John Bel Edwards

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Editorial: Getting smart — and honest — about crime in Louisiana

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 11:27 AM

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 2009. - CREATIVE COMMONS/MSPPMOORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/msppmoore
  • The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 2009.

By any metric, there are too many nonviolent people in Louisiana jails — and putting them there has not reduced our state’s violent crime rate in any measurable way. We have roughly the same rate of violence as our neighboring states; we just incarcerate more nonviolent offenders. If anything, putting too many nonviolent offenders in jail often turns them into potentially violent offenders after they are released. Think about that as you ponder one more statistic: 95 percent of the people in jail in Louisiana will be released at some point.

Study after study shows America imprisons more of its citizens per capita than any other industrialized country, and Louisiana imprisons more of its citizens than any other state. What we’ve been doing clearly hasn’t worked.

One of the few unqualified successes of the 2017 legislative session was a serious, bipartisan effort to enact a package of criminal justice reform bills. The goal — and it’s a comparatively modest one — is to shrink Louisiana’s nonviolent prison population by 10 percent over the next decade. 

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Gov. John Bel Edwards' office organizing donation drive to help Puerto Rico: how you can help

Posted By on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. - COURTESY PUERTO RICO NATIONAL GUARD
  • Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is organizing a donation drive to help the people of Puerto Rico, who are just starting to recover from Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that flooded the island and knocked out primary infrastructure.

The only donations being accepted are diapers, non-perishable baby formula, baby wipes, baby bottles and nipples and feminine hygiene products. In Orleans, donations can be made at 2218 Elysian Fields Ave.; 5403 Read Blvd.; and 2000 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. In Jefferson, donations can be made at 920 David Drive in Metairie and 5001 Westbank Expressway in Marrero. There are dropoff locations in every parish; a complete list of collection sites can be found here.

The Louisiana Army National Guard will gather items and transport them to Puerto Rico. The drive runs through Oct. 11, and may be extended.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cassidy vs. Sanders headed to CNN Sept. 25

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN. - PHOTOS BY AFGE & GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN.

CNN will air a "town hall" Monday, Sept. 25 with U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham debating Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar over proposed health care legislation.

Anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will moderate the 90-minute event, aired live at 8 p.m.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel: 'Bill Cassidy just lied right to my face'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 10:23 PM


U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy got lots of publicity in the last few months for saying any GOP health care plan would have to pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test" — a term he coined after talking with the late night talk show host, whose son needed open-heart surgery shortly after birth. Cassidy, a physician, promised Kimmel and others that any Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act would include coverage for all; no discrimination for pre-existing conditions; lower premiums for families; and no lifetime caps on coverage.

The new Graham-Cassidy health care bill, unveiled this week, does none of these things, as many medical groups have pointed out — as have Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Health Secretary Rebekah Gee, who wrote letters objecting to the proposed legislation. Kimmel chimed in tonight on his talk show, saying, "Bill Cassidy just lied to my face."
"Before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I'm politicizing my son's health problems, I want you to know: I am politicizing my son's health problems. Because I have to."
"There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you," Kimmel concluded. "It's a lie detector test, and you're welcome to stop by the studio and take it any time."

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Editorial: After Charlottesville

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Watching the images and hearing the words out of Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend was depressing, sickening, infuriating — and necessary. Necessary because the country got a good look at the people who call themselves the “alt-right,” which is their sanitized term for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klansmen and other haters who feel emboldened in America today. It’s also necessary because some of them are planning similar rallies in Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks.

Some of the malefactors who caused harm in Charlottesville also were in New Orleans during the weeks surrounding the hotly contested removal of four Confederate monuments. It’s easy to say New Orleans was lucky it didn’t have the chaos and death that marked Charlottesville, but it was more than luck. It was planning.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Edwards, Landrieu, other officials inspect flood damage in Treme

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:37 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards, center, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu toured a flooding spot in Treme this afternoon.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards, center, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu toured a flooding spot in Treme this afternoon.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, various state senators and representatives, along with a few City Councilmembers, stopped at Willie Mae's Scotch House in Treme this afternoon to discuss the weekend's flood.

