Archive for the ‘Louisiana Legislature’ Category

DA Says Not Enough Evidence to Challenge Campbell Candidacy

07/29/2020

The Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney’s Office said that “We did not find enough evidence to challenge” the candidacy of incumbent Fifth District Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell for the upcoming November 3 election.

The news was reported today in a Zach Parker story for the Ouachita Citizen (subscription required).

Lincoln Parish News Online had reported earlier this week on the complaint filed with the DA.

Campbell Candidacy Challenged

07/27/2020

A complaint has been filed with Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton asserting that Foster Campbell is not eligible to run for a fourth term as Public Service Commissioner from the Fifth PSC District.

Ruston Attorney Heath Hattaway wrote in his complaint:

Foster Campbell is prohibited by law from becoming a candidate for the Public Service Commission because he has served more than two and one-half (2 1/2) terms in three (3) consecutive terms at the time of qualification.

1. Foster Campbell was first elected to the Public Service Commission on November 5, 2002 by a mere 3,000 votes (hereafter, “Term 1”).
2. Foster Campbell was re-elected on October 4, 2008 (hereafter, “Term 2”).
3. Foster Campbell was re-elected on November 4, 2014 (hereafter, “Term 3”).
4. Foster Campbell qualified for Term 4 on July 22, 2020.

Because Foster Campbell has previously served three (3) consecutive terms of office without the requisite two (2) year wait period found in Article IV, Section 22 (A), he would appear to be ineligible for office under the Louisiana Constitution.

Additionally, while there is a “special privilege” for persons who held the office in 2008 (Foster Campbell was in Term 2 of the office during this time), the Constitution is clear that an exception to the “special privilege” would prohibit him from seeking a Fourth Term during this election because the prior terms (Term 1, Term 2, and Term 3) are counted when considering whether a Fourth Term is permissible under the Constitution. See supra.

As such, I am objecting to his qualification for office under La. Rev. Stat.§ 18:492 A. (4) and submit this evidence to your office in accord with La. Rev. Stat. § 18:491 B.

See here the documents.

And Just Like That – No Free Ride for Foster Campbell @ PSC

07/23/2020

Long-time readers of Lincoln Parish News Online will recall our coverage for several years of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury. Since 2007, District E has been represented by Shane Smiley. He served as the body’s President much of that time. That district covers much of North Monroe and the Swartz area.

Yesterday, Smiley filed as a candidate for the Fifth District of Louisiana’s Public Service Commission, challenging incumbent Foster Campbell.

Campbell, 73, is a career politician. He first won election to the PSC in 2003. Prior to that, for 26 years he had been a state senator from the 36th Senate District. Campbell has also run for U. S. Congress, U. S. Senate, and Louisiana Governor.

Smiley is a Republican and Campbell is a Democrat.

Also notable is another name from the OPPJ, Scotty Robinson.

Robinson yesterday filed as a candidate for U. S. Congress, Fifth District.

Bel Edwards Mask Order Doesn’t Cover Much

07/13/2020

Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says it will not enforce Edwards’ mandatory mask order going into effect Monday

By Zach Parker

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says it will not enforce Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mandate issued Saturday that anyone in public must wear a mask as of Monday, though people could still face criminal charges in certain circumstances.

The Sheriff’s Office noted Edwards’ order was a mandate, not a law.

“Many are questioning the enforcement guidelines that will be taken regarding the mandate,” said Glenn Springfield, the sheriff’s public information officer. “This is a mandate, not a law. In announcing the mandate, Governor Edwards himself says it will not be enforceable by law enforcement agencies.”

Livingston Parish won’t enforce the state’s mask mandate, Layton Ricks says

By Youssef Rddad

Livingston Parish will not penalize people people who don’t wear a mask in public, local leaders said Monday, even though the parish’s coronavirus caseload is four times the rate needed to be exempt from a new state mandate requiring masks be worn in public

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said in a statement Monday that while he encourages people to take precautions from getting sick, local authorities will not “strictly enforce” the state mandate, including citing people.

Face mask mandate likely won’t be included in Louisiana school reopening rules

While Louisiana’s top school board meets Tuesday to approve emergency health safety rules for the reopening of public schools, the panel is expected to stop just short of mandating that students and adults wear face masks.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to approve guidelines that mostly mirror minimum safety standards issued by the state Department of Education on June 25 to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

That report recommended, but did not mandate, that students in the third grade and adults wear face masks “to the maximum extent possible” in schools.

More “Essential Activity” in NOLA, Baton Rouge

06/04/2020

LSU president meets with protesters gathered on campus, offers support

Chick-fil-A on Siegen Lane closes as protesters gather nearby

Protesters make it onto highway in New Orleans for the second straight night

Blocking Interstate 10 Traffic in NOLA Deemed “Essential”

06/03/2020

New Orleans protesters take over I-10, stopping traffic for two hours

New Orleans, La. (WGNO) –

On Tuesday (June 2), a group of hundreds marched from Duncan Plaza to the Tulane Avenue on- ramp to I-10, and proceeded to walk on the interstate as far as the Esplanade Avenue exit to the east.

At about 8:30 pm, the NOPD tweeted that drivers should avoid the area, but allowed the protesters to march. Some stayed on one side of the interstate, while others crossed over the concrete median, blocking traffic in both directions.

