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Nuclear option boxes in Edwards on tort reform

Will the “nuclear option” force Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to do the right thing?

That’s how Louisiana legislative Republicans have set him up over tort reform, pursuing a dual track strategy that gives him no choice but to pick a policy option he doesn’t want. As the last dozen days of the First Extraordinary Session approach, GOP legislative leaders have chosen to employ an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Last week, Edwards vetoed from the regular session SB 418 by Republican Sen. Kirk Talbot, which would align Louisiana’s tort laws closely with those of other states that have far lower vehicle insurance premium rates. With the special session afoot, leadership could have attempted a veto override, and probably would have succeeded, although likely having to avail itself of some strongarm tactics to do so.


Making sense of LA political, media changes

A mainstream media attempt from the old left to understand the new right leadership in the Louisiana Legislature failed. Let me be of some assistance.

The Baton Rouge Advocate recently ran a piece displaying equal parts of wonderment and pique at how easily the Republican-led chambers, with the House of Representatives under Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate behind Pres. Page Cortez, have worked together to put liberal Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards on the defensive and advance a decidedly conservative agenda. But, like an alien looking at a snow globe of a pastoral scene to divine how life on Earth really goes on, writer Tyler Bridges can’t quite figure it out the reality of the situation.

To understand why not, a review from where Louisiana’s political culture and communication have developed is in order. Keep in mind that the state’s populist past, with its reform character stemming from the post-Reconstruction era then half a century later metastasizing into a centralizing and redistributionist Longism, allied with its longstanding reliance on personalism by which to judge its rulers, for about a century conditioned the public to accept at the state level bigger and more intrusive government than state voters tolerated from the national government starting after World War II. In other words, Louisianans less frequently translated their issue preferences into voting behavior, enthralled as they were with candidate personalities and captive to a distinct political culture.


Trendy flag protests to challenge LA schools

As surely as springtime and Louisianans diving into crawfish go together, so does trendiness and teenagers. Which poses a challenge to state educators who shouldn’t let a hatred of American ideals inculcate within their students

Primarily the threat will menace young athletic participants. With renewed talk among professional athletes about protesting during the national anthem prior to contests, no doubt some high schoolers will wish to copy them, not realizing the ignorance they emanate or the cancerous attitude they court. Along the way, they’ll hear a lot of half-baked, if not patently dishonest, arguments trying to sanitize the idea of flag protests at sporting events.

Understand that the American flag represents symbolically government based upon a discrete set of principles establishing the American political order, attempting to achieve maximal liberty yet ensuring a necessary amount of equality: (1) acceptance of the principle of majority rule, (2) free exchange of opinion and information, (3) availability of realistic choices and actions for self-governance, (4) freedom to act upon one's belief, including the right to persuade others, (5) belief that government exists to serve human beings, not the reverse, (6) acceptance of government by law, not by man (better known as rule by law), (7) protection of the political rights of minority interests, and (8) equality before the law and in the opportunity to participate in its making.


Another step taken to rein in LA governor

Louisiana’s Republican-led Legislature continues to clip the wings of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards by reducing, at least for the time being, perhaps his strongest informal power.

That concerns a governor’s ability to control capital outlay funding. While over half of the cash portion is locked in to various transportation and coastal restoration spending plans, the rest and any bonded items policy-makers eventually decide which of and when these commence towards completion. This year, that would mean approaching $1 billion in cash items and three times that in others underwritten by bonds.

Historically, governors have two means of leverage using projects. First, the item has to make it into an appropriation bill (mostly in HB 2, the designated capital outlay bill, but others can sneak in through instruments like HB 1, the designated general appropriations bill). The governor has a line item veto power over these, which the Legislature can override if in session. Traditionally, the final products arrived too late in the session for such votes to occur, which would require a special veto override session that never has panned out since a majority of legislators are loathe to reconvene more than 40 days after the regular session, or at all, except under extreme circumstances. This made such vetoes unimpeachable and governors could use this to entice votes for or against legislation by holding a line item veto threat over projects for legislators’ districts.