TUESDAY TRACKER – ISSUE 145 – MAY 22, 2018

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May 22, 2018 — Issue No. 145

By Sarah Gamard (Sarah@LaPolitics.com), Jeremy Alford (JJA@LaPolitics.com),

& Mitch Rabalais (Mitch@LaPolitics.com)


WELCOME BACK, CAMPERS!

JBE pushing “tax cut,” urging voters to target Legislature…

Lawmakers already predicting another special session…

Speaker: Governor “set us up to fail”

As his 2019 re-election campaign approaches and his political enemies blast him for supporting tax increases over the past two years, Gov. John Bel Edwards is attempting to flip the script by promising a “net tax cut of $400 million” for Louisiana residents — if the Legislature adopts his plan in the special session that convened this afternoon. 

Delivering remarks before a capacity crowd in Lafayette’s Earl K. Long Gym, Edwards also made a direct appeal to voters for assistance in influencing the same legislators who have rejected the administration’s revenue proposals in five other special sessions since February 2016.

"What makes this special session different is that we've reached the end of the road,” Edwards said in his session-opening speech. “This is it."

But is it really? In hushed tones lawmakers are predicting that adjournment could be followed by the convening of yet another special session. One senator said privately that he warned his family that he could be in Baton Rouge beyond June 4 and a couple representatives claim there are early signs of a stalemate.

Rep. Paul Hollis is one of many representatives who are apprehensive about what the next couple weeks could bring, especially with the House restarting the budget process. He believes the governor will eventually have to call the year’s third third special session. “That would be embarrassing,” he said.

“It’s just not looking very promising,” added Rep. Blake Miguez.

In a prepared statement released after Edwards’ speech, even Speaker Taylor Barras sounded pessimistic. He also blamed the governors veto of the budget for the time crunch legislators now face. “It seems the governor was determined to set us up to fail, to give him the best opportunity to raise more taxes than needed,” the speaker said.

As has been the case in other sessions this term, ideological divides are among the factors that could send the coming budget and tax debates into a tailspin. “We definitely could fix this problem in a very pragmatic way. Quickly,” said Rep. Julie Stokes. “But I’m concerned there’s a huge expectation gap between what the Republicans think is possible and what the Democrats think is possible. If we’re not all on the same page, we might have to go into another session.”

The Senate, meanwhile, returns to its sit-and-wait position, since the budget and most all tax bills must originate in the lower chamber. “The ball’s in the court of the House,” said Sen. Bret Allain.

As for Edwards, it was his big day. For the first time in recent history a governor ventured outside of the Capitol for a session-opening speech. It was a well-executives event with great visuals — but the real trick was how the Edwards Administration masterfully managed to transform an elaborate campaign rally into an official government address.

With Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser introducing the governor for a speech that hit all the marks, Edwards struck a slightly new tone, a more positive one that focused on Louisiana’s strengths and his administration’s promise of a tax cut. Thematically, it was an us-versus-them approach, with Edwards promoting his new “Our Louisiana” campaign (OurLouisiana.org) to leverage public support in dealing with the Legislature. 

“I was once a legislator, and there is nothing that influences a legislator more than hearing from the people he or she works for,” the governor said in his speech today. “If you believe, like I do, that our state is worth fighting for, then it is certainly worth it to pick up the phone and let your legislators know that you expect us all to work together to responsibly fix this cliff looming before us. 

The big talking point for the governor right now involves his vow of a tax cut. In fact, during his speech today Edwards said he was worried that “word has not been getting through to the people of Louisiana.”  

So where does his $400 million tax cut come from? It takes a little bit of math, but you start with the original shortfall estimate for the next fiscal year, which was $1.4 billion. Then you subtract $994 million, which was the second to last shortfall estimate, before it was downgraded to the current $648 million forecast. That's the amount of expiring tax revenue that the governor is not asking the Legislature to renew, and it's the entire source for his proposed "tax cut." (The administration isn’t subtracting the latest revenue forecast from the $1.4 billion figure because it was diminished due to federal tax changes.)

