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Obstructionism, amendment may risk innocent lives

As it turns out, in indirect fashion Louisianans may end up countenancing more murders beginning next year.

The regular legislative session that recently concluded didn’t produce any successful legislation directly affecting capital punishment, but one tangential to the issue will affect the practice’s effectiveness, depending on voter attitudes. That will put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that requires jury unanimity for felony convictions including capital sentences; presently, only 10 of a dozen jurors need agree to declare someone guilty.

Mathematically, this makes less likely a jury would convict an individual accused of murder, which increases the chances that a guilty suspect goes free. This translates to an increased chance of homicides occurring, as research demonstrates that every additional capital sentence carried out decreases the incidence of murder.


LA House Democrats throw Edwards under the bus

Either Louisiana House of Representatives Democrats did their level best to destroy their party’s Gov. John Bel Edwards’ reelection chances, or else he has so little influence that he can’t keep his party from melting down Louisiana government.

Last night (just about early this morning), the 2018 Second Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature ended in paralysis. The previous hour had seen some productivity for better or worse.

Worse was accepting HB 18 by Democrat state Rep. Katrina Jackson that expanded the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. A dozen Republicans who should have known better supported it, although at least they placed a hard sunset date on it. To fund it, they raised taxes on mostly higher-income earners. Also bad: the sunset date for this and discussed tax measures was all the way into 2025, leaving little incentive to right-size state government.


House must modify bad tax deal or reject it

The Louisiana House of Representatives should walk away from the state Senate’s bad tax-raising deal, unless that undergoes major, substantial revisions.

By the end of today, unless both chambers agree to this legislation and a budget, a third special session of the year likely would have to take place. Without a budget after Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a workable starter version from the regular session, that next iteration depends upon disposition of partial renewal of temporary taxes.

The House, through HB 27 by Republican state Rep. Lance Harris, proffered a five-year extension of a third of the temporary sales tax expiring in 27 days, plus continued suspension of about 100 credits, business utilities, and vehicle purchase exemptions. The Senate started with a half cent permanently, but passed a version extending to seven years.