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Insurance bill to bring RINOs to forefront

So Republican state Rep. Kirk Talbot’s HB 372 cruises out of the Louisiana House of Representatives, both in committee and on the floor in largely party-line votes carried by Republicans. Next it heads to the Senate Insurance Committee and then would go to the full Senate, with both the panel and chamber having solid GOP majorities. Slam dunk to get to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and put the former trial lawyer on the hot seat?

Think again. The bill, which lowers jury thresholds from $50,000 – the nation’s highest – to $5,000, prohibits suing insurance companies to tap directly into their deep pockets, and would provide incentives to lower rates in additional ways, would reduce the flow of ratepayer dollars to trial lawyers. And the Senate committee, despite having seven Republicans of its nine members, might end up as a stumbling block.

Trial lawyer dollars act as Democrats’ campaign funding lifeblood, so only a few of them will cross the aisle to favor such a measure (as the House vote on the bill demonstrated). Thus, Republicans must keep their defections to a minimum while not counting on the two Democrats (also lawyers, but not active in tort litigation).


Dim LA legislators wish to revive dead horse

The only thing more futile than flogging a dead horse is trying to revive that dead horse before flogging it.

That’s the path some Louisiana legislators want to take with the moribund Equal Rights Amendment. Originally proposed in 1972 with a seven-year window for ratification, even with that time period extended another three years not enough of the 38 states required for ratification followed through. During this period, 35 states did so, although five revoked their assents.

But as the aura of identity politics has raced through campuses, Hollywood, and febrile far left Democrats, liberal lawmakers have urged what they allege as another attempt to ratify the original ERA. In the past two years, Nevada and Illinois have passed resolutions to do so, leading some of their Louisiana counterparts to desire doing the same.


Bad bill beaten, but reveals limits to progress

Yesterday, a Louisiana Senate committee defeated a bad bill for the wrong reason, in the process showing why next year can’t come soon enough.

The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee deferred SB 21 by Republican state Sen. Barrow Peacock. It would have redirected gradually proceeds from the 0.45 percent sales tax hike renewal agreed to last year towards transportation needs and kept its scheduled expiration in 2025.

The bill had laudable aims in that the unneeded tax – its excessive nature confirmed by the state’s slow but steady uptick in revenues as recognized at the last Revenue Estimating Conference meeting – would go away and that such supplementary funding above and beyond necessary state operating expenses lent to diversion for infrastructure needs. But it didn’t come up to snuff for two reasons.


Perkins practicing power politics on steroids

Last year, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins told campaign audiences that he wanted to break with politics of the past. Instead, he seems all too eager to embrace heavy-handed favoritism that apparently runs against the law and blatantly contrary to taxpayer interests, leading to questions about his abilities and motives.

Perkins, a political novice who hardly had lived any of his adult life in Shreveport, swept into office as a wunderkind promising to break the mold of ossified Shreveport politics and attitudes. And in the initial period of his tenure, the public seemed approving, with over half giving him above-average marks in a television station poll.

But Perkins has made some controversial decisions, and last week two of them backfired in ways that abnegate his campaign image. At the state level, the Attorney General’s office rendered a legal opinion against his attempt to remove members of the Shreveport Airport Authority.


Voters must reject Bossier school tax hike

No matter how you define it, the Bossier Parish School District asks for an unwarranted property tax increase on May 4.

Early this year, the School Board voted to put a pair of hikes on this ballot, which as a typically local-only election date tends to draw low turnout. If its members thought this would shorten the odds of passing the roughly 26 mills (about 23 going to salaries to make the total dedicated to pay starting this year around 60) by having school employees disproportionately show up at the polls to approve their own raises, it backfired.

Instead, local groups have sprung up in opposition with aggressive campaigns to defeat both measures. At least two have mailed out pieces or made phone calls asking for rejection. These are the Good Government Coalition, whose organizers include local business representatives and political activists, and Building a Better Bossier, whose principals are associated City Tele-Coin, a business with extensive government contracts (introducing an element that creates another layer of political intrigue involving Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who as a state legislator championed funding efforts for Bossier schools and on the PSC has butted heads with the company on regulatory issues).