Search This Blog


Good bill limits critical race theory primacy

This regular legislative session provides an opportunity to prevent a Trojan Horse of racism from insinuating itself into Louisiana education. Legislators, with slight modification, have the instrument in hand to achieve this.

HB 564 by Republican state Rep. Ray Garofalo would prohibit the primary use of “divisive concepts” in student education or staff training in education from kindergarten through graduate school, for any institution that receives any state dollars. It responds to the viral infection of “critical race theory” as it attempts to make a leap from the labs of faddish higher education to the general public.

Critical race theory posits that racism – defined as emanating only from whites against people of all other races (including Hispanics and those of Middle Eastern descent, who technically biologically don’t come from a separate category) – is inseparable from all American institutions that whites have shaped and control. Indeed, according to it the consensus methods of combatting racism such as neutrality in treating individuals as individuals rather as people ineluctably defined by their racial background are racist features of these systems.


Bill could make rogue agency accountable

Republican state Rep. Dodie Horton put her money where her mouth with HB 630 that could result in a severe clipping of the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District’s wings.

Over the past year, the growing notoriety of this special district incorporating the reservoir in its name has prompted state policy-makers to intervene in its controversies. Having run into budgetary difficulties as a result of past bad decisions – which it recently passed on to most Bossier Parish taxpayers by raising their property tax rates, the only parish agency with that power to do so in the latest quadrennial reassessment – the highhanded nature of its board, whose members aren’t elected but selected by various local governments, and board member/Executive Director Robert Berry have continued to flummox citizens.

Berry has come under fire from Republican Atty. Gen Jeff Landry, who launched an ongoing suit to have Berry removed from an office with the claim under law Berry can’t fill these two offices simultaneously. The grievances that Horton – whose district takes in some of the property under the jurisdiction of the District and many parcels where residents get taxed by it – relayed on behalf of constituents fueled Landry’s move.


Speech highlights Edwards' declining relevance

This year’s state of the state address by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards illustrates his continued slide towards irrelevancy, both in the reach of his policy agenda and its messaging and in its increasing distance from reality.

The agenda is unambitious. His disinterest in tossing red meat to the political left while simultaneously pretending real problems don’t exist was best exemplified by not even mentioning, after his humiliation on tort reform for individual vehicle insurance last year, a bill by one his allies designed for show on that account that actually likely would create a less efficient insurance market on the agenda he didn’t mention. Yet his address also didn’t mention other genuine vehicular tort reform issues, such as the growing crisis with commercial insurance.

Leaving out this and other things like sales tax administration reform, protection of children from faddishness, and a bare mention on income tax reform, much of what does appears on it piggybacks onto largely non-controversial items and even the recurring liberal wish list items of dealing with illusory pay inequity between sexes and increasing the minimum wage seem almost perfunctory in their presences. Edwards treated these as such by mentioning them only in passing.


Demand equal treatment as GA; save tax bucks

Quick, before they change their minds! It didn’t seem to work out over laws promoting increased pro-life protections. But maybe this time Hollywood will be serious and take Louisiana taxpayers off the hook … and you can help!

In 2019, Louisiana and other states passed such laws, although not all survived Supreme Court scrutiny of the recent past. Hollywood grumbled about boycotting such states, with Georgia and Louisiana being the two most generous in passing out subsidies to film and television producers, but nothing really came of it.

Almost two years have passed and the same threats have reappeared, this time over Georgia’s changes to strengthen ballot integrity. A handful of industry movers and shakers said they didn’t plan on producing there, but now one who actually had planned on doing so has pulled the plug, citing the new law.


Cost metrics demand pause on justice changes

Contrary to what the state’s public may think, the day of reckoning for Louisiana’s criminal justice policy changes of four years ago is drawing nigh: sold as a way to reduce costs without damaging public safety, those costs sooner rather than later actually look to increase.

These changes, such as reducing sentences, different sentencing, and increased eligibility for release on a periodic (for work release) or permanent basis, adherents such as main sponsor Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards claimed would save money that could be used to pad the state’s budget but mainly for “reinvestment” into strategies that supposedly would reduce the crime rate. While the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic postponed last year’s report on the changes, until then the state estimated cost reductions of $30 million.

However, these early optimistic monetary returns distracted from a looming reality. Unlike all but one other state, Louisiana houses a significant portion of state prisoners in local jails, historically hovering around the 50 percent level. With this a persistent feature of the state’s criminal justice system, parish sheriffs got into the business in a big way, often ambitiously expanding capacity.