At about 9 pm, the protesters were met by a line of law enforcement, including state troopers in regular uniforms, and NOPD officers, some carrying shields and some in tactical gear.

The protesters shouted slogans at the officers for about an hour, before walking down the interstate off-ramps. There were no reports of any violence or destruction of property, and NOPD Superintendent Sheaun Ferguson wants to keep it that way.

Another Louisiana Town Mutinies Against Bel Edwards

05/13/2020

Many, LA mayor won’t enforce governor’s proclamation effective Friday

By Vicki Welborn – KTBS-TV3, Shreveport, LA

MINDEN, La. – Many Mayor Ken Freeman is lifting all restrictions in the town on Friday and said he no longer will actively enforce the governor’s latest proclamation.

He’s leaving it up to the town’s residents to do what they think is best to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

And for local merchants who want to open their businesses, the only suggestion coming from Freeman is encouraging them to have their employees wear masks, sanitize counters and shopping buggies, maintain a screen between clerks and customers and practice social distancing.

“In the last three months of federal, local and state proclamations, I think that we, the people, fully understand the risk and dangers of the (coronavirus). I believe we also understand what measures we must take to protect ourselves, family and community from this danger,” Freeman said in a statement.

He notes that Gov. John Bel Edwards during the same time frame has not enforced his emergency proclamation, instead relying on local governments and “most of all citizens voluntarily adhering to his proclamation.”

Louisiana Legislative Auditor Forecasts Local Revenue Shortfall Amounts

05/12/2020

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor issued late last week a forecast of estimated revenue losses for local governments for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 (which ends 6/30/2020), and fiscal year 2021 (which runs 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021). The forecast has an optimistic and pessimistic estimate of revenue losses.

From the summary:

We estimate that parish governing authorities, municipalities, school boards, and sheriffs will collectively experience revenue losses in sales, ad valorem, and severance taxes and mineral royalties ranging from $404.7 million to $1.1 billion (2.3% to 6.9%) during fiscal years 2020 and 2021, with an average total loss of $787.5 million (4.6%).

These losses would be between 1.0% to 2.8% of total local government revenues from all sources, or 1.4% to 4.0% of general revenues (which excludes grants and charges for services). These estimates are based on assumptions that the number of people employed in Louisiana will decrease by 197,000 to 317,000 (as distinguished from unemployment claims) and will take two to five years to recover, along with other specific assumptions about different sectors of the state’s economy, as explained in Appendix A of the report.

See here the summary.

The report also estimates revenue losses for all the local governmental agencies in the state – cities, towns, schools, sheriffs, police juries, etc.

For Lincoln Parish, the report forecasts the following averages:

Muncipalities:

2020 – $567 thousand reduction (-3.3%)
2021 – $1.2 million reduction (-7.4%)

Police Jury:

2020 – $207 thousand reduction (-1.6%)
2021 – $379 thousand reduction (-3.1%)

School Distict:

2020 – $751 thousand reduction (-2.0%)
2021 – $1.5 million reduction (-5.0%)

Sheriff:

2020 – $94 thousand reduction (-1.3%)
2021 – $188 thousand reduction (-2.6%)

See here the complete report.

Again this is but a forecast, and the actual shortfalls may vary, depending upon how quickly Gov. Bel Edwards ends the economic lockdowns that have been in place since mid-March, and how quickly Louisiana’s economy recovers, if ever, from that self-inflicted economic injury.

All this is a stark lesson to the public sector that ALL your revenues ultimately originate with businesses and taxpayers who work there. It is in the best economic interest of the public sector to encourage a healthy, growing economy.

Otherwise, you all die of revenue starvation.

Economic Lockdown Decimates State’s Budget

05/11/2020

$1 billion hit from coronavirus for Louisiana’s budget, early estimates show

By Sam Karlin – The (Baton Rouge, LA) Advocate

Louisiana’s budget is projected to take a $1 billion hit as the coronavirus hammers the state’s businesses and workers, according to economists who took their first stab at forecasting the financial toll Monday, with oil prices and sluggish sales taxes expected to drag the budget down dramatically.

The Revenue Estimating Conference, a panel that decides how much money the state has to spend on things like colleges, K-12 schools, health care and a host of other state services, voted to adopt a revenue forecast that is about $1 billion lower than the previous forecast.

That billion-dollar hit will take place in the budget year beginning July 1, and includes all types of revenue. The state general fund was downgraded by $867 million. Lawmakers are crafting the budget for that fiscal year in the ongoing legislative session.

Cratering oil prices did much of the damage to the budget. Albrecht projected oil prices at $28 and Manfred Dix, the economist for the Edwards administration, forecast oil at $32 a barrel. The REC adopted Albrecht’s forecast, which was similar to Dix’s but featured a slightly smaller total drop in all revenues.

The projection adopted by the forecast also revises revenues downward by $362 million in the current fiscal year, including $123 less in the general fund. That number is not larger because the state already experienced three quarters of decent numbers, Albrecht said.

Both economists said they were highly uncertain in their projections. It is not clear how many people will return to businesses even once they’re allowed to, among many other unknowns.

Business closures mandated by Gov. Edwards to slow the spread of the virus has led to unprecedented levels of unemployment.

When the host dies, the parasite has nothing upon which to feed.

“Snitch” Feature Removed from LA Open Safely Website

05/07/2020

https://opensafely.la.gov/

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