The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker

Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

December 11, 2018 / Issue No. 168






Cameron Henry offers a preview

from the right in this week’s Q&A


LaPolitics: We’ve had two REC meetings in the last two weeks. Both you and Speaker Taylor Barras have voted against raising the revenue forecast. Why do you believe that the REC needs to hold off on changing the forecast?

Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry: If you look at the first meeting and then the meeting two weeks later, they actually prove the point that with more information the numbers change. So within a two week period we lost about $20 million for the current fiscal year and about $70 to $80 million dollars for the next fiscal year.

So the logic was, we don’t have enough data, let’s wait a couple more months. The more information we get, the more accurate they become. I believe the speaker actually spoke to that in committee saying that the percentage that REC is wrong within the first couple of months is right at about 7 to 8 percent, and as we get closer to the end of the fiscal year, it gets close to 1 or 2 percent.

So like anything else, the more information you have the better the decision you can make. If you want to hurry up and spend this money, let’s hold off until we get to the supplemental bill like we traditionally do. If the money is there, we will be able to spend it as we normally do.

The governor’s budget for the next fiscal year is set to be presented to JCLB in February. Is there a timetable or deadline for when you and the speaker want to have a revenue estimate in place?

Well, we haven’t gotten to that point yet. Traditionally, we spend this money, the money that comes in, during session in the supplemental bill. So that’s really what you are looking at. I believe in the Constitution there are certain dates that we are supposed to have it. I don’t believe that we have necessarily followed those in the past.

But you know, the longer you can wait, the more realistic your goal becomes. Do I think we are going to have one before February? I don’t know. I don’t know how much more information will be gathered at that point. It seems to be that the longer that we wait, the more accurate we become, so that seems to be the best strategy at this point.

You have said that you would support a rollback of some of the taxes that were passed in the last special session in the event of a surplus. Has there been any discussion amongst yourself and some of the other members about filing a bill to that effect during the regular session?

No. Obviously, I know that there is some talk around the Capitol about people doing that. I think the logic makes sense whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, for the tax or against the tax. If it is truly a temporary tax, then you need to start preparing for that tax to roll off in seven years from now.

You’re not just going to cut $2 billion out of the budget seven years from now. That’s unrealistic. So if you start slowly scaling it back now, then when it comes off you’re only talking about maybe a quarter of a penny that rolls off, and you’re slowly moving toward that. It’s unrealistic and, I think, disingenuous to say that you are going to all of a sudden cut $2 billion from the budget seven years from now. I don’t think that makes sense.

The governor has said that the delay with REC may jeopardize the pay raise for teachers that he wants to pass in the regular session. You have disagreed with this characterization. Do you think it is possible to pass the teacher pay raise in spite of the REC’s delay?

Yeah. I mean, passing the teacher pay raise is one thing, and I think the governor’s point is about funding the teacher pay raise. That breaks down to what he makes a priority in his budget. He has done this scenario over and over again with LSU football, nursing homes — if you don’t do this, something bad is going to happen, so hurry up and give me more money.

Well, he has got a dollar amount to use, he’s got some priorities that he wants to fund, then he funds them. Then the Legislature takes a look at them and sees if we like those priorities, and if not, we’ll move some things around.

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates



HDA client BASF recently presented Ascension Parish’s High School Robotics Team with a $6,000 donation. The donation will support the team as it builds and programs competition robots to participate in VEX Robotics events.  The team is comprised of students from all four Ascension Parish high schools, which include Dutchtown, St. Amant, Donaldsonville and East Ascension. The donation is part of BASF’s ongoing efforts to promote and improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to local students.  This is the sixth year that BASF supports the team. The company also provides several employee volunteers to support and mentor the team during the year.


Just in case you went home early…

— TWO DIFFERENT DUDES: U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy split on the Farm Bill this afternoon, yes and no respectively.

— MUSICAL CHAIRS, A REFRESHER... Via The AP's Melinda Deslatte... "In the House, Mary DuBuisson, a Slidell Republican, won Saturday’s election to fill the remaining term of Republican Greg Cromer, who resigned after winning election as Slidell’s mayor. DuBuisson is a former Cromer aide. Elected to the House in November was Stuart Moss, a Republican and former Sulphur city councilman. He’ll take over the rest of the term of Mike Danahay, a Democrat elected mayor of Sulphur earlier this year. Seven more House seats are open, after lawmakers staring down term limits were elected or took jobs elsewhere... Voters will choose new lawmakers for those vacant seats in a Feb. 23 primary and, if needed, a March 30 runoff."

— IT'S THE ECONOMY, BRUH... Via @theadvocatebr: "A brand new German instrument manufacturing plant in Geismar will creat 120 permanent jobs. The project is forecasted to cost $22.5 million. Both the job numbers and projected costs are higher than initially anticipated."

