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Specious argumentation shouldn't stop convention

House of Representatives debate over a bill to call a limited constitutional convention in Louisiana exposed the shoddy, illogical, and evidence-free arguments against it, hopefully propelling it to Senate passage and enactment.

HB 800 by Republican state Rep. Beau Beaullieu, in its current form, would convene legislators plus 27 gubernatorial appointees to meet in committees or as one starting as early as May 30 to review what eligible portions of the constitution should be converted into statute. No later than Aug. 1 the entire convention would begin review of the committees’ recommendations with any of these sent forth as a proposition for voter approval accepted by the convention no later than Aug. 15. Separate majorities of representatives, senators, and gubernatorial appointees would have to coalesce for this forwarding. Articles dealing with citizen rights, power distribution, the legislative branch, the executive branch, judges, district attorneys, sheriffs, tax collection, bond funding, the Budget Stabilization Fund, the homestead exemption, state employee rights, retirement matters, and existence of the Southern University System would be off limits to transfer out.

It passed the House 75-27, surpassing the two-thirds supermajority required, with the only GOP member present state Rep. Joe Stagni in opposition but with Democrat state Reps. Roy Daryl Adams, Chad Brown, Robby Carter, and Dustin Miller in favor, with Miller being the only black male among them while all other black Democrats plus the two white Democrat females were against, among those present. Even if badly outnumbered, the opposition went down spewing a lot of hot air.


Signs point to single M/M map for LA in 2024

With the resurrection of Louisiana’s 2022 congressional map or something extremely close to it looming, it’s time for the desperation heaves from special interests vying to bolster Democrats’ chances in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Over the past week or so backers of a two majority/minority lineup, out of six total districts, in the state have a pair of defeats, beginning with the declaration by the three-judge panel for Callais v. Landry trying the map created earlier this year that contains two M/M districts that this violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Then these supporters were told the Legislature will get first crack at drawing a new map while a parallel track would operate with parties submitting maps from which the panel could choose if the Legislature didn’t act by adjournment Jun. 3.

The latter setback added insult to injury. As legislative rules don’t permit the chambers to take up a bill this late – the deadline for introduction was over two months ago and substitution rules demand a related bill already introduced present but with the withdrawal of the only one filed dealing with congressional reapportionment none now exist – the Legislature really can’t act, guaranteeing a court-drawn map. And the way the decision was made, it all but guarantees a single M/M map would be chosen by the panel that dramatically reduces chances of Democrats to win another seat among the state’s delegation.


New SC map may provoke rare incumbent challenge

The third time wasn’t the charm for Republican Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jeff Cox, but don’t count him out entirely for career advancement in a couple of years.

Late last year, the Bossier Parish-based Cox began campaigning in earnest for the Second District of the Louisiana Supreme Court, as incumbent GOP Assoc. Justice Scott Chrichton faced retirement at the end of this year. He loaned himself $250,000 and spent nearly $16,000 on mailing out postcards to the district as a soft introduction to his campaign during the Christmas season.

However, one guy that won’t be getting holidays greetings from Cox in the future will be Republican Gov. Jeff Landry. Newly in office, Landry immediately stumped for reapportionment of the Court not only to bring roughly uniform population numbers to each district – the map then used had wildly differing amounts in each district, although this is not a legal nor constitutional violation – but to create two majority-minority districts. While nothing juridically required that – even as special interests were suing the state to produce this outcome that under current jurisprudence had little chance of success but which would cost the state to defend – theoretically it would give the state ammunition to have the consent decree in Chisom v. Roemer lifted, another longtime goal of Landry’s currently awaiting a U.S. Fifth Circuit appellate court hearing.


Landry must overcome resistance to big changes

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry is finding tricky navigating as he attempts to revolutionize Louisiana government.

Landry came into office on the back of a big election win and with a healthy supermajority of GOP legislators joining him. The playbook for chief executives under these conditions calls for striking while the iron is hot, especially at the start of a term in office.

His ambitious agenda reflected this. A special legislative session of his calling definitively put his imprint of increased accountability and responsibility onto criminal justice policy. Now a month from adjourning, the regular session already has sent to his desk some regulatory reforms for property insurance, with the issues of high premiums and reduced availability nagging ratepayers for years, with more on the way.