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   By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    April 23, 2019    |    Issue 184   |    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |     

Your Roll Call

A look at the final bills that were filed before the deadline… Louisiana Budget Project’s Davante Lewis talks session… A look back at the history of seersucker, along with a few presidential anecdotes… two consultants and two Raineys have been spotted at the White House… Coach O visits the Capitol… Familiar face is the new chief of staff for LSU President F. King Alexander… 

Capitoland Countdown

44 days until sine die… 117 days until qualifying opens... 174 days until the primary elections... 219 days until the runoff elections... 279 days left in the term…


Final Bill Review

Last Wednesday marked the final filing deadline for lawmakers who want to have bills considered this session. The day carries a welcome relief for some. According to Assistant House Clerk Ron Smith, the deadline is truly final, with no leeway in the House rules or parliamentary procedure for members to bring forward new instruments after the date. 

According to a count from the AP’s Melinda Deslatte, a total of 846 bills were filed this session; 237 of which originated in the Senate and 609 that were authored by House members. 

Since we have been tracking bills filed each week in the Tracker, here is the final list of some of the bills that members got on the docket right before the deadline…

HB599 by House Majority Leader Lance Harris: “Reduces the rate of the .45% state sales and use tax levy over a certain period of time” 

HB600 by Rep. Kirk Talbot: “Levies a state tax on the net gaming proceeds of fantasy sports contests, and authorizes a fee for issuance of certain licenses or permits” 

HB603 by Rep. John Stefanski: “Exempts certain business utilities from state sales and use taxes”

HB605 by Rep. Barry Ivey: “Excludes therapeutic marijuana from state and local sales and use taxes”  

HB609 by Rep. Julie Stokes: “Provides with respect to the exclusions and exemptions applicable to sales and use tax.” 

HB610 by Rep. Blake Miguez: “Dedicates certain sales and use taxes” 

SB228 by Judiciary C Chair Dan Claitor: “Provides individual income tax credits for the purchase and installation of residential water saving equipment” 

SB235 by Revenue and Fiscal Affair Chair J.P. Morrell: “Repeals unused tax credits” 

SB237 by Sen. Yvonne Colomb: “Provides relative to certain tax increment financing districts” 

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HDA Client Sasol To Sponsor 7th Annual SEED Center 

Business Incubator Pitch Competition Thursday

As Sasol progresses through the commissioning phase of its world-scale petrochemical complex in Louisiana, the company is also working in its community to help build a better Southwest Louisiana for its neighbors. As part of Sasol’s commitment to building local business, the company sponsors the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center’s annual Business Incubator Pitch Competition. This year’s competition will be held April 25.

The competition awards over $65,000 in cash and prizes to entrepreneurs, and a $5,000 grand prize to the winners. Many residents in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes applied for a chance to pitch their business and win before registration closed April 9. This week, they’ll compete.

Adrian Wallace serves as the Executive Director of the SEED Center Business Incubator. The SEED Center endeavors to continue to build and enhance its programming and resources to build a sustainable and creative entrepreneurial culture in Southwest Louisiana. The purpose of the Sasol-sponsored business pitch competition is to raise awareness about the Business Incubator, SEED Center and the many resources it offers to entrepreneurs.

Hear Adrian's story.

Learn more about Sasol’s efforts to build community, careers and local business at 


LBP’s Davante Lewis

LaPolitics: What are the biggest issues that Budget Project is currently tracking at this point in session?  

Louisiana Budget Project’s Davante Lewis: I think our biggest issues will be HB422 by Rep. Royce Duplessis, that will give local government and local economies the right to make their own local policies, including minimum wage, paid leave, sick time and employee rights. I think it is one of the biggest bills for us. We also have Sen. (J.P.) Morrell’s paid leave bill to finally bring some relief. We have a great coalition with the Louisiana First Coalition. Of course, their is the constitutional amendment on the minimum wage by Sen. (Troy) Carter.We also have some small higher ed bills that we are working on, such as the one by Rep. (Julie) Emerson, HB423, that would not allow the occupational licensing boards the right to deny a license based off of student loan debt. That is going to be some of our big, heavy issues this session, and everything tax related because we’re a budget a tax organization. 

 Speaking of which, we’ve seen a fair amount of tax bills filed. Going into this session, did you foresee that this many revenue instruments would be on the docket?

No. I think we thought there might be a little bit of a quiet period, especially after the last eight years of this tax and budget fight. So it is a little interesting to see that people want to relive the fight that we’ve had going on for the last decade. But hopefully, none of them will get traction and we actually get the meaningful tax reform that we should do, things like centralized sales tax and getting rid of the Fed deduction. We want to move some of those bills forward and leave those sales tax bills alone. 

A big issue for you guys this term has been Medicaid Expansion. We’ve got two bills coming up to address what would happen if the law would be struck down in court. Where is the budget project on these bills? 