Edwards’ decision to kick off his special session from Lafayette speaks to his strengths and weaknesses. On one hand, the governor, if nothing else, once again showed voters that he’s willing to do things a little differently. On the other hand, the speech was a reminder that the Legislature and administration were miles apart — literally and figuratively. And while Edwards was able to overcome that geographical gap this afternoon by coming back to Baton Rouge, the political gap that persists won’t be so easy to resolve.


JBE’S SPEECH

— Length: 3,114 words

— Teleprompters?: Yes. There were two.

— Number of times “Our Louisiana” was spoken: 5 times

— Number of times “breeze of hope” was spoken: 0 times

— Number of times “tax” was spoken: 1 time

— Number of times “tax cut” was spoken: 19 times

— Number of “thank you” statements: 6

— Who got a “thank you” statement: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Dr. Joseph Savoie, Lafayette Mayor Joel Robideaux, the entire UL-Lafayette team, lawmakers, university leaders, health care leaders, law enforcement, local elected officials and the people of Looziana. 

— On Robideaux: “…doing such a wonderful job in Lafayette.”

— Number of times “fix” was spoken: 6

— Number of times “Louisiana” was spoken: 39

— Best mistake: Said “dirty bird” instead of “dirty word.”

— His excuse: “Thinking about those Atlanta Falcons, I guess.”

— Notable ad-lib (unscripted): “Never forget the least among us. Those are precisely the ones without lobbyists at the Capitol advocating for their interests. But they shouldn't need lobbyists to tell us what we know is right, to tell us what Jesus himself told us is right.”

— Descriptions of the special session: “Last chance” and “last time.”

— Mea culpa moment: “Honestly, the climate in that building in Baton Rouge has not been producing the results that you deserve, and I know you are frustrated by that. And who could blame you?”

— The human element: “Just last week, I was leaving an event and a young man came up to me in tears. He was diagnosed with cancer and is now receiving treatment because we made the bold decision to bring our federal tax dollars home to help our people.”

— Why did he go to Lafayette?: “Well today, I’m happy to announce that CGI has extended its commitment in Louisiana for an additional three years, through 2027, and in addition to retaining the 400 direct jobs currently in place, has committed to hire an additional 400 good-paying, high quality jobs by 2023 in Acadiana.”

— Applying pressure: “If you’re wondering how to contact your state senators and state representatives, we’re going to make it easy for you. Visit Our-Louisiana-Dot-Org.”

— On faith: “We believe in the awesome power of prayer.”


A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates

HDA Client Louisiana Chemical Association Economic Impact Report

Louisiana is the sixth largest producer of chemicals in the United States, according to Dr. Loren Scott’s recently updated Economic Impact Report: Louisiana’s Chemical Industry. This is an impressive feat for a state that is also ranked the 40th best place for business.

Louisiana’s economy relies on the chemical industry, one out of every seven jobs in Louisiana can be traced back to it. However, competition for investments is stronger than ever.

Texas, America’s second-best state to do business and No. 1 producer of chemicals, is our biggest competitor to bringing in new companies and keeping the ones we have.

Due to several well-developed ports with easy access to the Gulf, abundant supplies of natural gas, vast pipeline infrastructures and access to plenty of water in their southeastern corner, Louisiana and Texas provide the same attractive qualities that chemical companies seek out, according to Dr. Scott’s study.

However, consider this: Texas has a unified sales tax collection, does not tax manufacturing utilities, does not tax manufacturing equipment, does not tax manufacturing inputs and has significantly lower local sales tax rates. Importantly, Texas also has no corporate or personal income tax.

To make our state competitive, Louisiana can foster incentives like the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, not diminish the value of these incentives. To learn more, click here.


CAPITOL GAINS

At Home With Clay

“This is what America wants to see.”

That was the promise from a beer-toting Congressman Clay Higgins in this episode of Capitol Gains.

And, yeah, it’s indeed a must-see video!

With three guns (at least) and five dogs nearby, the man known as the Cajun John Wayne filled up an ice chest, lit the grill on his Port Barre porch and told us to start filming.

