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Conservative flood may ace them out of SOS

Will Louisiana’s conservative Republicans throw away the Secretary of State’s office?

Suddenly, the field for this special election in the fall seems flooded with these choices. This week, both former state Sen. A.G. Crowe and current state Rep. Rick Edmonds formally announced candidacies. Crowe compiled a solidly conservative voting record in his many years in the Legislature, and Edmonds has done likewise in his House service.

And another conservative Republican, state Rep. Paul Hollis, has indicated he will run. Of the three, he has the most experience in running statewide campaigns, having run for U.S. Senate in 2014 only to desist prior to the election.

The Press-Herald column, Jun. 27, 2018

Could immigration enforcement be a boon to our jails?



LA must intervene on pretrial diversion

Some tweaks made and guidance given to Louisiana’s pretrial diversion guidelines could guarantee the concept does what it’s supposed to do – increase public safety while ensuring accountability.

While the state requires diversion programs – which allow a defendant to skip judicial proceedings and accept some kind of punishment for an alleged crime – in a couple of instances, except for prohibiting some serious matters it leaves whether to have such a program and its scope in then hands of the individual authorities, essentially district attorneys or city prosecutors. Within these parameters, authorities basically do what they want, subject to a 1993 state attorney general’s opinion that declares these activities can’t enrich offices beyond the costs to run them.

This has allowed, particularly in the last few years, many judicial districts to begin authorizing diversion for a host of crimes, often dealing with traffic. This proves easy for DAs, as they exist as a separate government entity as opposed to municipalities’ legal departments that enforce ordinances. For a fee paid directly to the DA, those who draw citations have the DA drop the charges.


Bad LPSC decision reveals small silver lining

Out of the stupidity witnessed at the last meeting of Louisiana’s Public Service Commission, at least one spot of brilliance emerged.

The PSC approved an application by SWEPCO to foist costs of the Windcatcher project onto Louisiana ratepayers. The decision was expected as staff had worked out an agreement with the producer that includes northwest Louisiana’s Wal-Mart properties agreeing to purchase power from it, a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits, and minimum annual production from the project – similar to a deal made for Arkansas’ regulators’ approval. Building the wind farm and transmitting power to customers with no new need established requires assent from these states plus Oklahoma and Texas.

The project has way too many question marks to merit acceptance. Data sew doubt the project will save ratepayers money over the long haul, especially as federal wind power production tax credits will expire by 2020, too many risks of inefficient production exist, SWEPCO’s has a history of cost overruns (plus onshore wind power typically costs per unit roughly triple that of fossil fuels when considering all factors such as reliability and subsidies), and the likelihood of lower margins on projected sales all should serve to scuttle the effort.