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Set LA gov field pushes Landry, Wilson to front

Qualifying for this fall’s Louisiana governor’s race went off as expected – predictably since to make a serious effort once must start campaigning months in advance of the due date. So, where do things stand?

Among the 16 candidates were a retread here and there among the several significant ones, the latter being Republicans state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, state Rep. Richard Nelson, Treasurer John Schroder, and past top gubernatorial appointee Stephen Waguespack; Democrat and recent cabinet member Shawn Wilson, and independent lawyer Hunter Lundy. They gained this distinction by having large enough campaign war chests – in Lundy’s case, mostly self-financed – with at least occasional media references to their candidacies.

Although clearly Landry by this metric is in a class of his own. Having spent millions already and with over $9 million available, that banked figure means Hewitt has in her account 3.8 percent of that total, Nelson has 3 percent, Schroder has 24 percent, Waguespack has 24.2 percent, Wilson has 6.5 percent, and Lundy has 23 percent. That is, all together the significant candidates have 84.5 percent of Landry’s total.


Against type, LA leads in one area of policy

It’s nice to see Louisiana out in front of state policy for once, courtesy of a legislator who has served less time than just about anybody else in Baton Rouge.

Fashionable, with good reason, is the listing of ways in which the state is behind the curve of many of its brethren. While its neighbors cut taxes in significant ways, put some brakes on spending growth prior to this year, and slap restraints on unaccountable bureaucracy in education and other areas, Louisiana made no progress in these areas, mainly because of an obstinate leftist throwback governor in Democrat John Bel Edwards and also weak-kneed so-called conservative leadership in the Legislature.

But the state has pioneered policy in restricting minors’ access to overly sexualized material. Act 436 by Republican state Sen. Heather Cloud, which received much attention and a begrudging assent from Edwards, has libraries create cataloguing and patron borrowing systems that give parents greater control over their children’s media consumption. While measures in several other states address operating funds for libraries as tools to gain compliance with procedures such as these, Louisiana’s is unique in as it leaves operating funds alone and instead would impair the borrowing ability of parish authorities if they don’t comply.


BC term limits resistance invites losing war

Amid the manufactured controversy over an expression of the people’s will in Bossier City to impose term limits on their elected officials, several of its city councilors are trying to win a battle that likely will cause them to lose a war where ultimately Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler picks up the win.

Trying to thwart the wishes of the citizens who organized and signed petitions are Republican Councilors Jeff Free, Vince Maggio, and David Montgomery, Democrat Bubba Williams, and no party Jeff Darby. All except Maggio never again could serve as councilors if the proposition installing a three-term limit succeeds. Along with that is a companion that limits the mayor to lifetime three terms as well.

These five voted down a request to add an agenda item to last week’s Council meeting that could have fulfilled one of the two compulsory Council actions in the wake of a successfully certified petition to amend the charter: a vote whether to make such amendments. Chandler sponsored that, but too late to make it on the agenda without a vote.


Strong LA gov canard distracts from real reforms

What a few candidates for Louisiana governor, as well as state politicians and the public must understand, is that any perception that the state’s chief executive has a lot of power that needs clipping really means curbing the formal powers of all of state government.

Because it is a stubborn fiction that Louisiana’s governor has a vast set of powers granted him by the Constitution. Instead, as the latest if a bit dated (2009) version of a long-running assessment of relative gubernatorial powers among the 50 states reveals, the Bayou State’s chief executive at best comes in among the middle of the pack. Among other things, term limits, widely dispersed executive powers with many out of his hands entirely, limited budgetary authority, and an elected judiciary circumscribe his ability to make policy in an extensive and unconstrained fashion.

Thus, when at a recent gubernatorial candidate forum Republicans state Rep. Richard Nelson, Treasurer John Schroder, and former gubernatorial chief of staff Stephen Waguespack all said they would try to circumscribe the power of the office, they traded on a canard. Nelson and Waguespack mentioned the state’s fiscal system that places too much emphasis on centralized revenue sources and redistribution to local governments, while Schroder targeted a related issue, the governor’s ability to veto state capital outlay funds to local governments as an enticement for legislator cooperation with his agenda.