What happened? Well, the congressman kicked a few back and discussed kung fu, the “thousands of fights” he has been in, what he eats on the Hill, the pain of politics, the joys of country living, the pitfalls of money and how he coped with the deaths of his wife, child and father, who all passed within a three-year period.

Here are a few excerpts…

— On death threats: “I’ve had all kinds of threats. The front of my house is bullet proof, bruh. I don’t ever sit out here without my M4 and my Glock… I’m carrying as well. I’m always armed.”

“I never really pushed it. You’re required, congressionally, if you receive threats, you have to turn that into Capitol police. Cuz sh*t can happen. Look at what happened with the baseball field last year. So, you have to turn in threats.”

“One of the guys is bad enough he’s in jail. He’s a jihadist guy. And the Capitol Police pursued and the DOJ picked it up and that guy is in jail right now, man. In Lafayette, pending federal trial. They found him in Colorado. He had run to Colorado. I didn’t really push that either.”

“It has reached a new level. Used to be just criminals that hated me. Now it’s Democrats too.”

— Higgins said he invented his own fighting style, know in English as “The Way of the Spirit Fists.” The congressman said it takes from White Crain Kung Fu, Taekwondo and western boxing. “There was something happening with the best techniques of every style that involved circles and energy and sort of the connecting energies in martial arts through the earth. It’s some out there stuff, right?”

“I was very into Chinese medicine and healing and acupuncture and acupressure and herbs,” Higgins said, reflecting on his late 20s. “I was completely anti-Western medicine at the time."

— Commenting that he never actively sought to become a congressman: “I mean, look how I live. Congressmen don’t live like this, you know. Congressmen don’t live in 65-year-old, 1,000-square foot houses, man.”

— The congressman said his last amateur fight was in 2016; it was a boxing match for the “Battle of the Badges” event. Higgins lost by a decision, but it was supposedly just one of his many encounters inside the ring — and out. “I’ve been in thousands of fights. There’s martial arts, sparring or cop stuff, like really actually trying to survive fights.”

— On losing his wife, child and father, all within the same three years: “God drug me through that, because… I was certainly just not the man that I man now, bruh. And God had given me these great burdens… and somehow or another he drug me through it.”

— On being appointed to the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight: “I thought for a minute it was a prank. Because, man, there’s no way the chairman of Science Space Technology is coming to ask me to be on his committee!”

— “I can’t be corrupted, man. Washington can’t corrupt me. I left money. God has prepared me for this service.”

— “I’m a decent man, now, bruh. I feel pretty good about where I am with my life and my walk with Christ and my relationship with my wife. D.C. can’t touch that.”

— “I’m not anti-money. You understand? I’m a Republican, man, not anti-money by any means.”

— On negative attacks: “There has been a lot of pain brought upon my family that has been very injurious, man. Horrible things — lies, lies, lies, spoken by liars, woven from fabrics of liars — about me and my family that were very hurtful.”

— Regarding those who chose to label him as one-dimensional when he first ran for Congress: “These people didn’t know I had a large vocabulary and I spoke two languages and I can virtually quote the Constitution. I’ve been fascinated by history all of my life. I’m a prodigious reader. I’ve read thousands of books.” (Higgins said he speaks English and Spanish.)

— On Speaker Paul Ryan: “My observation is, personally, I think Speaker Ryan, if he intends to not seek office after this year and he intends to vacate the position, I think I’d like to see that happen in May, not after the midterms.”

Clay Higgins, offering an assessment of Clay Higgins: “A man that’s perhaps more than people know and less than I hope to become.”

This one-hour episode of Capitol Gains likewise features Higgins dishing on his financial standing in D.C., explaining the way he handled animal cruelty cases as a cop and revealing how he became a Kentucky colonel.

The congressman likewise talks about how he copes with being the “YouTube” guy, why he won’t go back into law enforcement and what his re-election campaign will look like this year. Plus, he offers brief assessments on Gov. John Bel Edwards, President Donald Trump, the U.S. Congress and the Louisiana Legislature.

Watch, enjoy and, as always, let us know what you think.


THE LaPOLITICS REPORT

Picard, Politics & Ponies

In our latest podcast episode of The LaPolitics Report, Tyron Picard of The Picard Group drops in for a conversation about a bygone era in Louisiana politics, the current landscapes for government relations, what it really takes to be a racehorse owner and what big country music act came out Maurice.

