The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

   By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    April 30, 2019    |    Issue 185   |    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |     

Your Roll Call

A pay raise could be on the horizon for local officials and judges… Louisiana Power Coalition’s Peter Robins-Brown talks redistricting and local control… A look back at the LSU President called “Jingle Money”… John Bel Edwards and Karl Malone have been spotted…New editor takes over at The Shreveport Times… Donald Trump and Foster Campbell are looking to fill their war chests…

Capitoland Countdown

37 days until sine die… 110 days until qualifying opens… 167 days until the primary elections… 212 days until the runoff elections… 272 days left in the term…


Pay Raises Could Be Up for Judges, Locals

While the proposed pay raise for teachers and school support personnel has been a prominent topic of discussion in Capitoland, the Senate Judiciary A Committee easily advanced legislation Tuesday morning that could set in motion a long-anticipated salary increase for the Bayou State’s judges, sheriffs and some local elected officials. 

SB27 by Commerce Chair Danny Martiny would increase the current pay for state judges by 2.5 percent for the next five consecutive years. The Jefferson Parish Republican told the committee that he initially wanted to bring the bill last year, but deferred because of the ongoing budget debate and looming threat of a fiscal cliff. 

While Martiny’s bill strictly addresses just the judges, other local officials would stand to benefit as well. All 64 parish sheriffs, several parish presidents, clerks of court and assessors use the judicial salary as their benchmark for their paydays as well. 

“We supported this bill because for decades it has been the vehicle for the sheriffs’ pay plan,” said Louisiana Sheriffs Association Executive Director Mike Ranatza. He added that some of the funding would also help fund continuing education programs for the state’s top cops, including the successful Sheriff’s Executive Management Institute. 

“As a former parish president, I see it as getting a pay raise based off the cost of living,” added Police Jury Association President Guy Cormier.

Martiny’s bill received no objection during the hearing and next advances to the full Senate for consideration. 

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2019 marks the centennial anniversary for the Louisiana REALTORS®. In the 100 years since the founding of the organization, its membership has grown to approximately 14,500 dedicated and knowledgeable real estate professionals and has remained committed to representing REALTORS® on important real estate-related issues, creating professional development opportunities and providing other unique and focused services. 

On Tuesday, April 25th, 2019, the Senate and House both passed resolutions commending and congratulating the officers and membership of Louisiana REALTORS® upon the celebration of our centennial anniversary.

Louisiana REALTORS® is a member-based trade association established to assist its members in the business of real estate in Louisiana.  Louisiana REALTORS® represents its membership on important real estate related issues to state and federal government, while providing legal assistance, professional development opportunities, discounts, and other unique services for its membership.  Real estate licensees who join a local Member Board of REALTORS® also become members of the State Association and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Louisiana REALTORS® will continue to evolve and expand in 2019 and beyond. From sustained advocacy for the protection of homeownership to highlighting the work of their members from across the state to a technological commitment to providing the best online resources for homebuyers, sellers, and their members; Louisiana REALTORS® is looking forward to the next century!


Louisiana Power Coalition’s Peter Robins-Brown  

LaPolitics: For readers who are unfamiliar, tell us a little about the Power Coalition and its' efforts. 

Peter Robins-Brown: “The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is a statewide civic engagement table that works to shift power back to the people by fighting for policies that lift up Louisiana's families. We also work with our coalition members to educate voters, increase voter engagement, and provide a support structure for community activism and voice.” 

One of the big bills that the Coalition is working on local control. Why is this bill critical to your group's efforts? 

 As part of the Unleash Local coalition, we are supporting grassroots organizing across the state to educate voters about HB422, sponsored by Rep. Royce Duplessis. Currently, the state of Louisiana bans cities and parishes from setting many of their own local economic standards, including minimum wage and family and sick leave policies. This top-down, heavy handed approach goes against the best interests and stated values of most Louisianans. It also fails to account for the fact that we live in a diverse state, and imposes one standard on everyone, even though we all know that life and work differ from city to city, parish to parish, and region to region. HB422 would repeal that state ban. Ending this unnecessary government overreach, and giving freedom back to local communities so they can make their own decisions about worker protection policies, is the most effective measure we have for lifting people up out of poverty and creating a more equitable economic system in Louisiana. It gives power to local people so they can take back control of their local communities.

