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11.2.16

Edwards promotes panic, false choices to grow govt

Viewers of Gov. John Bel Edwardstelevised speech to the public prior to the start of the Louisiana Legislature’s 2016 First Extraordinary Session should not let the transparency of his tax-and-spend agenda and the insufferableness of the way he pursues it distract them from what needs to doing to resolve the state’s current and future budget difficulties.



At different points in the address, which probably few people saw, Edwards said “nor would we falsely claim ‘the sky is falling,’” “I don't say this to scare you,” and “These are not scare tactics. Then he proceeded to try to say things exactly to frighten viewers, by describing all sorts of scary scenarios that bear only passing resemblances to reality, framed by a distortive statement at the start that the state faced its largest budget deficit in history.



Correct in absolute numbers – but only representing about 4 percent of the budget this year and 8 percent next year. When former Gov. Buddy Roemer took over in 1988, the roughly $900 million shortfall stood at 12 percent of a budget then only 30 percent of the size of today’s that led to cash flow problems the state today is nowhere close to experiencing. As Louisiana slogged its way through the crisis then, this on face indicates the situation does not merit the doom and gloom Edwards assigns it today.

LA must pursue laws safeguarding firearms rights



Even as a special session generally devoted to fiscal matters – more specifically excuses to raise taxes – looms, the Louisiana Legislature’s regular session approaches and presents the state a chance to follow the lead of other states this year in safeguarding Second Amendment rights and the additional public safety benefits that come from that.



Some states, in light of the occasional but all too regular occurrences of shootings on college campuses, will review legislation this year to allow concealed weapons carried on school property by qualified registrants, not just by public safety personnel. Prior to 2012, Louisiana legislators typically filed similar but unsuccessful bills, yet that seemed to dry up with a new set of lawmakers.



The case to enact a law like this remains as compelling as it has in the past. At the theoretical level, human psychology and, at the empirical level, data continue to bear out that if those who intend to bring harm against others see the chances increased that they could face firearms in opposition, the less likely they become to use deadly force. Poorly-reasoned inferior analysis trying to assert the opposite fails to pass muster.

10.2.16

Edwards' weakness invites first big shark to eye him



Gov. John Bel Edwards has held that office for less than a month, and already the first and perhaps most lethal electoral shark has started circling his weakened position.



Previously having faced setbacks in terms of House of Representatives leadership and committee assignments with his inability to place favored allies in positions of power, Democrat Edwards also suffers from another clipping of his authority: the assertive posture adopted by new Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry. It began innocently enough with Edwards proclaiming that he would ratchet down the practice of recent governors in using outside counsel through the Governor’s Office and other executive branch agencies to pursue certain legal matters, leaving Landry more unopposed discretion in dealing with these.



Landry has espoused a novel implementation of the constitutional powers of the attorney general. Historically, when other parts of the executive branch, through their defined statutory powers, engaged in legal action, the attorney general stayed out of the way. These past heads of the state Department of Justice also shied away from using their constitutional authority to initiate or intervene in civil matters outside of largely legal questions like suing drug manufacturers for misrepresentation involving state contracts.

9.2.16

Caddo tries reform for second time in 20 years



If last week did not contain in aggregate the most momentous shift in Caddo Parish Commission policy in its history, it must rank up there, generating plenty of controversy and optimism for the future.



Four tremendous breaks from past policy occurred, beginning with discussion but no action on whether the parish will have its administrator Woodrow Wilson serve as its representative on the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. By federal law, that organization coordinates activities among local governments relevant to federal government grant activities, among other things.



Wilson has served as that official until last month when new Commission Pres. Matthew Linn assumed the position himself, with the power to designate a substitute. In a letter to commissioners, Wilson complained about the move, saying that it would reduce expertise and effectiveness of the organization and on the behalf of the parish.

8.2.16

Fayard candidacy invites LA Democrat crackup



On cue, here comes the crackup of Louisiana Democrats.



Former lieutenant governor candidate Democrat Caroline Fayard announced she would enter the U.S. Senate race contested this fall. She already joins three quality Republicans, in the form of Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming and Treasurer John Kennedy, and two others that would be competitive only in the absence of these from the GOP, former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao and former Senate candidate Rob Maness.



To reiterate what has appeared in this space, Fayard’s social liberalism, association with prominent liberal Democrat elected officials past and present, her trial lawyer background and backing, questions surrounding her previous campaign’s financing, and the case of athlete’s mouth she contracted then when she infamously declared that she “hates” Republicans that will resurface in ads again and again over the next nine months, make her unelectable against any of the top shelf Republicans running, if not all running. But if she were the only quality Democrat running, given the electorate’s dynamics due to the size of the Republican field she would make the runoff subsequently to lose to the highest GOP receiver of votes.