Louisiana Politics: Hundreds of laws slated for enactment
As the state stretches its governmental legs in this new fiscal year that commenced July 1, departments and agencies are preparing to enact, in some cases shape and most importantly enforce hundreds of news laws that were approved during the recent regular session.
On Thursday, Aug. 1, a large portion of the policy-making yield from the session will become law, courtesy of 254 bills that were endorsed by the House, Senate and governor.
All around the state there are roadways about to be renamed, like a portion of LA 34 in Jackson Parish that will become the “Second Lieutenant Harvel Moore Memorial Highway” at the beginning of next month. New regulations and guidelines will also be put forth to address hazing, human trafficking, real estate transactions, care in animal shelters and school safety reporting requirements, to name just a few issues that originated as bills and eventually became acts.
The laws going into effect Aug. 1 represent roughly 60 percent of the 423 bills passed through the process this past spring, with 282 originating in the House and 141 in the Senate. More than 100 acts from the regular session have already taken hold, while the remainder have varying effective dates that stretch into 2020 or, in certain instances, will depend upon the passage of constitutional amendments.
Many of the changes to be implemented Aug. 1 will go unnoticed to some, yet they are far-reaching and diverse. Boards and commissions both big and small, for example, such as the Iberville Parks and Recreation District and the South Louisiana Port Commission, will see changes to its memberships or oversight due to the bills passed during the 2019 regular session.
Funds and fees to bankroll government operations will be created on Aug. 1 as well, alongside a slew of new prestige license plates that drivers will be able to pay extra for, like the upcoming “War of 1812” and “Spanish Heritage” plates. The definition of an abortion will be revised, updated guidelines for post-conviction DNA testing will be triggered and it will be-come a crime to threaten a law enforcement officer via social media.
A family member of a slain law enforcement officer will also finally be allowed to purchase their loved one’s duty firearm upon death come Aug. 1. The state’s land-based casino in New Orleans will likewise enter into its new operating contract, en-hanced labeling for milk products will be launched and all of the costs related to prospective bond, debt and tax elections will have to be disclosed and published.
Learn more about the new laws taking effect on Aug. 1 by visiting www.Legis.La.Gov.
Incumbent unfurling media campaign in governor’s race
The re-election campaign of Gov. John Bel Edwards already spent more than $260,000 during the first quarter on its media operations, from shooting online ads to placing sizable adver-tising buys on radio statewide, according to the latest finance report on file with the state Ethics Administration.
Now the Associated Press is reporting that Edwards has become the first official candidate to go up on television with a “seven-figure ad buy,” meaning the re-election campaign is positioned to at least quadruple its media budget during the second quarter of the year.
The new ad reportedly contrasts Edwards against former Gov. Bobby Jindal, and it’s likely to be the first of many spots supporting the Democratic incumbent.
So far Edwards’ campaign, based on the finance reports available for review, has spent $200,000 on traditional media operations and $60,000 on digital media during the first quarter. Of that tally,$135,000 went into radio messaging during March alone.
Among the media firms the campaign is working with are Bright Moments of New Orleans, which was paid $4,400 last quarter; Arsement Media Group of Lafayeytte, $55,000; and Anne Lewis Strategies of Washington, DC, $38,000.
Edwards has two declared GOP opponents, including Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto, who had $1 million in the bank at the close of the first quarter, and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, who was able to match Edwards’ $10 million in cash on hand largely through personal loans.
Political History: Alexander Hamilton and the Louisiana spy
Later this week (July 11, 1804) will mark the 215th anniversary of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton being mortally wounded in a dual.
It was a legendary political battle — literally and figuratively — that culminated in Weehawken, New Jersey, pitting the 49-year-old Hamilton against the 48-year-old Aaron Burr, then the nation’s third vice president.
Burr claimed he was insulted by Hamilton and demanded the duel to save face. He indeed got the last word, as Hamilton was shot and died just a day later.
Charges were brought against Burr and a grand jury got involved, but nothing stuck and he served out the remainder of his term as vice president.
That’s when Burr headed southwest, reportedly to conspire with Gen. James Wilkinson, the future governor of the Louisiana Territory, about carving a new form of government out of the region.
In the mid-1800s, Louisiana historian Charles Gayarré was able to prove that Wilkinson was actually a high-ranking spy for the Spanish Empire.
As for the Burr incident, however, Wilkinson’s role has taken on a softer tone, since it was him who personally alerted President Thomas Jefferson of Burr’s intentions to secretly liberate Spain’s American colonies.
They Said It
“I’ll have a talk with my-self.” —State Senate President John Alario, when asked if he would consider running for the House again, in The Advocate
“My life has been so charmed.” —Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, in the USA Today Network of Louisiana Newspapers