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Cassidy, Kennedy lead on flood policy reforms

While the idea behind the National Flood Insurance Program’s Risk Rating 2.0 is sound, its implementation has left something to be desired, which some Louisiana federal elected officials want and need to improve.

In the months since the implementation of the new rules that more accurately assign risk to national flood insurance, things to date have gone as predicted. While about a fifth of Louisianans who have this – which is required if living in certain high-risk areas of if a home has a mortgage – will experience a one-time rate reduction averaging $960 (about twice the total premium for the highest level of coverage in a zone considered highly unlikely to flood), about 77 percent will see an increase as much as $20 a month in perpetuity and the other three percent will see rates higher still.

Astronomically higher, in some cases. Particularly unfortunately placed properties are in line to see rates skyrocket several times their past level over the next decade, but not immediately as with a few exceptions of up to 25 percent, increases are capped at 18 percent a year over the next decade. Still, do the math, and that means at their 18 percent maximum annually rates will triple in that time span, although a premium cap of $12,125 remains in place for now, but that can be increased, as can the rate cap after the decade (the law doesn’t have one after then).


LA legislators signaling rising conservatism

While Louisiana contests for federal and statewide offices may offer little chance for change, special legislative races and an appellate judge race could impact the Legislature significantly.

The state Senate has two positions open due to resignations. Democrat Karen Peterson vacated the 5th District in the face of oncoming criminal charges, while Republican Rick Ward left his term-limited 17th District post a year-plus early for an opportunity outside of government.

In terms of policy output, little will change for SD 5. It will pit two sitting representatives, Democrats Royce Duplessis and Mandie Landry, who are best described as, respectively, woke and woker. Since it’s a special election, it’s a free shot for both, but for Landry, who in her first term has promoted the farthest left legislation in the entire Legislature, it could signal her time in office is running out.


Caddo, Shreveport provide real election action

With largely, if not entirely, uncompetitive contests for statewide and federal offices clogging Louisiana ballots this fall, the most consequential electoral outcomes in the state will happen in Caddo Parish and specifically in Shreveport.

Two judicial elections – not unusually – went unopposed, featuring an incumbent and a past candidate for a similar office, as did a special election for the Caddo Parish Commission that will give interim Democrat Commissioner Steffon Jones the job. He almost defeated the now-convicted Democrat former Commissioner Lynn Cawthorne in 2019.

Unlike its counterpart across the river, School Board competition is more heated. Longtime District 1 Republican Steve Riall is stepping down and will be replaced by a Republican, either former Blanchard mayoral candidate Steve Umling or current Oil City Clerk Krisha Gayle Newsom. District 10 Republican Tony Nations is leaving office to set his sights on Shreveport City Council District E, leaving a swing district. Republican Katie McLain will try to keep it in GOP hands, while Rodney Jiles will want to increase Democrats’ majority on the Board and Jon Glover provides an independent alternative.


LA federal, state incumbents looking secure

It looks like Louisiana will be treated to a snoozer of an election for elected federal and statewide offices this fall, with all incumbents expected to prevail, for the most part quite easily.

A couple already have gained election. Fourth District Republican Rep. Mike Johnson for the first time drew no competition, nor did no party Chief Justice John Weimer the second election running for the Supreme Court. Weimer’s election, as only one of two non-Republicans on the bench, will be his last as this is the last term for which he qualifies.

Most other such candidates drew token opposition. The big question concerning the reelection attempt of Republican Sen. John Kennedy isn’t whether he will succeed, but how it will reveal the state of Louisiana’s Democrats. The only two other candidates with a chance to reach double-digit percentages of the vote, of which one surely will, are Democrats Gary Chambers and Luke Mixon.


Sleepy Bossier Board races may signal big change

As has become typical recently in Bossier Parish elections, the only real action to shake up the norm will happen for this fall’s election at its southern end – and with probable consequences for state legislative elections next year.

In Bossier City elections last year, with only two district City Council jobs contested but the northern-most providing just a last-minute candidate unable to resist Republican Councilor Vince Maggio’s assumption of the job, the only real action occurred in the southern-most District 1 where voters dumped long-time Republican incumbent Scott Irwin in favor of Republican then-School Board member Shane Cheatham, only to have Cheatham resign that triggered another competitive election to put Republican Brian Hammons in office. The pattern of somnambulant races in all but the southern reaches continued in 2022.

This year, School Board seats are the only major offices up for grabs in state and local elections for the parish and, as typical in a parish without term limits for any such office, continuity ruled qualifying. Ten incumbents will run again, with only one facing a challenge: elected last year when Cheatham had resigned the seat upon his Council election, District 11 Republican Robert Bertrand with square off again against, this time, independent Miki Royer, who ran as a Democrat last time. The change in party label likely won’t make much difference as he defeated her nearly three-to-one in the special election.