Picard also gives us some insight about how the “blurring lines” of business ownership have created new conflicts on the job. (Humana Health, for example, could soon be bought by Walmart.) “I think it’s going to become more and more difficult for all lobbyists as consolidation of these businesses occur,” he said. “What I suspect you’re going to see is either businesses are going to have to say that they’re not going to hire lobbyists or that lobbyists will have very defined, single scopes of work that will keep them in a single channel for a client on a single issue.”

Picard also talks about his upbringing, his late father, his wife’s relationship to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and his work with Catholic bishops to prevent human trafficking. He also tells us about his business’ humble beginnings and eventual expansion, and what it’s like working with lawmaking veterans like former Congressman Rodney Alexander.

Plus, we step in the way-back machine for archived audio from the late, great Cecil J. Picard.


ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN

Everything Is Special In Louisiana

“You know what you never forget? You never forget your ninth legislative session.”

That’s an evolving quip from state Rep. Thomas Carmody, and it’s usually good for a few laughs in the Capitol. The term-limited Republican from Shreveport has actually seen more than nine sessions since taking office in 2008. But he has never experienced as many in a single term. So, yeah, Carmody is unlikely to forget what’s ahead — and what’s ahead is yet another special session.

You know what else is on the horizon? More special elections for the Louisiana Legislature, where everything is special anyway.

Heck, lawmakers created eight new special prestige license plates during the recent regular session. And the corrections secretary was given more leeway to appoint special agents. Then efforts to eliminate special public meeting notices were turned back, as was a proposal to create a special treasury fund.

You’re nobody in the Capitol until somebody is your special assistant. Every reporter in the building is trying to put together a special report. If you’ve got the big bill in the House, then you’ll likely nab the first special order of the day on the chamber’s agenda.

Like a baseball field full of snot-nosed, second-place middle schoolers waiting for a trophy, suddenly everything is special in Louisiana politics. Nowhere is this trend running stronger than in the state Legislature.

By the end of this calendar year, it’s quite possible that turnover in the House and Senate will have triggered at least 14 special elections this term, which started January 2016. That could very well put this Legislature on pace to set some kind of record.

The latest lawmaker to watch is GOP Rep. Kenny Havard, who became so disillusioned with the process recently that he resigned his chairmanship of the House Transportation Committee. Citing partisan politics that are “out of control,” Havard told LaPolitics that he may run for president of West Feliciana Parish in November. If he wins, of course, a special election will be needed in House District 62.

Meanwhile, a special election will actually have to be called in House District 10. Minden Rep. Gene Reynolds announced last week that he’ll be stepping down on June 4 to take a job managing the state parks system. Much like Havard, Reynolds recently resigned his leadership post as chair of the Democratic caucus while attributing his decision to the Capitol’s poor mood and gridlock.

Let’s not forget Rep. Chris Hazel in House District 27. Hazel, a Prineville Republican, is reaching for a robe and gavel in the 9th Judicial District this fall. Just like Havard, a win in November would mean yet another special election for the Legislature.

Two more upcoming special elections have been slated to replace Rep. Mike Danahay, who won a bid for Sulphur mayor, and Rep. Greg Cromer, who will soon become Slidell mayor. Both men are Republicans, and both are not part of a legislative outmigration.

That makes for three upcoming special elections and two more possibilities later this year. Another nine special elections have already been conducted this term to elect freshman Sen. Ed Price and newbie Reps. Edmund Jordan, John Stefanski, Joe Stagni, Raymond Crews, Ken Brass, Mark Wright, Nicky Muscarello and Royce Duplessis.

Then there are the special sessions of the Legislature, which is now averaging at least two such policy gatherings per calendar year. Before we go any further, there’s a constitutional clarification worth making — “special sessions” don’t exist in law. Instead, they’re referred to “extraordinary sessions.” (And those held this term have certainly been beyond the ordinary.)

