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Lou Gehrig Burnett, 1941-2018

On Jan. 7, as I had done almost every other Sunday for about 15 years, I sent my column to the publisher of Fax-Net Update, Lou Burnett. It was that night, after the New Orleans Saints had triumphed in their playoff game, which put a smile on my face and I knew would on Lou’s as well. The next day, the edition that was supposed to have my piece came out, reading only this:

Delays delays delays.  Seems old man winter has hit the staff of Fax-Net with the bug thats going around.

We muist have been on Santa's naughty list ater all.

We will publish again as we can.  Sorry for the delay.

It’s been one of the worst flu seasons in a long time, so bad that my wife, who is severely immuno-compromised, has kept me in the house where I leave only to gather food and occasionally go to campus. Lou was 76 and a heavy smoker all his life, plus the misspellings should have jogged me to give his ailment at least a second thought.


Lapdog Adley hypocritically shilling for Edwards

Not only is former state Sen. Robert Adley a toady, he’s a hypocritical toady.

The Democrat-turned-Republican Adley found himself term-limited out of office after 2015, but landed on his political feet when Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards – to whose campaign account his dormant one contributed $2,500 in 2016 – appointed him to the state Board of Commerce and Industry as his designee. This put him right in the middle of changes Edwards mandated to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, essentially curtailing to some degree local property tax breaks for capital-spending companies.

As such, Adley has become Edwards’ extension and thereby energetically responded to recent criticism made by Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh about Edwards’ tax-and-spend plans for the upcoming fiscal year. Edwards wishes to raise taxes permanently to empower oversized government while calling it tax reform.


Edwards raises hope to pare needless licensing

Welcome to the party, pal: liberal Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards has joined the bandwagon to streamline through reduction occupational licensing in Louisiana. Regardless of his reason for doing so, better late than never.

To his credit, it’s been a small bandwagon, as virtually no Louisiana legislators – Edwards served in the House of Representatives from 2008-16 – recently have tried to do anything to reduce the number of occupations requiring licensing. In fact, during his two terms in the House, eight discrete bills came forward establishing new occupational licensing while none actually tried eliminating any (a couple of dozen tweaked requirements, more often marginally eliminating these than adding to them).  Six of these didn’t make it out of committee, and of the two that did Edwards voted against one and for the other.

No real movement has occurred during his two years as governor, either. As a result of this standstill, Louisiana remains the most overregulated state for occupational licensing, as measured by the Institute for Justice. In fact, the only significant attenuation of licensing in the state over the past decade has occurred because of the Institute’s intervention, in putting pressure on lawmakers to pare substantially the florist license requirements and in winning in court on behalf of monks who wanted to make and sell caskets.


B.L. "Buddy" Shaw, 1933-2018

I actually met B.L. “Buddy” Shaw, who died last week, not in the political arena, but in higher education, through his wife Mary Ann, a colleague of mine at Louisiana State University Shreveport. At that time, Buddy was wrapping up what would become his final term on the Caddo Parish School Board, preparing to launch a 12-year career in the Louisiana Legislature, serving as my representative or senator.

How he traversed that time as a legislator was interesting and unusual. From 1996 to 2004 he made his mark as one of the most fiscally and socially conservative members of the House. Not term-limited, he could have run for a third term but decided at age 70 he would enjoy his time more away from Baton Rouge.

Then, in 2007, he came out of retirement to contest for the state Senate. Former state Sen. Max Malone, elected with Buddy in 1995, had hit his term limit, and state Rep. Billy Montgomery had declared for the seat after he term limited out his House seat.