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Edwards ALEC connection part of myth building

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards addressing the American Legislative Exchange Council? That’s not beyond belief upon understanding the requirements of the Edwards myth of centrism.

The group convened its annual meeting in New Orleans yesterday and heard from the governor. At first glance, that may seem odd, for the group’s conservative, good government agenda hardly squares with much of what Edwards has spoken favorably about and has pursued throughout his policy-making career.

Indeed, checking upon Edwards’ score as a legislator and governor on the Louisiana Legislature Log scorecard, as a member of the House of Representatives he averaged about 30 and as governor he has averaged around 47. Higher scores indicate higher congruity with voting for a conservative/reform agenda, while lower scores denote voting fealty to liberal/populist preferences.


LA bishops can clarify death penalty confusion

The death penalty debate has gotten some recent attention in Louisiana, with both Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and his spiritual leaders thrust into it.

Edwards found himself subject to criticism on the subject by Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry. The state’s chief prosecutor removed his office from a lawsuit preventing the state from carrying out executions, saying the governor remained insufficiently committed to resolving the case in a way where the state could resume carrying out capital sentences.

Since 2014, the courts effectively have enjoined the state from doing this, citing its inability to conduct lethal injection in a constitutional manner. State law mandates this as the only method for capital punishment, and Landry faults Edwards both for not doing what’s needed to put the state in a posture to carry this out and failure to back changing the law to add methods of execution. For his part, Edwards brushed this aside as political grandstanding.


Anti-reformers get leg up in Jefferson races

Round III in the reform vs. anti-reform battle for the Jefferson Parish School Board got more interesting last week.

The nine-member body has received much attention over the previous two election cycles. In 2010, tired of lagging student performance, reform interests backed by area business managed to elect a majority.  In the ensuing four years, the board let go of a collective bargaining agreement that hampered change and became much friendlier to policy options such as charter schools, hiring a superintendent to match.

In the interim, the district’s performance improved. Despite that, the empire struck back. With union-affiliated organizations piling hundreds of thousands of dollars into 2014 races, labor won back a majority. Reinstituting collective bargaining followed plus the hiring of a new superintendent without reformist impulses.