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Bracelet bill currently not likely cost effective for LA

While possibly electronic monitoring of transitional work program participants could reduce backsliding and even tragedy, its form envisioned in a pending Louisiana Legislature bill likely would have little or no payoff.

State Rep. Stephen Dwight has authored HB 50 for the upcoming session, which would require electronic monitoring of offenders taking advantage of the opportunity to work outside institutions from six months to four years away from sentence completion. The legislation aims to prevent such inmates from walking off the job and causing the use of resources to track them down or, worse, having them commit subsequent crimes.

Although nationally still relatively small in implementation – only an estimated two percent of all convicts participate in some kind of electronic monitoring – use of the technology has grown rapidly over the past decade. Attention to it has increased as jurisdictions look to reduce corrections cost, an exercise Louisiana has undertaken with a task force report on the subject due today.


When pressed, LA higher education can restructure

Maybe Louisiana’s Board of Regents should act more like one of the panels over which it has authority to show that the state’s higher education establishment has gotten the message.

Just days after the Regents released a mandated report that treated its legislative intent as little more than a joke, one of its subordinate management boards did something showing at least some seriousness on that account. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System announced plans that it would consolidate campuses by Jul. 1, realigning eight that would save about $10 million annually.

Monty Sullivan, the system president responsible to the board, recommended the move in facing the reality of higher education funding in the state. Over the past decade spending on community colleges actually has risen slightly, from around $311 million to $325 million, although these now serve about 13 percent more students in terms of credit hours. However, the mix of state funding and self-generated revenues has reversed so now most funding comes from tuition and fees.


Poor judgment sinking Robbie Gatti candidacy

Instead of state legislator, Republican candidate for House District 8 Robbie Gatti has a more realistic chance of becoming a textbook author – writing about how to sabotage your own political campaign.

Little has gone right for the brother of state Sen. Ryan Gatti since qualifying closed for the special election for the seat vacated when Rep. Mike Johnson left for Congress. The first of it he should have seen coming.

Some years ago, Gatti came dressed up at a Halloween party as mixed-race golfer Tiger Woods, who had become tabloid fodder over largely self-induced marriage problems, with Nike-logo cap and in blackface. Worse for him, at least one photo memorializes the event that also attended by members of his church. Later, only months ago the Gattis worked against Johnson’s election in opposition to most of the church’s members, stirring up such emotions that Robbie Gatti, who held a ministerial position in it, was asked to leave.


With changes, LA stripping age limit law may work

The race is on between whether a federal court will toss out a Louisiana law limiting exotic dancing for those under 21 years or age or the state can fix apparent defects in the law prior to that.

Last week, Eastern Louisiana District Court Judge Carl Barbier extended injunctive relief to plaintiffs against Act 395 of 2016. The law prohibits people aged 18-20 years from working as strippers in places that serve alcohol. This continues an order granted last year against the measure that seeks to reduce the incidence of human trafficking, arguing that younger adults face heightened risk at being sucked in to prostitution through nude dancing.

Such municipal ordinances – New Orleans has one with more specific language – and state laws historically have had a tough row to hoe because of concerns over the chilling effect that such a prohibition has on First Amendment rights. For decades, constitutional law has recognized nude expression as a protected form of speech, creating demanding standards to regulate it in any way.