The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

   By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |   May 28, 2019    |    Issue 189   |    News@LaPolitics.com    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |    LaPolitics.com     


Your Roll Call

Sharon Hewitt talks budget and marathon Finance hearings… A look back at the 1990 debate on abortion... John AlarioJim Henderson and Terry Bradshaw have been spotted... New associate dean named at the Manship School... Sports betting is dead... Senate Finance advances the budget... Mitch McConnell heading to Acadiana for a fundraiser…


Capitoland Countdown

9 days until sine die… 70 days until qualifying opens... 123 days until early voting starts…137 days until the primary elections... 172 days until the runoff elections... 231 days left in the term…


THE LEAD YOU NEED

Q&A with Sen. Sharon Hewitt

LaPolitics: Last night, we had a Late Night with the Senate Finance Committee … What is your opinion of the budget that was sent to the full floor yesterday evening?

Sen. Sharon Hewitt: “I liked the budget that we finally put together. I think we’re addressing many of the needs that were expressed during the testimony in Senate Finance. $12 million or so of new money in for early education. Higher education has gotten more funding then they have in the last decade. The disability community received much needed funding to increase their rates, which haven’t been increased since 2008. You know, I think we’re supporting every agency. It’s never to the level that they would like, but I think that it is supporting programs that are important to my constituents.”

As we’ve seen, the budget has been easily one of the most controversial pieces of legislation this term. Do you expect to see any hiccups in the process or do you expect this one to maintain easy passage?

“I don’t really expect any hiccups. The most obvious difference still between the House and the Senate has to do with the level of the teacher pay raises and the additional $39 million that would go back to the districts. We chose to keep that in the budget. I think there’s a good argument for supporting that, and so I think we have a very, again, very well-balanced budget. Not only is it balanced in terms of dollars and cents, but it’s balanced in the priorities of the state.”

So this is your first term here in the Capitol. What’s the experience been like being on the Senate Finance Committee this term because it certainly seems like it’s been a whirlwind?

“Finance is a big commitment. You know we were here until 10:30 last night. We put in a lot of extra time to try to understand the needs of the state for every agency, and so no matter how much time you spend, it seems like you never have the information that you need to fully understand their challenges. And then of course, part of our job on finance is to still keep the pressure on so that we’re still trying to keep our expenses as low as possible and still deliver the services and the programs that we think are important. And so we work very hard to try to keep the budget from becoming inflated. This is still the largest budget that we’ve ever had in the history of the state. I have great concerns as you know about the growing rate of statutory dedications and fees and self-generated revenue. It’s almost about 50 percent of what the state spends in total, and we spend very little time focused on those. So while the state general fund is about $9.8 million, we have about $8.7 million in fees and self-generated revenues and stat deds added together. So that’s part of the budget that we are allowing other people to make decisions on how to spend and the Legislature has not been as involved in that as I think that we should be. And it’s growing, and so that will continue to be an area focus for me.”   


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A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates  

The Economic Benefits of Louisiana’s Chlorine Chemistry Industry

Louisiana is home to one of the largest salt dome outcroppings in the United States. This is where chlorine and sodium hydroxide manufacturing begins. With 28 salt dome caverns in 17 parishes, Louisiana has been mining salt (brine) for more than 60 years. 

Louisiana’s chlorine producers are critical to the state’s economic growth and produce 35 to 40 percent of the nation’s chlorine capacity annually. The chlorine chemistry industry employs more than 17,000 people in Louisiana, making up 13 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state. 

Every year, Louisiana’s chlorine chemistry industry generates $1.8 billion in earnings. Additionally, a total of 29,700 jobs in the state are supported indirectly by industry activity through supply-chain linkages. 

For every chlorine chemistry industry job in Louisiana, a total of 3.2 jobs are created in other parts of Louisiana’s economy. In total, more than 72,000 jobs in Louisiana are supported by the chlorine chemistry industry. 

Combined, these economic impacts generate $4.1 billion in earnings and $713 million in state and local taxes. To learn more about the chlorine chemistry industry and its impact on Louisiana, go here

HDA client Solutions Through Science (STS) is a partnership of the chlor-alkali producers and users in the state of Louisiana. Its mission is to promote the benefits of chlorine chemistry and its many products through educational outreach and issues management. For more information, go to: www.stsla.org.


LOUISIANA POLITICAL HISTORY

#LaLege Debates Abortion  

This week, the House of Representatives will be taking up SB 184 by Sen. John Milkovich, the bill which would take the step of legally prohibiting the termination of a pregnancy if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 

This is not the first time that the Legislature has undertaken a debate on the nation’s most controversial issue. In 1990, then-Rep. Woody Jenkins authored a bill that would have made abortion a crime, punishable as a second degree murder. “I did not think that it was going to be as big of an issue as it turned out to be,” Jenkins told LaPolitics. 

The former lawmaker recalled nearly 10,000 protestors showing up at the Capitol to argue either for or against the measure. Some advocates went to extreme actions as well. As LaPolitics founder John Maginnis noted in Cross to Bear, the session saw then-Senate President Sammy Nunez receive a call that was supposedly from Pope John Paul II, but turned out to be from a 504 area code. 

