Commentary: Bipartisan agreement on criminal justice reform

Locking up non-violent offenders is not tough on crime. It's tough on taxpayers
There are few truly bipartisan issues in Louisiana, but the need for criminal justice reform is one of them. By any metric of any study, America is the most lock-'em-up nation in the world, and Louisiana is the most lock-'em-up state.

Commentary: Putting "sanctuary cities" on ICE

The latest attempt to turn "sanctuary" cities into a political cudgel backfires
Last week, President Donald Trump's Department of Homeland Security put the brakes on its three-week-old policy of issuing weekly reports calling out so-called "sanctuary cities" — after municipalities on the lists and immigration advocates criticized the data involved. It was the latest attempt to turn "sanctuary cities" into a political cudgel.

Commentary: Legislative forecast? More gridlock

State lawmakers return to Baton Rouge this week for an annual session that by law must focus mostly but not exclusively on fiscal matters. This year's session, like most in recent memory, seems destined to be marked by partisan squabbles over the state's taxing and spending policies.

Commentary: Selling out our privacy

Your internet provider can track, compile and sell your browsing history
While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama's administration.

Commentary: A busy political season

It's entirely possible the next mayor's name hasn't even been mentioned yet
It's entirely possible that the next mayor's name hasn't even been mentioned yet. Election season is never far away in New Orleans.

Commentary: On things that "suck"

Republican health care plan could increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million
"I don't mean any disrespect, but Obamacare sucks," said U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy last fall, back when he was making folksy commercials to promote his Senate candidacy. Of course, not having health insurance sucks, too.

Commentary: Moving forward, mostly

Forward New Orleans finds room for improvement
Last week, a coalition of local groups known as Forward New Orleans (FNO) released its latest progress report on 11 public policy initiatives, with the aim of gauging how well city officials have kept their campaign promises since their elections in 2014. The results were mostly positive, reflecting both how far the city has come since the 2010 municipal elections and how far we still have to go.

Commentary: Carnival's choose your own adventure

Mardi Gras, as always, is what you make of it
Mardi Gras 2017 likely will be remembered for two things: the unseasonably warm weather, which made watching parades and costuming a comfortable (if humid) affair; and a traffic-related tragedy on the Endymion parade route, which occurred even as city officials beefed up French Quarter security — in part to prevent such an incident on pedestrian-packed Bourbon Street.   First, the weather.

Commentary: What 'diversity' means

Diversity is good for business, particularly when it comes to welcoming all
If you were downtown in the days before or during the recent NBA All-Star Game, you probably saw the giant mural on the side of Benson Tower. It was a portrait of Pelicans star Anthony Davis with one word: EQUALITY.

Commentary: Troy Brown got off easy

If domestic abuse isn't a bipartisan issue, what is? Despite two domestic abuse arrests in the last 15 months — and two convictions on misdemeanor charges related to those arrests — state Sen. Troy Brown refused to step down until Thursday, Feb. 16.

Commentary: It's Carnival time!

Best advice? Don't break any laws at Mardi Gras
Every year, GAMBIT reviews Mardi Gras rules, laws and customs — for veteran Carnival-goers and newbies alike. This year, there's a big change that affects just about everyone celebrating on the East Bank of New Orleans: The first weekend of Carnival festivities (this year, Feb. 17-19), traditionally a warm-up to the big weekend and Fat Tuesday (Feb. 28), also will see the NBA All-Star Game in the Smoothie King Center on Feb. 19, with attendant events taking place all weekend long.

Commentary: A bludgeon of a policy

Trump made clear the hasty implementation of the immigration ban was a feature rather than a flaw
President Donald Trump's executive order imposing an immediate rewrite of U.S. immigration law produced expected results: chaos, protests and loud cheers from his base. Trump made clear the hasty implementation was a feature rather than a flaw: "If the ban were announced with a one-week notice," he tweeted, "the 'bad' would rush into our country during that week.


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