Lawmakers, though, aren’t feeling all that special. Or extraordinary. After spending more consecutive days in session in 2016 than any other body since 1812, many senators and representatives fall into one of three camps. They’re either desperate for a compromise or thirsty for blood or they’ve grown completely apathetic. Others just want to do the right thing, but don't know how.

This intensity is also why lawmakers are leaving office at an alarming rate. It may likewise serve as part of the reason why fewer people are running for office in Louisiana.

Not to be left out, even Gov. John Bel Edwards is doing something special for the special session. Bucking tradition, the governor’s session-opening speech will not be delivered in Baton Rouge, but on the campus of UL-Lafayette. Edwards, however, will not go it alone. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is expected to attend, and an invitation has been extended to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

But that’s a good kind of special, and not the doom-and-gloom kind of special associated with our elections and legislative sessions of late. Simply put, enough is enough. If everything in Louisiana is special — from our elections to our legislative sessions — then the meaning of the word itself becomes meaningless. (Much like the legislative process this term.)


RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY

Uncle Earl’s Special Session: The Fastest Sine Die In History

In the summer of 1959, every news outlet in Louisiana was filled with reports of the daily activities of then-Gov. Earl K. Long. Having just obtained a highly-publicized release from a state mental hospital in Mandeville, Long made headlines for soon afterward cavorting with a Bourbon Street stripper, Blaze Starr, before embarking on a wild vacation in the western states.

According to historian Jack McGuire in his book, Win the Race or Die Trying: Uncle Earl’s Last Hurrah, Long had stayed in touch with legislators during his vacation, mailing his lawmakers everything from postcards to cases of cantaloupes. Some, like Sen. Sixty Rayburn of Bogalusa, even joined the governor for parts of his multi-week trip.

Long had been institutionalized during the regular session of the Legislature, which had become bogged down in a debate over voting rights and racial integration. Because the governor was out of pocket, many of his favored bills had been voted down or died in committee.

Returning to Louisiana refreshed, Long called a special session of the Legislature to enact a litany of bills that he wanted passed. Included in his call were routine measures such as taxes, higher ed and local districts. Then there was a section asking to review the statutes around the involuntary commitment of a person to a mental institution.

Legislators, meanwhile, were tired of the governor’s behavior and unenthusiastic about going into a special session with elections only a few months away. Gauging the mood of their members, Long’s floor leaders tried to have him call off the session, but the governor ignored their pleas.

When lawmakers gaveled in at 5 p.m. on August 10, they made quick work of the session.

The House’s first order of business was to swear in a new member. As soon as that was done, another member, Rep. Ben Holt, moved to adjourn sine die. The motion passed easily and the Senate concurred within minutes, ending the shortest special session — about 10 minutes total — in Louisiana’s history.

Gov. Long made his way over to the Senate chamber and addressed lawmakers as they headed home. Despite the rebuke of his special session, he made light of the situation, telling members, “so you might say now that you have had an opportunity to see a crazy governor.”


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WHAT YOU MISSED IN LaPOLITICS WEEKLY

Here are the headlines subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly received in the issue that was published five days ago:

John Bel Edwards and Donald Trump are homies

Mitch Landrieu and Trump aren’t

— Then there’s JBE and Mitch

— The 106th First Lady’s Luncheon

Kenny Havard could be next

— Budget timeline ahead of schedule

— The tale of the tape on vetoes

— And a politically honest assessment of a budget veto

— Checking the special session’s chokepoints (again)

— AFP targeting 12 legislators

Sharon Hewitt staying mum

EWE backing con-con

David Duke on the big screen

— The senator who ran for governor (and won)

— Updates in HD 27 & HD 90

— “Field Notes” about the call

— A real punchy “They Said It”

— Plus more!

For 25 years LaPolitics Weekly has been Louisiana's premier trade publication for elected officials, lobbyists, campaign professionals, journalists and other politicos.

Become a part of this elite community by subscribing today!


A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates

PhRMA: Louisiana Passes Reforms for Cost Accountability and Patient Savings

The Legislature recently passed landmark drug cost reform. Senate Bills 282 and 283 by Sen. Fred Mills require pricing transparency for middlemen, like pharmacy benefit managers, and ensure patients benefit from rebates at the point of sale. SB 241 by Sen. J.P. Morrell ends controversial “gag-rules” that prevent pharmacists from informing patients if paying cash would be cheaper than using insurance.

“Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Fred Mills, Sen. J.P. Morrell, and Rep. Vincent Pierre, Louisiana is a national leader on implementing accountability measures for prescription drug middlemen and ensuring patients share in the savings negotiated on their behalf,” said Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spokesman Nick McGee.


Patients are paying more costs out-of-pocket while growth in the cost of medicine is declining. Pharmaceutical manufacturers rebate up to a third of the “sticker price” to middlemen, which is often not passed on to patients. This package of legislation ensures that patients benefit from available savings.

“Highly profitable middlemen, like insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, are contributing to high out-pocket-costs for patients. These middlemen have largely operated under the radar and used complex schemes to make profits at the expense of patients,” said Sen. Mills. “These common-sense measures shine light on the system and bring relief to Louisiana families.”

For more information on the prescription drug supply chain and how patients share costs, visit www.letstalkaboutcosts.org.


POLITICAL CHATTER

Unanswered Questions Pepper Special Session

As of Tuesday evening, there are 22 pre-filed bills for the special session. House Bill 1 is not one of them.

Melinda Deslatte for the AP (@MelindaDeslatte): “Rep. Jim Morris says Ways & Means going to meet tomorrow to hear testimony on tax bills, presentation from Edwards administration. But no votes because fiscal notes on bills not done.”

Tyler Bridges (@tegbridges): “La House Ways/Means Cmte will meet tomorrow at 10am w/ presentation by Commish Jay Dardenne. Cmte willconduct "preliminary discussion" of legislation. So Chairman @NeilAbramson won't be moving quickly despite tight 14-day timeline of special session”

—LSU's Manship School News Service (@ManshipXGR): "Some LA Legislative Black Caucus members say they support @LouisianaGov's proposals to extend a half-cent of the extra sales tax, raising hopes for compromise in this special session"

Rep. Blake Miguez (@BlakeMiguezLA) today at 11:51 a.m.: “Did @BillyNungesser just endorsed (sic) the Governor tax and spend policies on the hardworking tax payers of Louisiana?  What a disappointment to the Republican Party of Louisiana! @lagop #lalege”

— Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (@BillyNungesser) today at 12:04 p.m.: “No, Billy Nungesser wants the state to come together and fix the problem. Blake is twisting words and doesn't have anything to offer for himself. Blake Miguez is a liar and the people of Louisiana know better.”

NEW SURVEY by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers: “When asked ‘Which of these steps are you willing to take to win significant pay raises,’ 61% answered ‘Statewide walkout/strike,’ and 59% said ‘Mass demonstration at state capitol in Baton Rouge.’”

— A third political party for Louisiana? Jim Brown considers it in his latest column.

— LABI President Stephen Waguespack’s latest: “When the governor introduced his budget in January, he openly encouraged the Legislature to ignore it, stressing there wasn’t a single cut in his budget proposal he wanted them to keep. When the House took that advice, and rewrote their budget version, the governor sent out 37,000 letters to nursing home residents and other Medicaid recipients to tell them their services were soon to be cut, and they should prepare accordingly.”

— Sen. Wesley Bishop, Rep. Julie Stokes, Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Director Laura Badeaux, WWL-TV news anchor Eric Paulsen, trial attorney Russ Herman and comedians Mike Strecker and Michael Dardant are this Thursday’s panel for talk show host Jeff Crouere’s “Politics with a Punch” in New Orleans. TICKETS

— Congressional Aide Michael Willis’ BAD JOKE OF THE WEEK: “What do you call a large pile of kittens? A meowtain!”

— Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's Meat and Poultry Inspection Program Director Jim Jenkins has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.

— The Bureau of Governmental Research is hosting a “breakfast briefing” with Jefferson Parish Public School System Superintendent Cade Brumley at the Sheraton Metairie Hotel on May 31.


GAMARD’S BELTWAY BEAT

“Far, far, far greater than ever before”

President Donald Trump’s administration is adding steam to its push for criminal justice reform, which Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office claims to have a hand in after last year’s criminal justice overhaul.

