Political Chatter

— Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards hosted their Christmas festivities at the Governor’s Mansion today.

— The First Lady’s also celebrating National Cookie Day with this tantalizing snapshot from the Mansion

— JBE’S CHRISTMAS-PACKED WEEK: Gov. Edwards road-tripped to Natchitoches this weekend to speak at the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Meeting at Northwestern State’s campus, and made time for their Christmas festival and parade while he was in town.

— Michael Willis’ BAD XMAS JOKE OF THE WEEK: “What do you call a kid who doesn't believe in Santa Claus? A rebel without a Claus.”

— TRANSIENT CAJUN CHRISTMAS: The Louisiana State Society is throwing its Cajun Christmas Party at Southern Hospitality in Washington, D.C. tomorrow! TICKETS

— The Louisiana State Medical Society is partnering with KaMMCO Health Solutions to provide its members with a statewide health information exchange and new analytics tool. “Partnering with KHS to access new health information exchange (HIE) and analytics tools allows us to support the physicians of Louisiana with cutting-edge benefits relevant to both patient care and the successful transition to alternative payment models. This is a winning combination for our members,” said LSMS CEO Jeff Williams.

— The full text of ATRF’s Judicial Hellholes® report can be viewed here. Louisiana remains one of the worst states in this this report, which Gov. Edwardshas labeled as “fiction.”

— NFIB’s Dawn Starns on the Hellhole: “What we’re seeing, though, is a handful of plaintiffs who engage in ‘drive-by litigation.’ We’re seeing lawsuits from people who aren’t customers. We’re seeing lawsuits from people who simply are looking for opportunities to file a claim and, hopefully, get a quick settlement. That’s unfair, but it’s especially hard on small businesses. Small businesses can’t easily afford to settle, let alone hire a lawyer to defend itself in court, even though there’s a good chance it would win.”

— Rep. Pat Smith was named as the Louisiana Federation of Teachers’ “Friend of Education for 2017.”

— PR: “Representatives from 49 states, including Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Secretary Joey Strickland, participated in the White House Veterans Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. this week.”

— Donaldsonville Chief: “Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is pushing for the repeal of an insurance tax imposed under the Affordable Care Act. Donelon is urging members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation to support legislation that would suspend the tax, which is a premium collected by health insurers.”

— Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans and a national expert on hazing, will speak to the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.

— The Advocate’s Mark Ballard: “The Secretary of State’s office is seeking proposals to replace voting machines across the state and for software that will create a paper ballot on those machines that the voter can review before casting the vote.”

— Sen. John Smith cameos in a video about Louisiana rural health care access. WATCH IT

— LABI President Stephen Waguespack gives his two cents on taxes: “The costliest exemption in the state is the individual federal income tax deduction at $870 million. This allows Louisiana taxpayers to deduct their federal income tax payments from their state taxes. If Congress and the White House agree on a tax cut bill soon, this will go down.”

— Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson is moderating a talk on politics and news between New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin and former Meet the Press producer Betsy Fischer Martin at the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Annual Luncheon on Dec. 7 at the New Orleans Marriott. DETAILS

— The Livingston Parish Republican Leadership Luncheon is Dec. 7 at noon at the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Denham Springs. INFO

— LSU President F. King Alexander is the keynote speaker for the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Alexandria. INFO

— The Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office is a co-recipient of the 2017 Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award for Excellence in Programmatic Agreements for the Louisiana Historic Bridge Inventory project. 

— The New Orleans Health Department is now training New Orleans Public Library staff to administer Naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

— New Orleans has first responders in Puerto Rico for relief efforts this week.

— NOLA City Council has agreed on its 2018 city budget. PRESS RELEASE

— Former Rep. Karen St. Germain, U.S. Marshall Genny May, Lafourche Parish Council Vice Chair Lucy Sposito, NAACP President Emeritus Eva Shanklin, and 1st Attorney as Executive Council to the Supreme Court Kim Sport are some of this year’s Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Hall of Fame Honorees.

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