One, we think the attorney general should not have put us in this place. We should have not been in the lawsuit and we probably should revoke Louisiana from the lawsuit. We want, of course, to continue Medicaid Expansion, we want to see things such as preexisting conditions stay, we want to see children stay on health insurance until 26. Both of these bills are attempting to do that but we are not sure if they are strong enough. We think the best option is to have attorney general get Louisiana out of the lawsuit. However, we see the courts uphold the ACA rather than overturn it. 

(Check back with LaPolitics Weekly for the latest on on LBP’s new projects and plans for the fall elections) 


Don’t Be a Sucker, Wear Seersucker 

With the passage of the Easter holiday, seersucker suits and skirts and shorts are again making springtime appearances in the marbled corridors of power of Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C.

While seersucker may be a modern fashion statement, the history is rooted in the practicality of the fabric. According to National Public Radio, the traditional blue and white weave draws its name from the Persian words for "milk and sugar,” a homage to the cloth’s color and texture.

In 1909, a New Orleans tailor, Joseph Haspel Sr., began making suits out of the lightweight cloth, knowing that it would provide some welcome relief for his consumers in the oppressive Louisiana heat.

By the 1930s, then-Gov. Huey Long, an ardent campaigner who enjoyed spending the majority of his time out on the stump, had adopted seersucker as a wardrobe hallmark. In Huey Long Invades New Orleans, author Gary Boulard writes about how the governor’s suits were often rumpled, sweat-stained and covered with flecks of dirt as he barnstormed rural parishes.

As the 20th century progressed, seersucker grew in popularity in the nation’s capital as well.. Since Washington, D.C., always experienced humid summers by virtue of being built over a swamp, seersucker was a mainstay on Capitol Hill as well. According to Haspel’s, every president since Calvin Coolidge has worn their suits. Historian Robert Dallek writes that as a young congressman, John F. Kennedy often appeared for floor votes in a rumpled seersucker jacket. 

The seersucker slowly faded out of Congress until 1996, when then-U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi started the tradition of an official seersucker day. Lott, then the upper chamber’s majority leader, told members to wear their seersucker on a particularly hot Thursday in June. 

When speaking to reporters about why he created “seersucker Thursday,” Lott said that he wanted to show that “the Senate isn’t just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and — in the case of men — red or blue ties.”  

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California started leading the chamber’s female members in observance of “seersucker Thursday” in 2004. The tradition was discontinued by Congress in 2012, but U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy led the efforts to reauthorize the official designation in 2014.

According to Cassidy’s office, this year’s official seersucker day on Capitol Hill is set for Thursday, June 13. 

S P O T T E D !

—Consultant Lionel Rainey III and his son, Lionel Rainey IV, were seen on the South Lawn of the White House Monday afternoon, participating in the annual easter egg hunt hosted by President Donald Trump and the First Family. 

—Consultant Brent Littlefield, who handles Attorney General Jeff Landry’s campaign work, was seen at the commander-in-chief’s easter egg hunt as well. 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham was seen in Denham Springs Easter Sunday, attending services at the First United Pentecostal Church. 

Abraham was also spotted in Metairie last Thursday, stopping by a crawfish boil and easter egg hunt hosted by car dealer (and 2019 Washington Mardi Gras King) Ray Brandt

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and House Speaker Taylor Barras were seen comparing arm casts and swapping injury stories during the senator’s visit to the Capitol. 

Cassidy was seen visiting with Reps. Katrina Jackson and Rick Edmonds during his visit to the Capitol as well. 

—Rep. Joe Marino was one of the may lawmakers seen visiting with LSU President F. King Alexander and football coach Ed Orgeron during LSU Day at the Capitol. Hopefully, Coach O will be returning to the Capitol next year to receive a legislative commendation for winning the National Championship…

—A series of billboards have appeared in Baton Rouge, thanking members of the House Transportation Committee for their votes against HCR4, the proposed changes to the laws around the massive signs. 

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S T A F F   S H I F T S 

Ashley Arceneaux has been named as the new chief of staff to LSU President F. King Alexander. Arceneaux has been the university’s director of presidential and policy communications since 2014. 

P O L I T I C A L   C H A T T E R

—Today is Tulane University’s Day at the Capitol. Keep your eyes out for some green and blue and a few chants of “Roll Wave” and “A One, A Two, A Helluva Hullabaloo.” 

—Plaquemines Parish will be having their annual legislative reception at the Pentagon Barracks this evening at 5:00 p.m. 

—Sen. Jay Luneau is recognizing the work done by Rapides Regional Medical Center in saving the life of one of his constituents, Ms. Janet Kelly

@MelindaDeslatte: “Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs advances @JPMorrell bill seeking to exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales tax. Similar bill got out of committee two years ago, only to stall because of its cost. #lalege” 

—Senate Education Chair Blade Morrish will be speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club at their weekly luncheon next Monday. 

—MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Republican Legislative Delegation has scheduled their annual bash, Elephant Stomp, for Monday, May 13 at L’Auberge in Baton Rouge. 

—The state Democratic Party has scheduled their True Blue Gala for the evening of June 15 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans. 

—HBCU Day at the Capitol is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24. 

—Democrat Charlie Greer, who is challenging Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain this fall, has unveiled his official campaign website and Facebook page. 

Pre-orders are being accepted for Bob Mann’s latest book, Becoming Ronald Reagan: The Rise of a Conservative Icon

N E W S   S H A P I N G   O U R   P O L I T I C S

The Advocate: “In a hardball move against the hospitality industry, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell took her fight for tourism tax dollars to the Louisiana Legislature Monday, with members of her administration testifying in favor of a series of bills to redirect hotel taxes and other funds towards city infrastructure.” 

The Times-Pic: “While still mum on his political future, Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni continued raising and spending campaign money during the first quarter of 2019, according to his latest finance report. Two confirmed candidates for the job, Cynthia Lee-Sheng and John Young, far outpaced him.” 

The AP: “The Louisiana State Police on Monday revealed an extraordinary security breach at the Governor’s Mansion, saying they had arrested a man last week who trespassed into the building and damaged property before falling asleep on a couch.” 

—Catch Jim Beam’s latest political analysis. This week, the Dean of the Capitol Press corps writes about constitutional amendments and issues that will be on the fall ballot. 

B E L T W A Y   B E A T

—While Congress was on recess last week, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy visited a facility in Arizona that is testing construction options for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

—Minority Whip Steve Scalise spent part of his recess leading a delegation of House members to an offshore oil rig on the Louisiana coast, allowing his fellow lawmakers to see the production firsthand. 

Scalise’s office has also unveiled their online tracker for the Whip’s discharge petition for the Born Again Survivors Act. 

—Upon release of the New Orleans Saints’ 2019, schedule, Assistant Majority Whip Cedric Richmond tweeted out his prediction for another black and gold Super Bowl victory. 

—Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson testified before the House Appropriations’ Defense Subcommittee on the need for funding at Barksdale Air Force Base and Fort Polk. 

—“We need to prepare for 2036, not 1986.” —hear Congressman Garret Graves on the groundbreaking for the Comite River Diversion Canal. 


In Last Week’s LaPolitics Weekly

—Will John Alario be on the ballot in this fall? 

—Breakdown of the hot political topics in Westwego 

—Will there be another Alario running in Jefferson Parish? 

—Could Bocephus (Hank Williams Jr.) be visiting the Capitol soon? 

—A breakdown of the latest FEC reports for the Bayou State’s congressional delegation 

—A look back at Jimmie Noe, Louisiana’s broadcasting governor 

Walt Leger talks his next step after this term 

—Two New Orleans-area House races lead off Inside The Rails 

—The governor jokes about sneaking up on people in They Said It! 

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A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates

Oil & Natural Gas Industry Day 

Join industry leaders, elected officials and hundreds of industry supporters at 2019 Oil & Natural Gas Industry Day on Wednesday, May 1 to show your support for Louisiana’s most important economic driver.

The featured speakers for this year’s event will be the 2019 gubernatorial candidates, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, Congressman Ralph Abraham and Mr. Eddie Rispone, as well as Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove. Each will share their vision for the future of the industry in Louisiana and solutions to current barriers to growth.

This event is presented by the Grow Louisiana Coalition in partnership with the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Consumer Energy Alliance. It will be at A.Z. Young Park at the Louisiana State Capitol. Free lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 1 p.m. There is free parking at Hollywood Casino with a shuttle service to and from the event. 

Don’t miss your chance to stand up for Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry. RSVP today:

# H B D ,   T R A C K E R S !

—Tuesday, April 23: Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill

—Wednesday, April 24: Rep. Malinda Brumfield-White, Ian Paul Auzenne and Darren Gauthier

—Thursday, April 15:Sen. Neil Riser, Miss Eva Kemp, nephew Jace LeJeune and Lawrence Sisung

—Friday, April 26: First Lady Melania Trump, Bo Staples and Ben Huxen

—Saturday, April 27: Tina Vanichchagorn and Michelle Shirley

—Sunday, April 28: Rep. Patricia Smith, Tom Clark and Nelson Hellwig

—Monday, April 29: Baton Rouge Councilman Matt Watson, compliance pro Jimmy Burland and Denice Comeaux Skinner

P I T T E R   P A T T E R

—Consultant Lionel Rainey III and his wife, Ashley, welcomed their second child, Asher Paul Rainey at 5:43 p.m. on Good Friday. According to his proud poppa, baby Asher is happy and healthy, resting at home with his mother. Our congratulations to the Rainey family! 

Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it.

We want to know about your special day.

Send those dates to

Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker



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