Landrieu, who arrived in town this morning from Aspen, Colorado, where he was attending a security conference, toured the restaurant with owner Kerry Seaton Stewart and did a walk-through of a flooded apartment across the street, where a drum kit and a keyboard were among the things that seemed to have taken on water.

"You never know what Mother Nature is gonna throw at you," Edwards said, adding that the state was still assessing the situation to determine whether formal emergency aid would be requested. "We're not bashful about asking for assistance when it's needed," he added.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

John Bel Edwards' tactical pivot

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Less than a month after throwing down a fiscal gauntlet to House Republican leaders, Gov. John Bel Edwards has tacked toward Louisiana business leaders in an effort to address the so-called “fiscal cliff” of 2018 — and possibly start a meaningful statewide conversation about long-term tax and budget reform.

That’s a significant — and tactical — pivot by the governor. The stakes are high, both fiscally and politically.

The “cliff” is approximately $1.2 billion in temporary taxes set to expire on June 30, 2018. If that money is not replaced, lawmakers (and Edwards) will have to slash the state budget — mostly in higher education and health care, but no services will be immune from cuts. For now, Edwards and House Republican leaders are stalemated over how to proceed.

On Tuesday (Aug. 8), Edwards will meet with about two dozen business leaders from across the state to discuss where to go from here. The governor has his sights set on a statewide listening tour, which could make Tuesday’s meeting the launch of a campaign for fiscal reform.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Gov. Edwards calls conservatives' bluff

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 1:39 PM

From left, House speaker Taylor Barras, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate president John Alario. - PHOTO BY SARAH GAMARD
  • From left, House speaker Taylor Barras, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate president John Alario.

If you talk to conservative state lawmakers and business leaders in Louisiana, they’ll tell you there’s no “appetite” for fiscal reform. They all know what fiscal reform looks like, they just don’t see a way to get from where Louisiana is today to where it needs to be in the future, or even next year.

Gov. John Bel Edwards blames House Republicans, who have blunted his efforts to raise taxes. In fairness, the governor also balked at reforms proposed last November by a nonpartisan task force that studied tax policy for almost a year. Instead of backing the task force’s recommendations, Edwards floated an idea that struck many as coming out of left field: a commercial activity tax, or CAT. That idea went nowhere fast.
On the other hand, the GOP-led House failed to offer a reasonable alternative of its own, other than significant cuts this year and draconian cuts next year. Edwards and the Senate, which generally sides with the governor on fiscal issues, tamped down the House plan this year — but Louisiana’s long-range prospects remain untenable.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Edwards joins bipartisan group of governors saying Senate should reject repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 4:12 PM

President Donald Trump said today, "Let Obamacare fail; it'll be a lot easier." - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • President Donald Trump said today, "Let Obamacare fail; it'll be a lot easier."

The Senate health care replacement for the Affordable Care Act may have collapsed (though Congressional GOP leaders and President Donald Trump have expressed support for "just repeal" rather than "repeal and replace"), but a bipartisan group of governors — including Gov. John Bel Edwards — has issued a statement calling for the repeal's rejection.

"The Senate should immediately reject efforts to 'repeal' the current system and replace sometime later," the statement reads. "This could leave millions of Americans without coverage. The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets."

Since Edwards implemented the federal Medicaid expansion in Louisiana one year ago, more than 400,000 Louisianans have gotten health care. The repeal would leave them in limbo. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was set to reveal its analysis of the bill yesterday, but did not do so.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Senate bill would cut health care to 'hundreds of thousands' on Medicaid in Louisiana

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.

As the U.S. Senate mulls a vote on the GOP's recently released bill designed to gut the Affordable Care Act, Louisiana officials and medical groups are urging senators to consider the potentially devastating impact it could have to people relying on Medicaid's expansion in the state.

In July 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards approved Medicaid's expansion to include coverage for more than 433,000 people in the state, including more than 100,000 receiving preventive cancer treatment and more than 15,000 women who have received breast cancer screenings. More than 150 people were diagnosed with colon cancer after screenings made possible through recent Medicaid coverage.

Today's report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the Senate's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" would increase the number of uninsured people in the U.S. by 22 million while reducing the federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017-2026 — mostly by cutting spending on Medicaid, which would decline in 2026 by 26 percent compared to projections based on current law. Medicaid would lose more than $770 billion by 2026.

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