In fact, the new White House agenda is eerily similar to what Louisiana saw during the 2017 regular session. The federal administration’s recently revealed a catalog of “compassionate” reform proposals that include topics that Louisiana politicos may remember well, such as reentry programs, recidivism reduction and post-release job access. Congressional bills are on the move but are already opposed by Democratic lawmakers, who say the measures would do more harm than good.

Ours isn’t the only state that the president wants to emulate at the federal level, but the project has added another layer to the governor’s blossoming friendship with President Trump: The governor’s team had a conference call earlier this month with the president’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other federal officials, following an in-person meeting with Kushner in November.

President Trump was not in the latest conference call, but said at Friday’s White House Prison Summit, “If we want more prisoners to take charge of their own lives, then we should work to give them the tools to stand on their own two feet. They’re going to love it… I can tell you, as far as people getting out of prison, it’s going to be far, far, far greater than ever before.”


Your Delegation Download

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s office appears to be channeling Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex and the City character in a critique of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reduce natural gas power plants as the incumbent is being challenged by another former Sex and the City star, Cynthia Nixon: “His capitulation to the far left is like Botox — as some might say, painful and unnecessary.” Cassidy is part of the group of lawmakers asking for stronger U.S. shipment laws: “Foreign vessels continue to take work from American-made, American-crewed, and American-owned vessels, diminishing demand for U.S.-citizen mariners and American-made ships.”

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is filing a bill with West Virginia Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to “bring corrupt Capitol Hill lobbyists into the sunlight” by “forcing” them to disclose convictions wrongdoing, like bribery or extortion. The bill is called the Justice Against Corruption on K Street (JACK Act). It’s named after Jack Abramoff, who Kennedy’s office said is returning to lobbying after “serving 43 months for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials and tax evasion.” In other news, the junior senator was spotted with Cassidy and a group of other upper chamber members at Thursday’s Capitol screening of the new HBO documentary, "John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls."

— Congressman Steve Scalise will likely be talking about his big agenda item this week — passing the National Defense Authorization Act through the House — during his visits on Fox News and WWL Radio. He speaks tonight at the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List gala, and will likely be spotlighted at the Congressional Baseball Game scrimmage tomorrow. On a recent Trump administration proposal that proponents say will keep federal tax dollars from funding abortions, Scalise said, “Medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions in order to receive government funding.” On Fox News this weekend, he deplored the DREAM Act as “pure amnesty with no border protection, no wall.”

— Congressman Cedric Richmond’s latest action with the Congressional Black Caucus has been opposing 5th Circuit judicial nominee Andrew Oldham, who the caucus alleges has “argued for policies that would have perpetuated segregation.” Says their letter to the U.S. Senate: “Thus far into his presidency, President Trump has nominated 105 individuals for federal appellate and district judgeships. Of those, 91.4 percent were white, and only one percent were African American. Moreover, 75.2 percent were male and only 24.8 percent female.”

— Congressman Clay Higgins has been appointed to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security. On Friday, he’ll give the Congressional Gold Medal to James Bollich, a Lafayette WWII veteran and Bataan Death March survivor, during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jennings.

— Congressman Mike Johnson’s drone attack detection bill, which the Shreveport lawmaker said “will help ensure Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself against evolving and increasingly catastrophic threats,” made it into the National Defense Authorization Act. On a school prayer bill passed by the state Legislature, he said, “What began as a very flawed piece of legislation that would have jeopardized the rights to religious expression in public schools was properly amended in the House.”

— Congressman Ralph Abraham, like Scalise, is celebrating the recent Trump administration proposal that proponents say will keep federal tax dollars from funding abortions: “Places like Planned Parenthood have no business receiving any taxpayer money to help them perform abortions. This rule change will ensure that family planning funding is actually going toward family planning services, not propping up abortion facilities.” He will speak at Memorial Day events in Alexandria and Bogalusa.