— DADS, DAUGHTERS & PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE: "Although it’s not uncommon for a daughter to follow a parent into a law career, it’s more than a little unusual to follow one into legislative administration. But that’s what Morgan Speer did. She’s the calendar clerk for the Colorado Senate. Her dad? He’s Alfred W. 'Butch' Speer, longtime clerk of the Louisiana House of Representatives..." (READ MORE)

@WillSentell: "After lengthy discussion, BESE committee approves new charter school for Avoyelles Parish. Red River Charter Academy. 6-12. Vote was 7-4. Final approval expected Wednesday." YOUR POLITICAL HISTORY


Avery “The Rev” Alexander left

a lasting legacy in Louisiana

In the long history of the Louisiana Legislature, few members have had as much of an impact as Avery Caesar Alexander. Other lawmakers looked up to him, literally, and “The Rev,” as everyone knew him, towered over non-elected folks, too. It’s said that Alexander never met a prayer he couldn’t tackle with soul, and there was never a steak too big enough for him to eat over rounds of laughter and fellowship.

But Alexander’s true legacy took place outside the limestone walls of the Capitol. He was a trailblazer, having helped lead the fight for equality in Louisiana during the Civil Rights movement. Reflecting on his 1999 passing, fellow activist Rudy Lombard told The Times-Picayune, “He was a first-rate, upfront, in-the-trenches warrior. A fearless kind of person. He always took the courageous and right position. He deserves a lot more praise than he ever got.”

Alexander was born in Terrebonne Parish in 1910 and shortly thereafter moved to New Orleans. As a young man, he worked as a longshoreman on the riverfront and became active in his local union. In fact, his interest in politics was sparked by his union membership and it encouraged him to obtain a political science degree from Southern University. Upon graduation, Alexander went to the Union Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans and became an ordained minister in 1944.

With a Machiavellian degree from a university and a masters in compassion from the Lord, Alexander marched across the South with Dr. Martin Luther King and participated in voter registration drives. He then returned to New Orleans to lead protests in Louisiana, prompting the now-infamous sit-in at City Hall that resulted in news cameramen filming his arrest. The images of The Rev being carried by his heels up a flight of stairs by NOPD officers remains seared into the memories of those who wore witness.

Elected office finally found Alexander in the 1970s, starting with positions with the Louisiana Democratic Party and then a delegate slot to the 1973 Constitutional Convention. In 1975, Alexander won election to an open seat in the House of Representatives, joining many of the personalities he had met on the Convention floor.

Three years later, he joined with other newly-elected African American members and then-House Speaker E.L. “Bubba” Henry to create the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. That move not only made Alexander a political force inside the rails, but it opened the floodgates amongst the Legislature’s various factions. Soon enough Jefferson Parish legislators wanted their own delegation, and so on and so forth…


Last call for legislation…

Both chambers are racing to wrap up their legislative priorities before the term ends. With the Dec. 21 deadline for a government shutdown looming, members are worried that they will be spending Christmas on Capitol Hill haggling over funding bills and spending.

Other legislative matters still up for consideration include President Donald Trump’s criminal justice reform bill, The First Step Act; a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller; a resolution to cut foreign aid to Saudi Arabia; a long-term extension of the National Flood Insurance program; and the Farm Bill.

— While he is spending the vast majority of his week in Washington, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy will be in New Orleans Friday, participating in the ribbon cutting ceremonies for a new Veterans Affairs research facility.

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to speak about Gov. John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reforms and the issues and problems with the program that he has seen as a senator. Kennedy is also continuing his meetings with House members to try to secure passage of his bill that would give a six month extension to the National Flood Insurance Program.

— House Majority Whip Steve Scalise will be spending almost his entire week whipping votes as the GOP leadership enters tense negotiations with the Democrats over a spending bill to keep the government running through Christmas. At the center of the negotiations is the funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, an issue that the Whip has been supportive of.

— Congressman Clay Higgins will be participating in hearings of the Veterans Affairs committee this week as they consider legislation that would reform and streamline the claims appeal process for veterans seeking assistance from the federal government. Higgins will also be recognizing students from St. Thomas More school in Lafayette as part of the Congressional App Challenge.

— Congressman Mike Johnson officially takes up his new post as chairman of the Republican Study Committee this week. Tuesday morning, Johnson questioned Google executives in a Judiciary Committee hearing on data manipulation during the 2016 presidential election. He also spoke to Fox Business about his thoughts on Robert Mueller’s probe and the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham has signed off on the conference committee report on the Farm Bill as the group finally wraps up months of negotiations. A vote on the new version of the Farm Bill is expected by Thursday. Abraham has signaled his intention to support the legislation.