The coalition is also supporting HB504 by Rep. A.B. Franklin, a bill that tries to shed some light on the  redistricting process. What type of transparency are you looking for in redistricting? 

Redistricting, and gerrymandering in particular, have led to a lot of public distrust of government, especially over the past decade. We believe that shining a light on the process through some simple transparency measures is a good first step in rebuilding that trust. HB504 would establish a minimum of 10 public hearings on redistricting leading into the 2021 legislative session. This measure simply codifies a practice that Louisiana has traditionally undertaken, but that wasn't explicitly written into law. The bill would also establish a non-binding study and advisory commission that will look at past Louisiana redistricting processes, best redistricting practices from other states, and any recently developed redistricting tools and resources. Finally, it would mandate a five-day waiting period between when the district maps are adopted in committee and when they go to a final floor vote, allowing a little extra time for the citizens of Louisiana to fully absorb the proposed changes.

(Check back with LaPolitics Weekly on Thursday for more…)


The LSU President known as “Jingle Money”

On the afternoon of Nov. 17, 1931, the LSU Board of Supervisors convened in a special meeting to discussing selecting a new president for the university. But before their deliberations could get underway, the members were summoned to the Governor’s Mansion, where Huey P. Long abruptly informed them that he had selected Dr. James Monroe Smith for the university’s top post. 

Smith, called “Doc” by faculty and students, was a Jackson Parish native and an LSU alumnus who also had a PhD from Columbia University. While he was qualified for the post, Smith was selected by Long because he was willing to stand aside and let the governor virtually run the university himself. “LSU students of 1930 and 1931 could easily have gotten the impression that Gov. Long was on campus every day,” wrote historian T. Harry Williams

The new president proved to be a loyal lieutenant, allowing Long to do things such as redesign the band uniforms and bring in his own director, compose new music and personally hire and fire the football coaches. When the student newspaper, The Reveille, published a piece critical of the governor, Smith expelled the seven students responsible. According to Williams, Smith viewed the Kingfish’s interference as a necessary trade off for the large amount of state money that was being steered to campus. 

Smith took total control of LSU after Long’s assassination in 1935 and immediately began milking the university’s coffers for his own personal gain. Taking funds directly out of the school’s endowment, the president falsified minutes from the Board of Supervisors’ meetings so it appeared as if he had been  legitimately authorized to spend the money. According to Harnett Kane’s Louisiana Hayride, Smith expended hundreds of thousands of dollars speculating in items such as wheat and whiskey. 

The academic proved to be a poor financier and lost nearly $500,000 of LSU’s money in investments. After authorities gained knowledge of his crimes in 1939, Smith and his wife, Thelma, fled to Canada as fugitives, actively hunted by the FBI and State Police. Eventually, the disgraced president turned himself in and returned to Baton Rouge to stand trial. Disgusted faculty began referring to him as “Jingle Money.” 

Smith would later be found guilty on both state and  federal charges, serving time in Angola and a federal penitentiary before being released in 1945. 

Smith in his prison garb at Angola

S P O T T E D !

—While visiting Ruston to assess tornado damage, Gov. John Bel Edwards was seen checking in with NBA legend Karl Malone. The Mailman was in Lincoln Parish helping in the cleanup and recovery efforts.

—Congressman Ralph Abraham was seen in Vermilion Parish over the weekend, attending Sheriff Mike Couvillon’s annual skeet shoot. 

Abraham was also seen chowing down on some crawfish in St. Tammany Parish. 

—Sens. Mike Walsworth and Neil Riser were seen at an Abraham campaign event for the Baton Rouge Young Republicans at T.J. Ribs. 

—Gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone’s wife, Linda, was seen handing out yard signs to supporters of her husband’s campaign. 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy made a visit to his old stomping grounds at the Capitol in Baton Rouge Monday afternoon. 

—After hypothetical Twitter governor @JohnJelJedwards joked about them fighting, Reps. Julie Emerson and Ted James had a humorous photo op on the House floor. 

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S T A F F   S H I F T S 

—Gannett has named Scott Ferrell as the new editor of The Shreveport Times. Ferrell, an LSU alumnus, has spent over 30 years as a reporter in the Red River City with both the Times and the now-defunct Shreveport Journal

Zoë Williamson has joined Gov. John Bel Edwards’ re-election campaign as a full time press assistant. Williamson, who graduates from LSU this week, perviously worked part-time for the governor’s official press shop at the Capitol. 

P O L I T I C A L   C H A T T E R

—The Girl Scouts will be honoring First Lady Donna Edwards, LPB’s Beth Courtney, Southern’s Angela A. Allen-Bell and Priscell Hofman at their annual “Women of Distinction Luncheon,” slated for Wed. May 1 at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge. 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham has released four new 15 second digital spots from his gubernatorial campaign. Insiders close to the Alto Republican say that the ads are part of a “significant” statewide digital buy. 

— After Gov. John Bel Edwards seemingly threw down the debate gauntlet, it appears as if Nexstar Broadcasting will be hosting the first televised debate of the cycle. According to the station, the forum is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19 and is set to be located at the Student Union Theater on LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge. Nextsar will be partnering with the Manship School of Mass Communication and Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs for the debate. 

—DID YOU KNOW: The last time an incumbent governor participated in a debate was when Buddy Roemer sought a second term in 1991. He was up against a crowded field that included Edwin Edwards, David Duke, Clyde Holloway, Fred Dent, Aaron Broussard and (now-Rep.) Sam Jones.

—The Pelican Institute released the final position position paper in their “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana” campaign. The paper lays out the group’s proposed ideas on legal reform. 

—Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin will be testing the state’s online election results reporting system results this afternoon. DON’T PANIC ELECTED OFFICIALS. 

—Rep. Jack McFarland received the Christus Eagle Award from Christus Health last week. 

—Louisiana Public Broadcasting has launched a new mobile app for you to enjoy your favorite LPB programming on the go. 

—Our friend Tyler Bridges of The Advocate profiled LSU’s Dr. Jim Richardson, the economist who has served on the REC since 1987. 

@MelindaDeslatte: “Senate Finance is holding any bills that have a financial cost in the upcoming budget year, not making decisions on them yet. Chairman Eric LaFleur says the committee wants to get the budget from the House first, to determine what the state can afford. #lalege” 

@GregHilburn1: “Term-limited Rep Jim Morris said to be moving to Texas after #lalege. Looks like his Jeep has already moved to Lone Star state. Out-migration” 

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

O N   T H E   C A L E N D A R

—The Louisiana Nursing Home Association will be having their reception at the Crowne Plaza this evening. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. 

—The Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting a reception tonight at the Capitol Park Welcome Center. Their event starts at 4:30 p.m. 

—Wednesday, May 1 is Oil & Gas Industry Day at the Capitol. All three gubernatorial candidates, incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, are set to speak at the luncheon in A.Z. Young Park. 

—Treasurer John Schroder will be speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club at their weekly luncheon on Monday, May 13. 

—Elephant Stomp, the Republican Legislative Delegation’s annual gathering, is scheduled for Monday, May 13 at L’Auberge in Baton Rouge. 

—Donkey Romp, the Democratic Legislative Caucus’ annual gathering, is scheduled for Monday, May 20 at the Capitol Hilton in Baton Rouge.

T H E   W A R   C H E S T   W A R

—According to The Advocate, President Donald Trump will be holding a fundraiser in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 14, co-hosted by longtime political donors Boysie Bollinger and Joe Canizaro

—Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell will be having a fundraiser at the Baton Rouge City Club on Thursday, May 9. 

