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Bossier courthouse gang has rough political week

This week, Bossier Parish Republican Sheriff Julian Whittington went off the reservation that surely chagrins the rest of the parish’s courthouse gang – who then suffered another setback.

Normally, all of the parish’s elected officials plus GOP Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin and the other offices and power-wielding entities to which they make appointments act like one big happy family, chock full of familial and legacy relations and cross-appointments. And, up until now, tacit agreement reigned among the bunch that, despite his observed popularity among the parish’s public, Republican candidate for governor Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry would receive the silent treatment.

Landry got on the bad side particularly of the Police Jury when his office persisted in ensuring enforcement of statute against dual officeholding pertaining to the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District’s Executive Director Robert Berry. In 2013, the Police Jury appointed him as their representative to its governing board, yet months later he became its executive director simultaneously. Despite this, jurors reappointed him in 2018.


Senate obstinacy on gun bill typifies LA failure

In an all-too-familiar story, once again Louisiana looks to let itself get left behind as large swaths of the country move forward.

This time, it’s on the issue of concealed carry of handguns without a permit for most individuals. Buoyed by last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared firearm ownership a constitutional right that allowed citizens to carry concealed firearms for self-defense, allowing only reasonable state regulation to prevent their use otherwise, now more than half the states have instituted what has become termed “constitutional carry” laws of this nature, with almost all adopting these in the past dozen years.

But not Louisiana, even though Republican state Rep. Danny McCormick ever since his election annually has introduced a steady stream of legislation to bring this into being. And the Louisiana Senate has become the biggest obstacle even as it has progressed through the House over time. His first two attempts never got out of House committee but the next exited the House teetering on a two-thirds majority (realistically, pro-Second Amendment-in-words-only con man Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards would veto his if given a chance) only never to come to a Senate floor vote.


Do LA teacher pay raises right or not at all

If fiscal conservatives in the Louisiana Legislature bind themselves to using state dollars to boost educator salaries, they need to do it the right way.

As the 2023 Regular Session hurtles to a close next week, finally a majority consensus has appeared around this pay hike of $2,000 per teacher and $1,000 per staff included in the Minimum Foundation Program formula. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education must initiate the formula that goes into effect only if the Legislature ratifies it; if not ratified unchanged, the current formula is used.

BESE sent such a formula that has started its journey with Senate Education Committee approval. At present, the general appropriations bill HB 1 doesn’t contain a line item for this, but instead allocates the $197.7 million total to paying down unfunded accrued liabilities which would free up money for local districts that could be used for raises. The increased flexibility is desirable not only because it allows districts to set their own levels of raises but also relieves state taxpayers of a one-size-fits-all obligation that may not be sustainable with a deteriorating revenue picture forecast for at least the next three fiscal years.


Memorial Day, 2023

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Monday, May 29 being Memorial Day, I invite you to explore this link.