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Demagogic insurance bill aims to distract

It’s not even old wine in new bottles; it’s old wine in old bottles and still sour. And it’s the same old story of distraction to enable continued transference of wealth from ratepayers and consumers to trial lawyers.

SB 55 by Democrat state Sen. Jay Luneau essentially warms over some corpses from last year, combined into one bill. It would prevent insurers from basing rates on individuals for vehicles on the status of an insured being a widow or widower, the insured's credit score/rating, or the gender (which really means “sex,” but insurers refer to it as “gender”) of an insured over the age of twenty-five.

The facts haven’t changed to make any of these changes any more redeemable or sensible. To start with the banning using of widow or widower status that typically confers higher rates on previously married individuals, that simply reflects that in general single people drive more, which raises rates. Individual cases vary, but insurers often can’t distinguish among individuals and so are permitted to use this grouping.


Panel stops short with LA elections advice

A legislative task force made a very small step in improving Louisiana policy outcomes by recommending the state move its congressional elections to a modified closed primary system.

Currently, the state operates under a blanket primary system, which really isn’t a primary at all. It’s a general election without party nominations where any candidate may run regardless of label (or none), and if no candidate secures an absolute majority heads to a runoff between the highest two finishers.

And it’s extremely problematic from a policy-making view because it devalues the single most effective concept in aggregating, articulating, and clarifying issue preferences and holding politicians accountable: the political party. This tarnishing occurs because the state’s blanket primary system (except for presidential preference primaries) provides no incentives for voters to think in programmatic terms and reduced penalties for disloyalty by a candidate to his articulated preferences, of which these may not match those generally of other candidates running under that label for similar offices.


Honesty needed on gas tax failure, Biden suit

Honesty would be the best policy in Louisiana politics. You’re not likely to get it, as those who want bigger and more intrusive government illustrated last week.

Perhaps the defeat of his wife for a spot on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in a special election the previous weekend convinced Republican state Rep. Jack McFarland to pull the plug on his legislative attempts to hike the gas tax. Associating the family name with increasing taxes may have cost her a spot in the April runoff by making her conservative claims less credible compared to those of her conservative Republican opponent lawyer Michael Melerine, who almost certainly will capture the seat.

Regardless whether that result demonstrated a paucity of support for hiking taxes while the state’s economy shrinks year-over-year, McFarland announced he would abandon the effort publicized by a special interest group intent on seeing increased government spending on building roads. The group, which counts among its members many entities who would receive that taxpayer largesse, claimed that other legislation could meet its goals and the recent federal spending bill also would provide the state with potential one-time funding for roads.


Trucking tort reform needed to avert crisis

Unless the Louisiana Legislature acts soon, trucking operators in the state will find themselves becoming extinct.

Over the past decade, industry costs have spiraled upwards dramatically, largely fueled by exploding liability costs. The average size of jury verdicts increased nearly 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018, rising from $2.3 million to $22.3 million. Worse, runaway juries are stretching the bounds of liability, with the most notorious case being a 2014 incident where a passenger vehicle crossing the median and striking a truck, killing a child in the vehicle, yet the family successfully sued the trucking company and won a $90 million judgment, now on appeal.

Any interstate truck must carry $750,000 in primary liability. In Louisiana, for those who don’t leave the state, the limit starts $300,000. Just for that minimum, the average annual rate is $13,143 per rig.


Harmful agenda threatens LA higher education

Louisiana leaders should rebuff attempts to cheapen higher education delivery on the basis of racist argumentation.

Last year, a panel authorized by law to study dual enrollment – allowing qualified high school students to take courses for college credit – issued a report aiming to increase this incidence. It made many recommendations, but the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic made any movement on these impossible last year.

With a new year, legislative action could occur. And certain special interests have seen this as an opportunity to advance a destructive agenda for both taxpayers and students.