— Congressman Garret Graves will be meeting with colleagues and federal agencies throughout the week, trying to garner more support for his bill to remove all disaster recovery functions from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Graves will also be joining EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler later today to announce the rewriting of significant parts of federal wetlands regulations.


Congressman Ralph Abraham makes it official and intends to win the governor’s race

— Can Doc and Eddie Rispone keep it clean?

— What is the situation with Abraham’s campaign kitty?

JBE’s quiet (and secret) re-election allies

— New hires joining Team Rispone

— How U.S. Sen. John Kennedy got involved in the race for secretary of state

— Will Con-Con be off the table for the regular session?

— What Congressman Mike Johnson has planned for the Republican Study Committee

— Three #LaLege race updates in the Watchlist

— Congressman Cedric Richmond’s calls lead off our “They Said It!” feature

Get on the inside today with a subscription to LaPolitics Weekly!

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates




As Sasol progresses through the commissioning phase

of its world-scale petrochemical complex in Louisiana,

the company is also building growth for Louisiana businesses.


“Sasol’s project is good for Southwest Louisiana because it brings in jobs,

new opportunities, attention to our area and improved infrastructure.

Sasol has provided high volumes of work, which has also provided small

businesses the chance to grow.”

Matt Barber, Parish Disposal Industries


Matt Barber is the general manager of Parish Disposal Industries (PDI).

Based in Lake Charles, PDI is a construction debris and refuse

hauling company that hauled refuse and construction debris

for Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemicals Project since construction began.


Hear Matt’s story.


Learn more at


The News-Star: “Republican Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder is opting out of next year's governor's race, saying he will stand for reelection in 2019 rather than challenge Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.”

— Monday, Rep. Kenny Havard officially vacated his seat in HD 62 and took office as West Feliciana Parish

The Times-Pic: “Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said new voting machines will not be in place for the 2019 fall election cycle when the governor, attorney general, four other statewide elected positions and all 144 members of the Louisiana Legislature will be picked.”

— Former U.S. senators J. Bennett Johnston and Mary Landrieu have joined with 42 other former senators and authored an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for the upper chamber to act as a check on the White House in light of Robert Mueller’s probe.

Politico has named Lauren Fine, Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s press secretary, as one of their “19 to watch in 2019.” The list assembled “highlights politicians, activists and operatives across the country who are positioned to play a critical role in the political landscape leading up to 2020.”

— In a speech to the Press Club, Baton Rouge businessman Jim Bernhard announced his plans to spearhead a private effort to build a new bridge over the Mississippi River in the Capital City.

KATC: “Melville Police Chief challenger Cleven Clark is out on bond. Clark was arrested last night and booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail. He’s accused of hitting a Melville police officer who rode past his daughter’s home with sirens going off in celebration after Chief Anthony Moreau won re-election.”

— Thursday, LaPolitics deputy editor and resident historian, Mitch Rabalais, will be speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Acadiana at their monthly meeting in Lafayette. He will be touching on what to expect in the upcoming election year, what’s next in the regular session and along with plenty of his Huey Long and Edwin Edwards stories.

— Congressional Aide Michael Willis’ Bad Joke of the Week: “What is a sheep's favorite Christmas song? Fleece Navidad!”

It’s Almost Christmas Y’all!

Need client gifts? How about your board?

We’re willing to bet you know a political junkie or two…



What We’re Putting In Your Stocking

The Politics of Reform:
PAR: 50 Years of Changing Louisiana

by John Maginnis (Out of Print!)

The Last Hayride
by John Maginnis
(Optioned by HBO)

Cross to Bear: America’s Most Dangerous Politics
by John Maginnis (Optioned by HBO)

by Tyler Bridges & Jeremy Alford

Plus a discounted one-year gift subscription to LaPolitics Weekly (Just in time for 2019!)

Email or call 225-772-2518 for more information


— Tuesday, Dec. 11: Rep. Joe Stagni, Brian Pope and Harrison Golden

— Wednesday, Dec. 12: Former Sen. Mike Michot, former Sen. Butch Gautreaux, Ashley Busada and JR Whaley

— Thursday, Dec. 13: Former Rep. Stephen Ortego and Michelli Martin

— Friday, Dec. 14: Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, Former Rep. Austin Badon, Matt Beynon and Leslie Davis

— Saturday, Dec. 15: The Very Lovely Karron Alford, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, former Rep. Joe Harrison, Donna Brazile, Paige Hensgens Hightower and Ben Lemoine

— Sunday, Dec. 16: Former Rep. Jack Smith, Teri Smith Hutchinson and Erin Monroe Wesley

— Monday, Dec. 17: Former Rep. Lenar Whitney and Charlie Whinham

Copyright © 2018

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker



Phone: 225-772-2518

Mail: Post Office Box 44511, Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Fax: 225-612-6408

Twitter: @LaPoliticsNow

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