— Congressman Garret Graves is expected to spend this week rallying behind the Water Resources Development Act, which his office says will be “the first major piece of legislation of the Trump infrastructure agenda” as it moves through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee tomorrow morning. Graves: “Instead of wasting decades caught up in process, we have to focus on outcomes: completed projects, more resilient communities, modern ports and a healthy environment.”


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#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 05/22: Former Congressman Richard Baker, Clare Stagg and Garrison Waite

— Wednesday 05/23: Rita White, Sallie DuPont and Mary Kay Alford

— Thursday 05/24: Rep. Jay Morris, former Rep. Harold Ritchie, Stephen Ledet and Terri Broussard Williams

— Friday 05/25: Government relations pro Tom Spradley, LaPolitics’ Mary Burleigh and Forest Bradley Wright

— Saturday 05/26: Michelle Southern and Lee Domingue

— Sunday 05/27: Former Rep. Charmaine Marchand, JJ Buquet and Campbell Robertson

— Monday 05/28: Late Gov. John McKeithen (1918) and Kyle Ruckert


WEDDINGS & ANNIVERSARIES 

— Sue and Don Lincoln celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on Saturday!

— Beth and Bob Courtney celebrate 32 years today!

— Alexander Alford (no relation to Jeremy) and Ellie Romair tied the knot this weekend at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. Congrats, newlyweds!


Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it. We want to know about your special day. Send those dates to news@LaPolitics.com!

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Got a hot tip? Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!

Issue 1205

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS | May 16, 2019 | Issue 1205 | News@LaPolitics.com | @LaPoliticsNow | LaPolitics.com You’ve Been

Issue 1204

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS | May 9, 2019 | Issue 1204 | News@LaPolitics.com | @LaPoliticsNow | LaPolitics.com Keeping the

Issue 1203

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS | May 2, 2019 | Issue 1203 | News@LaPolitics.com | @LaPoliticsNow | LaPolitics.com Double

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

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

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker {  S P O N S O R E D   B Y   H A R R I S ,   D e V I L L E   &   A S S O

Issue 1201

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS | April 18, 2019 | Issue 1201 | News@LaPolitics.com | @LaPoliticsNow | LaPolitics.com What Will

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    April 15, 2019    |    Issue 183    |    News@LaPolitics.com    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |   

Issue 1199

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS   |   April 4, 2019   |   Issue 1199   |   News@LaPolitics.com   |

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    April 2, 2019    |    Issue 181    |    News@LaPolitics.com    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |   

Issue 1197

By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    March 21, 2019    |    Issue 1197    | 

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

   By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    March 19, 2019    |    Issue 179 

Issue 1196

LaPolitics Weekly B y   J E R E M Y   A L F O R D   &   M I T C H   R A B A L A I S Issue 1,196  

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

   By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    March 12, 2019    |    Issue 178 

Issue 1195

By   JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS Issue 1,195                        

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS February 26, 2019   |

Issue 1194

B y   J E R E M Y   A L F O R D   &   M I T C H   R A B A L A I S Issue 1,194        

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS February 19, 2019

POD: Donelon, Disco & the Dividends of Defeat

https://soundcloud.com/lapolitics/donelon-disco-the-dividends-of-defeat  In the latest episode of The LaPolitics Report podcast,

Issue 1,193

Issue 1,193 - February 14, 2019 By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais Dollars & Question Marks Abraham’s ante, Gumbo coming

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

ROLL CALL St. Tammany emerges at center of gubernatorial campaign… John Gallagher talks 2019 municipal races… A look back at the

Issue 1192

Issue 1192 - February 7, 2019 By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais Keeping Their Powder Dry GOP wants to see movement in

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

February 5, 2019 — Issue No. 174 By Jeremy Alford (JJA@LaPolitics.com) & Mitch

Son of a Preacher Man: Bob Mann Speaks

https://soundcloud.com/lapolitics/son-of-a-preacher-man-bob-mann-speaks For our latest episode of The LaPolitics

Issue 1191 – Washington Mardi Gras

By Jeremy Alford and Mitch Rabalais WMG 2019! A Candidate Invasion, Party-vators & 3,000 Politicos You may have fun back

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker,Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates January 29, 2019 - Issue No. 173 By Jeremy Alford