Jenkins said he believes that the majority of the 1990 controversy stemmed from the fact that then-Gov. Buddy Roemer publicly weighted opposing the measure. Activists stepped up their game, hoping for a gubernatorial veto. "There was a confrontation between a pro-life legislature and a governor who was having second thoughts,” Jenkins said.

"Jenkins, holding up plastic models of fetuses, his 'little people,' fended off all efforts to weaken or even clarify his bill," Maginnis wrote. "It passed the House 74-27, sailed through the Senate and went to the governor's desk. He vetoed it." 

For the first time in Louisiana history, the Legislature moved to override a gubernatorial veto. The House passed the measure but it fell two votes short in the Senate. 

Although Roemer won the legislative battle on the bill, but lost almost all of his political capital in both chambers. 


S P O T T E D !

—Senate President John Alario was seen in Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon, enjoying Bayou Country Super Fest and even taking a few minutes to speak with some advocates about their legislative priorities. 

—Louisiana Tech alumnus and four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw was seen on his alma mater’s Ruston campus over the weekend, visiting with LaTech President Les Guice, UL System President Jim Henderson and bulldog mascot Tech XXII before the start of commencement ceremonies. 

—Sen. Rick Ward was seen holding the mic for Rep. Sam Jones during an interview Friday afternoon. 

—West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell was seen chatting with Sens. Francis Thompson and Mike Walsworth during her visit to the upper chamber last week. 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham was seen at the New Zion Baptist Church in Covington Sunday. 

Abraham was also spotted working the crowd at the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales over the weekend. 

—EDDIE’S EATS: Last week, gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone was seen enjoying an overstuffed po-boy at Bon Creole in New Iberia and grabbing a cup of coffee at a PJ’s in Jefferson Parish. 


Got a hot tip?

Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!


S T A F F   S H I F T S 

—LSU’s Manship School has named Dr. Josh Grimm as their new associate dean of undergraduate studies and administration. Grimm replaces Dr. Andrea Miller, who joined the faculty of University of North Texas as the dean of their journalism school. Grimm has been teaching at the Manship School since 2012. 


O N   T H E   C A L E N D A R

—Today is CODOFIL Day at the Capitol 

(en français: aujourd’hui est la journée de CODOFIL au Capitole

—The Louisiana Wing of the Civil Air Patrol will be in Memorial Hall this afternoon. 

—Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office will be having their outreach day at the Capitol today. Staffers from Ardoin’s office will be in Memorial Hall helping register voters and offering information about elections. 

—The Department of Agriculture will be having their “Certified Louisiana” reception at the Pentagon Barracks upon adjournment this evening. 

—Wednesday is 4-H day at the Capitol. 

—Hoopla, the annual House-Senate basketball game, is set for the evening on Monday, June 3 at the PMAC on LSU’s campus. Basketball insiders say that the undermanned upper chamber will be calling on LSU President F. King Alexander as their ace again this year. 


P O L I T I C A L   C H A T T E R

@MelindaDeslatte: “Senate Finance approves its version of next year’s $30B operating budget without objection. Next to full Senate for debate. #lalege #lagov” (Props to Melinda for attending Late Night with the Senate Finance Committee on Memorial Day) 

@SamKarlin: “For those counting at home, that's +$4.3 million in these amendments for early childhood education, bringing total in budget to $20 million. #lalege #lagov” 

—The Coastal Conservation Association CENLA chapter has honored Sen. Jay Luneau as their 2019 Legislative Champion. 

—Looziana’s top political cartoonist, Fred Mulhearn, is back with another humorous and artistic take on the proposed teacher pay raise. 

—Former Congressman Billy Tauzin took to Facebook to give his take on the partisan divide and political discord in Washington, D.C. 

—Congressman Garret Graves also took to Facebook, updating constituents on the duplication of benefits issue and the Morganza spillway in a virtual town hall. 

—According to The Concordia Sentinel, Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft walked the length of the city’s Memorial Day parade after a friendly challenge from Alderman Tron McCoy

The Daily Iberian: “Jurors in Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux’s heard testimony Thursday from his former Chief Deputy Clerk Ryan Huval and Clerk Tracy Hebert, both of whom provided evidence to the Louisiana State Police in its investigation of Thibodeaux for mishandling of office funds during his two-decade tenure.” 

—There is a third candidate in the race for St. Tammany Parish Sheriff. Former Deputy Nick Tranchina has joined the field. Former Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz has already announced his decision to challenge incumbent Sheriff Randy Smith, who is seeking re-election. 

—64 Parishes magazine took a look at the history of mental healthcare in the Bayou State, retelling the story of the East Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson.  