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

The Advocate: “Representatives of the New Orleans hospitality industry and Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration reached a tentative deal Monday that would provide most but not all of the extra funding the mayor has been seeking for the city’s patchwork drainage system and other infrastructure needs.” 

The News-Star: “Homestead exemption kept its reputation as the third rail of Louisiana politics after a House committee here killed a bill to allow local voters to raise taxes on homeowners in individual parishes.” 

Gambit: “In the last two annual sessions of the Louisiana Legislature, bills that were considered long shots somehow managed to become law. In 2017 a package of criminal justice reforms surprised the oddsmakers, and last year the push to end nonunanimous jury verdicts in criminal trials pulled off the upset of the season.” 

The Times-Pic: “Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts’ resignation from his parishwide seat Monday (April 29) will likely open up the race for the District 1 seat in the council this fall.” 

B E L T W A Y   B E A T

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise will be traveling to the White House Wednesday to discuss the Jones Act and natural gas shipping with President Donald Trump

Scalise will also be encouraging his members to sign the discharge petition on the controversial Green New Deal. The Whip and other Republicans want to force a floor vote on the measure so congressional Democrats are on-record for the proposal. 

—Assistant House Majority Whip Cedric Richmond appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation Sunday to discuss the potential impeachment of President Trump and his support for former Vice President Joe Biden

—Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson and his committee colleagues will release their annual budget proposal this week. 

—Congressman Clay Higgins will be discussing border security and law enforcement resources at a Homeland Security Border Security Subcommittee hearing this afternoon. 

—One America News Network featured Congressman Ralph Abraham’s bid to put the headquarters for President Donald Trump’s new Space Force in Louisiana. 

—Congressman Garret Graves announced that the Bayou State received $94.7 million from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. 


In Last Week’s LaPolitics Weekly

—The pace of things in the legislative session could spell quick doom for some bills  

Edwin Edwards, Mike Foster and Paul Hardy discuss the governor and lieutenant governor running on tickets. 

—The Fourth Floor takes a final swing at some of John Bel Edwards’ legislative priorities. 

—A look back at FDR’s “ersters” at Antoine's. 

Davante Lewis talks Louisiana Budget Project’s future plans. 

—Closely watched Acadiana races lead off Inside the Rails 

—Freshman Rep. Ryan Bourriaque talks nicknames in The Said It! 

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A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates


When chemical companies choose to do business in Louisiana, they also become a part of the local community, in turn supporting the individuals, families and meaningful initiatives that strengthen that community. Through partnerships with the industry, communities thrive.

The types of initiatives Louisiana Chemical Association member companies support in Louisiana reach far and wide across the state, including Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the American Red Cross, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and Relay for Life. 

Many chemical companies throughout Louisiana also create their own initiatives to meet the unique needs of their local communities. For example, Westlake Chemical Corporation handplanted 175 acres of wetlands (1.8 billion pounds of soil and 12,000 smooth cordgrass) in Bayou d’Inde to protect our coastlines from extreme weather events. The initiative also provided a home for wildlife like the burrowing owl, painted bunting and brown pelican, animals whose existence was once threatened in Louisiana. 

From environmental initiatives to educational programs, the chemical industry is committed to supporting the communities that build our state. To learn more about the industry’s contributions to local and state organizations, click here

# H B D ,   T R A C K E R S !

—Tuesday, April 30: Former Congressman Bob Livingston, former Rep. Erich Ponti, late Rep. Sydnie Mae Durand and John Pastorek 

—Wednesday, May 1: Gregory Todd Hilburn, Caitlin Berni and Rhett Davis

—Thursday, May 2: Elizabeth McKnight

—Friday, May 3: Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Jim Morris, Rep. Neil Abramson, and Rep. Andy Anders

—Saturday, May 4: Patrick Mulhearn and Kandace Graves

—Sunday, May 5: Late U.S. Sen. Edward James Gay (1878), Lamar White and Stephanie Riegel

—Monday, May 6: Former Secretary of State Jim Brown, Scott Wilfong and Cassie Alsfeld

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



Phone: 225-772-2518

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