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LA legislative GOP starting to act like majority

Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards capitulated on one issue, and legislative Republicans have decided to follow the same strategy to make him cry uncle on one even more important.

Earlier this week, the Republican-controlled Senate began moving SB 12 and SB 18 by GOP Sen. Big Mike Fesi. The former, a constitutional amendment, and the latter, its statutory equivalent, would disallow the Legislature from using one-time money from unclaimed funds held in escrow for continuing expenses except for one dedication already in law.

These mirrored legislation that advanced in the regular session until, in its final minutes, the constitutional amendment version hit a snag in the Senate. Although it received majority approval, an amendment requires a two-thirds supermajority approval. The same happened initially with SB 12, with several senators from both parties flipping their votes from the regular session.


Up to Southern, NW LA to make law degree work

It’s a tenth of a loaf, and perhaps not likely to grow any larger, but Shreveport looks set to dip its toe into its long-sought goal of graduate legal education provision.

Last week, the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education approved of a Southern University System plan to offer law school coursework in Shreveport. This came in the wake of a reportto the Regents that didn’t see an educational shortage for lawyers in the region, but did perceive a maldistribution in employment that underserved the area, which led to the panel turning down an SUS request to create a law school in the city.

So, SUS proposed establishing a branch of its Baton Rouge campus there. The first step, which would take place for two years beginning in the spring of 2022, would allow for final semester students to complete coursework in Shreveport. This would give them a head start in making connections and seeking employment in the region. With the city willing to provide downtown (near the state and federal courts) space for both instruction and materials, along with space already in system possession it would not cost much to do this for 40-50 students.


LSU cancels Middleton, its intellectual honesty

The gagging stench of craven hypocrisy emanating from Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors, and LSU administrators simply overwhelms.

Last week, the Board, with nearly all of its members Edwards appointees, voted to strip former LSU Pres. Troy Middleton’s name from the campus library. Middleton had served with great distinction in the military and had shepherded LSU through difficult times during nearly a dozen years at the helm, but left a contradictory record regarding race relations. At one time writing that he would do what he could to discourage the presence of black students on campus, after leaving the university he made public efforts to bring about racial reconciliation.

The whole episode represents a mix between a circus and the fatalism of Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon, where the Bolshevik protagonist accepts death at the hands of the regime he created because he insufficiently acted obediently to the mob that had taken power of the party apparatus that he once served. None of this was on the radar a month ago.


Politics still driving Edwards virus decisions

As politics currently may drive Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision-making regarding the state response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, so may political reality eventually force him to make these decisions based more upon science.

Today, Edwards said he would refuse to let expire as planned this upcoming Friday proclamations that continue to restrict citizen liberties and commercial activity. He claimed that a “surge” of cases and especially hospitalizations since Jun. 8 triggered this move.

The data make this assertion questionable. On Jun. 8, the state had racked up 43,050 cases from 442,602 tests or an infection rate of 9.73 percent, with 582 people hospitalized. As of yesterday, cases stood at 49,778 from 610,812 tests or 8.15 percent infected, with 589 hospitalized. Federal guidelines to move into the next phase, which would expand commercial activity without restrictions for many businesses and discourage higher-risk people from more than minimal interactions with others but otherwise hardly restrict others, called for decreasing proportions of positive tests over the prior two weeks.


Shreveport hoping for same smoking ban outcome

Shreveport went the extra mile, with a fresh sigh of relief from potential nightlife patrons there and a smelly sigh of relief from Bossier City. And it might pay off.

Earlier this month, the Shreveport City Council enacted an indoor smoking ban for bars and casinos which broadens existing ordinance to apply to all purveyors of commerce, excepting only those that had smoking as an integral part of their business and some limited lodging facilities. The casino inclusion, which the proposal originally didn’t cover, bars owner greeted warmly as they now wouldn’t see a competitive disadvantage for smokers with the two riverboats’ bars in Shreveport.

However, the ban doesn’t include a significant minority chunk of the economy that resides just to the east across the Red River. Bossier City apparently has no plans to emulate despite the significant triumph for individual liberties that would represent, particularly for those with health conditions aggravated by ambient smoke thrust into the environment by thoughtless others.