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History gives Fields chance of Senate resurrection

He’s back, and he can win, although it’s less likely to happen than in another similar case seven years ago.

Democrat former Rep. Cleo Fields, who also served 14 years in the state Senate, will hold a fundraiser soon to reclaim his legislative post. Removed via term limits in 2008, his successor Democrat state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb must vacate for the same reason.

Despite nearly two decades in office, the most lasting image of Fields has him accepting an envelope with $20,000 in cash from Democrat former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who would later go to prison over charges presumably involving the source of those funds. Fields never faced charges and never has explained the transaction.


Confusion catches out LA foster children policy

If you get queasy when considering the old saw that the process of making laws is like watching sausage get made, imagine passing two bills that overlap on the same issue. That’s a wreck that caught up foster children policy this past legislative session.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has considered the feasibility of extending foster care from age 18 to 21. It worked with Democrat state Sen. Regina Barrow, who has long taken an interest in children’s policy, to introduce a resolution to study this at the start of that session. In early May, both chambers had signed off on it, scheduling the report’s completion by Feb. 1, 2019.

But even before this, Republican state Sen. Ryan Gatti filed a bill to do the same for any foster child enrolled in high school or something equivalent. That passed out of the Legislature only days later, although it hinged upon receiving funding for implementation.


LA local hyper-governance causing problems

An incident regarding a Livingston Parish board reminds Louisiana of the hazards of hyper-governance.

Last week, the Livingston Parish Council removed a member of the parish’s Gravity Drainage District No. 5. He had spoken vituperatively to the body’s clerk after she reminded it of state law regarding open meetings and cast unwarranted aspersions over the accreditation of the board’s attorney.

As its members serve at the pleasure of the Council, now parish commissioners will have to find someone else for that position. But wouldn’t it make more sense not to have to go through all of this in the first place?


Banning felons from running improves governance

Louisiana’s voters should pursue reform lite, and better that they understand why they should.

This fall, the state’s electorate will pass judgment on Act 719 of the 2018 regular session, which prohibits unpardoned felons from running for any elective office until five years have elapsed since completion of sentence. In essence, it serves as a replacement for a similar constitutional standard struck down two years ago over a technicality in its presentation to voters, except that the ban lasted 15 years.

Its detractors generally fall back onto two arguments to defeat it, one of which makes no sense. A case brought by former state legislator Derrick Shepherd, convicted of a felony for activities in office, excised the previous stricture. His lawyer, former state Rep. Robert Garrity, calls the amendment “feel-good” and claims it’s “worthless” that will do nothing.