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


T H E   W A R   C H E S T   W A R

—U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in Sunset Wednesday evening for a fundraiser. The proceeds from the event will go to the Kentucky Republican’s re-election campaign next year. According to the invitation, both U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and U.S. Sen. John Kennedy will be in attendance as special guests, along with Attorney General Jeff Landry


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

The AP: “This year's legislative session is nearing its end with mixed results for Gov. John Bel Edwards, offering another year of defeats for minimum wage and equal pay issues that were central to his campaign promises, but containing few of the budget battles of prior years.” 

The Advocate: “Eddie Rispone, the wealthy Baton Rouge businessman-turned-GOP candidate for governor, finds his campaign in a bit of a dust-up over a West Baton Rouge billboard slogan.” 

—Catch the latest political analysis of the session from Jim Beam, the Dean of the Capitol Press Corps. 

The Advocate: “In a shocking turn of events on Friday, a freshman congressman from Texas blocked what was expected to be an easy passage of a $19 billion disaster aid package that would also prevent the National Flood Insurance Program from lapsing next week.” 

—RIVER WATCH from The News-Star: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Spillway on June 3 as expected, the corps announced Monday in a press release.”


B E L T W A Y   B E A T

—In a show of bipartisan unity, the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation penned a letter to President Donald Trump, asking the commander-in-chief to declare a federal emergency due to the Mississippi River's record high levels. 

—Majority Whip Steve Scalise has started practicing with the Republican team in preparation for the Congressional Baseball Game. According to Press Assistant Katie McKeogh, the Whip “hopes to reclaim his spot as second baseman for the game on June 26.” 

—Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson introduced legislation to eliminate some technicalities used to overturn previous convictions of sexual crimes.  

—Congressman Clay Higgins announced that he will introduce a bill to prevent the early release of convicted terrorists. 

—With the House in recess this week, Congressman Garret Graves will be holding open office hours and a "Grub with Garret" event in his district this week. 


WHAT YOU MISSED…

In Last Week’s LaPolitics Weekly

—#LaLege dives back into the nation’s most controversial issue 

—National eyes are on Baton Rouge and John Milkovich 

—How 2019’s bill is like 1990 

Francis Thompson gives his best tips for Capital Outlay 

—Clearing up the confusion about Louisiana Families First 

—A look back at Cousin Bob, Iberia Parish’s Hippo-Raising Congressman

—A St. George bill gains some traction

—AFP’s John Kay talks about the fall elections 

—A big development in the Big Easy in Inside the Rails 

John Alario jokes about committee appointments in They Said It! 

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


A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates 

LCA Recognizes Military Appreciation Month

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) would like to thank all of the current and retired military personnel throughout the state. We are eternally grateful for their dedication and sacrifice for our country.

Many of the same values held by our soldiers and veterans are essential to making the chemical industry and Louisiana not only a safer place to work, but a better place to live. The discipline, persistence and commitment to being a part of a mission larger than themselves are fundamental characteristics to the success of our military. Those ideals are also paramount to helping our communities and businesses thrive. 

That is why many chemical companies choose to invest in development programs to actively recruit veterans. 

LCA members such as Dow strive to provide opportunities for U.S. veterans in their facilities through their Military Degree Equivalence program. The program qualifies veterans who have four or more years of relevant military experience for jobs that require an associate's degree. Thanks to this program, Dow has welcomed 3.5 million American veterans into their workforce. 

As the industry in Louisiana expands, chemical companies will continue to offer greater opportunities for those who have served. 

To all of our military personnel – thank you for your service and thank you for making Louisiana better! 


# H B D ,   T R A C K E R S !

—Tuesday, May 28: Late Gov. John McKeithen (1918) and Kyle Ruckert

—Wednesday, May 29: Gifford Briggs, Michael “Have You Heard Any Good Ones?” Willis and Don Weathers

—Thursday, May 30: Sen. Jim Fannin, Rep. Gregory Miller, Jefferson Parish Councilman Dominick Impastato, Capt. John Walters, Andy Crawford, Veneeth Iyengar and Casey Hunnicutt

—Friday, May 31: Rep. Terry Landry and Mark Moseley

—Saturday, June 1: Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton, Charles Maldonado, Leslie Bourque, Patrick J. Harrington and Reldon Owens

—Sunday, June 2: Karla Loeb, Stephen Holliday, Nick Albares, Stephanie Hastings, Jesse T. Thompson, Sandy Mapes, LaTonya Smith Scott, Elaine Rodriguez Pearce and Kirk Thibodeaux


A N N I V E R S A R I E S

Congressman Ralph Abraham and his wife Dianne celebrated 44 years of marriage last Thursday.

Clancy DuBos and his wife Margo marked 33 years as “husband and boss” last week. 


E N G A G E M E N T

Emerge Louisiana Executive Director Melanie Oubre and consultant Eric McVicker have made it official. Our congratulations to the happy couple! 


Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it.

We want to know about your special day.

Send those dates to news@LaPolitics.com


Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker

Web: www.LaPolitics.com

Email: JJA@LaPolitics.com

Phone: 225-772-2518

Mail: Post Office Box 84779, Baton Rouge, LA 70884

Fax: 225-612-6408

Twitter: @LaPoliticsNow

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Issue 1207

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