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LA right to decline doling out new cash benefit

Louisiana should pass on joining a pandemic-inspired cash payment program to lower-income families intended to provide a souped-up add-on for school-served meals when schools are out in the summer, because there’s a better way to do it.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced which states would participate in its Summer EBT program. Qualifying families – essentially those who already are eligible for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which can supply free meals for children of families starting at 130 percent of the federal poverty level and subsidized all the way up to 185 percent of FPL (for example, a single parent and school child earning before taxes no more than $36,482 annually) – receive $40 per child for three months.

Louisiana actually goes well beyond school meal program rules, which is run by the Department of Children and Family Services. A law passed last year has state taxpayers chipping in to waive the amount due from the families that qualify only for subsidization. Additionally, a number of schools serving high proportions of qualifying families can apply for the Community Eligibility Provision that considers all attendees eligible regardless of family income.


Landry, legislators mustn't let up against DEI

Advice to Republican Gov. Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Legislature when it comes to the state’s higher education institutions concerning the anti-Semitic Trojan Horse of diversity, equity, and inclusion policy and personnel: don’t trust them but make them earn your trust through well-designed legislation.

While DEI could be as innocuous and benign as ensuring laws are followed against well-defined discriminatory practices, in practice in academia it has become an insidious worldview that alleges people not of color who allegedly control government, business, and societal institutions use that power, whether consciously, allegedly to oppress all others through any practice, whether in law, that in terms of outcomes in the distribution of resources, whether tangible or monetary, generally leaves all others with relatively fewer that for redress demands policies to redistribute those resources to those others. Increasingly it has come under scrutiny for its demonizing of whites as oppressors by inclination solely by their racial identification, its efforts to grant preferential treatment to non-whites, and its propagation as foundational in educating across all disciplines starting from the moment a child begins schooling.

Landry and a number of legislators ran against allowing DEI as a worldview to infect educational institutions, and a number of returning legislators had backed, some publicly, a measure last year that would have made higher education institutions report spending on DEI that unfortunately didn’t pass. Their concerns are part of a larger trend among the states that have passed legislation to curtail DEI ideology’s propagation on campuses in their classrooms and administrations.


Session to shuffle multiple election fortunes

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry didn’t waste any time in proposing momentous changes to Louisiana’s electoral system that could be in place by February.

As expected, a day after his inauguration Landry called the Legislature into special session to deal with a federal district court request regarding a Louisiana case to redraw congressional district boundaries. The court gave the state until Jan. 30 to map out districts in line with its interpretation of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence that gives race preferential treatment among criteria for reapportionment. While the state has about a third of the population identifying as black, only one of six districts is majority-minority in resident composition.

While the political left sees that as a mandate to create two M/M districts, in reality the jurisprudence allows for a wider range of options that ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court may wish to make more narrow. To ensure best adherence to all traditional principles of reapportionment, the Legislature should alter one of the non-M/M districts into an opportunity district that places the white/black ratio of residents at about 1:1 (roughly 45 percent each), and if plaintiffs to the case that triggered the judicial intervention disagree, they can continue the litigation that means a final map may not be in place until 2026 elections.


Landry puts leftist business-as-usual on notice

That crash you heard was Republican Gov. Jeff Landry throwing a brick through the plate glass window of business-as-usual leftist populism infecting Louisiana public policy. And not a moment too soon.

Landry gave the state a head start in knowing some of his policy priorities of when projected inclement weather bumped up his inauguration a day early (although he would not officially take the reins for another 19 hours). In his subsequent speech, he made clear he would come after certain orthodoxies underpinning policy of his predecessor Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and allies.

His overall theme – Louisiana as home, but welcoming back those who had departed it for presumably greener pastures – pulled back the curtain on what was to come: leaving implied things were wrong with the state that could be fixed. He gave in the first part a paean to Louisianans, interspersed with hints of what was to come with assertions that government was not to “disenfranchise” people nor to be driven by divisive elite interests, and spoke of a need to “repair and reform” government.


Third time charmed to bury LA's liberal populism

Louisiana was at this same spot 16 years ago. We don’t need to return to it a third time.

There was much optimism then as Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal prepared to take the oath of office as governor. He had said a lot of great things in his campaign and swamped the field, with the promise that he could make a definitive break from the state’s dying corpse of a liberal populist political culture, unlike the outcome of the only previous semi-serious attempt, the governorship of Republican Buddy Roemer.

In retrospect, it was too much to expect. Jindal had won as much for his agenda as he had as a reaction to botched administration, as well as inferior policy-making, by Democrat Kathleen Blanco. And he did do as he said, making government smarter, as well as deliver on ethics and education (and to a lesser degree civil service) reform and on income tax cuts.