

People save by elimination of unneeded election date

Not many pieces of legislation have the triple virtues of saving taxpayers on the administration end, the paying end, and in reduction of government activity, but SB 108 by state Sen. Neil Riser does all of this and hopefully continues its move to enactment by the conclusion of this year’s legislative session in Louisiana.

This bill would eliminate regularly scheduled “local” election dates, those that, unless a special election is called for an elective office, occur at times other than regularly-scheduled elections for offices. In effect, with the intended exception of New Orleans, this means these may occur only in conjunction with statewide and federal office elections. The reduction follows on the elimination of one such date in 2006 and another in 2008 to end these completely.

Reduced administrative costs help taxpayers in one way.

31.5.11

Largely spared, higher education still needs to make case

As debate continues over the substantive impact of significant cuts made in the Louisiana House of Representatives as a result of short-term political posturing, left out of that is one of the three receptacles of state general fund revenues, higher education. This does not mean that reductions in what was proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal haven’t been queued up, or that all of those reductions forced because of other legislative inaction make good policy sense.

At the margins, some nibbling has occurred to higher education budgets as forwarded. For example, in HB 1 the car and housing allowances of system and institution leaders got cuts from a quarter to half of their levels two years ago. Further, HB 1 essentially reads state Rep. Simone Champagne’s HB 173 into it, prohibiting leader pay above 10 percent of the regional average and no car or housing allowances for the future. And it transferred over $900,000 from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center for functions more appropriately performed by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

But some actions that result in cuts range from the skeptical to counterintuitive and contradictory.

30.5.11

The meaning of Memorial Day

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 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, there are six of these: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

With Monday, May 30 being Memorial Day, I invite you to explore the link above.

29.5.11

Bill's moral imperative obscured by strategy considerations

HB 645 by state Rep. John LaBruzzo raises interesting questions about how Louisiana pro-life advocates should pursue doing the morally right thing, precisely because of the unimpeachable and absolute morality inherent to the position of protecting the unborn.

Abortion must be allowed in the U.S. because of one of the worst and least logical pieces of jurisprudence in U.S. Supreme Court history, Roe v. Wade (1973). Essentially, it discovers a “right” nowhere written in the Constitution, instead concatenating it through disparate, unrelated parts of the document that only through the fevered swamps of liberalism could it be imagined, of “privacy” that said government could not interfere with decisions about abortion – but only so long as the unborn had not established “personhood.” The decision actually defined when that began so then states may begin restricting at that point.

Traditionally, pro-life supporters have wanted the case overturned to give back to the states the ability to restrict abortion to any degree they like.