Baton Rouge

Monday, June 27, 2016

Y@ Speak: "still in the hole"

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 6:20 PM

This week: Irvin Mayfield had a breakfast, Baby Cakes should win by default, and Buddy & The Brow is gearing to be  the best buddy cop flick of 1981. Also: Baton Rouge and England explode simultaneously and the heat is strong enough to bend time.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Y@ Speak: New Orleans Pride

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 5:30 PM

While Congress is busy putting its thoughts and prayers to work, New Orleans celebrates Pride. Also: the short-term rental debate: Chapter 8,000, and the state Legislature melts into a terrible candle.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Once more, unto the breach?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Louisiana lawmakers have until midnight Thursday, June 23, to conclude the second special session of 2016. They have been meeting more or less continuously since Feb. 14, and by now they’re pretty much tired of looking at each other.

But their work is far from done, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who summoned them into both special sessions and is said to be considering yet another — yes, a third — if this one doesn’t meet his expectations.

The governor wants lawmakers to boost state revenue by $600 million in the current session. Most lawmakers, including many who support Edwards, say the state could get by with $300 million to $450 million. By either count, the state is still short.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Y@ Speak: hate won't win

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 5:30 PM

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Lawmakers' political games are hurting Louisiana

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 4:50 PM

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Like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, the leadership of the Louisiana House of Representatives has played childish political games as the state descends further into fiscal chaos. Evidence of this is overwhelming.

Since Day One of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ term, a handful of leading Republicans has blindly refused to consider reasonable revenue measures — yet they offer no real plan to cover the $2 billion deficit left by Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal. Some of those Republicans opposed Jindal’s fiscal policies on solid philosophical grounds; now they oppose Edwards’ fiscal cures simply because he’s a Democrat. They are shameless.

Further evidence of their irresponsibility came last week. House Speaker Taylor Barras, a Republican from New Iberia, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neil Abramson, a Democrat from New Orleans who is in league with the GOP’s “Gang of No,” strained credulity in preventing a vote on the so-called Capital Outlay budget before the annual session adjourned. Both said the measure as approved by the Senate had unspecified “technical” defects, yet they did nothing with the bill for the final five days of the session. Abramson literally hid from his colleagues to avoid bringing up the bill for a vote. Then, one day after the regular session ended (on the first morning of the special session), Abramson’s committee approved the measure in an hour — with millions more for projects in Abramson’s district. He blamed committee staffers for that “technical” error.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Y@ Speak: hurricane season

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 5:35 PM

As the Louisiana Legislature turns into "that season of an animated series they had to finish in Korea"-level collapse, we brace for the beginnings of hurricane season, a time to horde water and chips like we're all your prepper uncle.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Beatings will continue until ...

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards has called state lawmakers into a second special session after the regular session ends June 6.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards has called state lawmakers into a second special session after the regular session ends June 6.

In calling state lawmakers back into yet another special session just 30 minutes after the annual regular session adjourns June 6, Gov. John Bel Edwards seems to have adopted the jocular admonition, “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”

The beatings, in this case, are the painful choices that legislators must make these days: raise taxes or cut critical (and popular) programs such as public hospitals and TOPS college scholarships. Edwards is determined to keep them in session until they improve the state’s fiscal morale by raising taxes.

The governor has been accused of holding the beloved TOPS program hostage to get lawmakers to raise taxes, and that’s a fair criticism. It’s also an effective political strategy. Let’s face it, nobody wants to raise taxes for better prisons. But if people think their kids are going to lose their shot at a TOPS scholarship — watch out.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Louisiana's hate crime law, which already includes police, now includes police. Again.

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 6:05 PM

The first-ever "Blue Lives Matter" bill just became law. Louisiana was the first state to push and successfully sign into law a measure adding first responders (police officers, EMS and firefighters) as a protected class under the state's hate crime law. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the measure from state Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, today.

The state's hate crime laws strengthen penalties for criminal offenses targeting a person or group's "actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization." In the state's definition, "organization" also means "any entity or unit of federal, state, or local government" — which covers police officers. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Attorney General Jeff Landry vs. Gov. John Bel Edwards on LGBT discrimination, transgender issues

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards: "Folks running for office seem to forget that we have an obligation to protect all of our citizens."
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards: "Folks running for office seem to forget that we have an obligation to protect all of our citizens."

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, squaring against Gov. John Bel Edwards once again, says the state doesn't have to comply with an executive order protecting LGBT state workers and contractors from discrimination. Landry filed his opinion the same day the Louisiana Senate failed to pass LGBT nondiscrimination laws in the workplace — by a vote of a mere 8 yeas to 25 nays.

Edwards' order, the first statewide measure protecting transgender people in the state, prohibits discrimination on the "basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age," and extends that protection in services provided by state agencies.

Landry's opinion says "there is no constitutional or statutory provision in Louisiana banning discrimination on the basis of 'gender identity'" and that Edwards has overstepped his constitutional authority "by attempting to create new legislation in violation of the separation of powers."

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Y@ Speak: "satire"

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Last week delivered us a crash course in nonapologies, from state Rep. Kenneth "It Was Satire" Havard's unapologetic sexism to Bayou Boogaloo's Fence-pot Dome Scandal (can we start that instead of adding "gate" to any minor controversy). Also this week: ... what if termites adapted to eat people?

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