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Fleming may thwart Schexnayder, Cortez plans

Next year’s lieutenant governor’s contest looks to have become a lot more interesting as the presumed cage match between legislative leaders might end with both their political careers fizzled.

Behind the scenes for some time both Republican House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and GOP Senate Pres. Page Cortez have signaled they wish to continue their full-time but term-limited political careers by winning the state’s number two job. They haven’t made an announcement as they seem to wait on the current occupant, Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, to decide whether to run for governor.

However, given that Nungesser recently told a gathering he would seek the top spot, it’s all-but-assured his current post will come open. And shortly after he made that statement, a state political heavyweight from the past expressed great interest in it who stands a great chance to send both Cortez and Schexnayder into retirement earlier than they would like.


BESE lays eggs on accountability, standards

In the past week, Louisiana educrats won a pair of victories at the expense of the state’s children.

Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education this week has taken up a number of matters, including two that have generated controversy at the opposite ends of the age spectrum. One would have altered accountability standards for high school, while the other attempts to implement revised standards for early childhood learning.

The former would make a few major changes. Scoring that could elevate a school into the top A grade per student could come only if the student earned college credits simultaneously and it increases standards on the student growth component, while the system maintained its policy that students who score a 17 on the ACT, which is in the 35th percentile on the college readiness exam, would generate no points for the school.


GOP LA Senate willing to agree to NO defiance

Another round of debate over the tough love Louisiana’s State Bond Commission has had to dish out to New Orleans only clarified the rectitude of that action – even as some Republican politicians who should know better were ready to abandon that.

Last week, the SBC narrowly continued a request for the city’s Water and Sewerage Board – which actually is a hybrid state/local agency – to secure a line of credit. This initial step for a project is the most nebulous in the entire process, where approval carries no guarantee that a project even will more forward. Still, it must be secured in order for a project needing borrowing to proceed, which on two occasions now the SBC has failed to do.

The controversy began when city elected officials, as well as those of other agencies who boundaries follow the city, officially declared that they wouldn’t enforce, unless incident to something else, the state’s laws on abortions. Those performing an abortion face criminal penalties unless if done to save the life of the mother or unborn child or if the unborn child’s prognosis for survival after birth is zero.


Legislature must correct Court elections error

The questionable Louisiana Supreme Court decision that restored Shreveport Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins to the ballot this fall endangers election integrity and requires the Louisiana Legislature to put matters to rights as soon as convenient.

Last week, the Court narrowly overruled a pair of lower court rulings that disqualified Perkins from reelection. On the sworn affidavit attached to candidate qualification, Perkins answered the majority of questions falsely, most prominently that at that time he was registered to vote at his homestead, and statute states that false attestation on any of several matters disqualifies a candidate.

Yet the majority opinion by no party Chief Justice John Weimer, backed by Democrat Assoc. Justice Piper Griffin and Republican Assoc. Justices James Genovese and Will Crain, engaged in the most extreme verbal gymnastics to escape this. That argued that legislative intent was unclear, lending itself to judicial interpretation and because penalties didn’t appear attached to provisions except for those dealing with timely income tax filing and absence of campaign fines, the questions that Perkins knowingly flubbed didn’t count, because the process for presenting candidates for voter scrutiny should be as lenient as possible.