The "Mood" at the Capitol
May 4, 2018
LaPolitics.com spent the past two days conducting on-the-record interviews with state legislators, including 23 representatives and nine senators. They asked two questions:
- Can you, in one sentence, define the current mood of the Louisiana Legislature?
- During your time as an elected official in the Capitol, has the mood of the Louisiana Legislature ever been more emotional or tense?
Of the lawmakers interviewed, 43.7 percent said the mood of the Louisiana Legislature has never been worse than it is right now. 31.3 percent said the mood was either unnoticeable or improving. 25 percent describe it using negative adjectives such as bad or stressful or troublesome.
Team LFF's mood continues to be positive. We are winning and will speak honor and present truth respectfully at the Louisiana Capitol. This week, we had the honor of joining the Governor, senators, and representatives, along with members of the faith community, for the National Day of Prayer. What joy to see elected leaders set aside titles, positions, and politics to pray, serve and read Scripture. My thanks to Governor John Bel Edwards for sharing his testimony of answered prayer and proclaiming May 3 as the Louisiana Day of Prayer. Thanks to the other officials, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Treasurer John Schroder Sr., Senator Gerald Long, Senator John Milkovich, Representatives Katrina Jackson, Kenny Cox, Sam Jenkins, and Chris Leopold. Other participants included Alcide Simmons, Bruce Lininger, Sancha Noel Smith, Dr. Johnny Cox, and a representative from Senator Cassidy's office.
Back in the trenches, pro-gambling legislators, lobbyists, and the media gave credit to LFF for neutralizing a bill which deregulated truck stop casinos. The bill is headed to the Governor, but only after LFF re-instituted fuel sales and reduced the number of video poker devices online in Louisiana.
Finally, it appears the media and others are beginning to grasp that moving riverboat casinos onto land will financially incentivize an enormous expansion of gambling and potentially threaten the state's agreement of exclusivity with Harrah's land-based casino. LFF has echoed that warning all along. Tyler Bridges of The Advocate continues to investigate how a no-bid contract renewal for Harrah's Casino is a bad deal for the state. Previously unrevealed information indicates that Harrah's may be preparing to "Flip that Casino," producing a windfall for Caesars Entertainment at a great loss to the people of Louisiana. This revelation prompted U.S. Senator John Kennedy to call for a slower more deliberative hearing on the bill. Harrah's, sensing trouble ahead, has offered to sweeten the deal.
Still, internet gambling on fantasy sports is on the Senate floor next week. Everyone acknowledges that this is an expansion of gambling. Hopefully, the Senate will defeat this measure to keep internet gambling out of our children's easy reach.
Pro-life bills have fared well this week and a bill which would ban all abortions in Louisiana after 15-weeks is headed to the House. An LFF-backed bill to ensure free speech on college campuses overcame a hostile attempt by university officials to limit speech. It comes up for House vote this week.
- HB91 by Rep. Thibaut - Increases race track casino gaming capacity - PASSED SENATE JUDICIARY B
- HB449 by Rep. Edmonds - Incorporates adoption information as part of the Woman's Right to Know - PASSED THE SENATE
- HB488 by Rep. Amedee - Adds the crime of female genital mutilation to the list of crimes against a child - PASSED SENATE JUDICIARY C
- HB510 by Rep. Barras - Louisiana Checkbook website to provide more information to the public on how state spends money - PASSED THE HOUSE
- HB625 by Rep. Edmonds - Maternity leave for teachers who adopt a child - PASSED SENATE EDUCATION
- HB650 by Rep. Foil - 529 plan for K-12. The 529 college savings vehicle in which earnings on the savings are not taxable would also be used to pay tuition at any elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school - PASSED THE HOUSE
- SB316 by Sen. Johns - Riverboat casinos become "land boats" and expand gaming positions - PASSED HOUSE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- SB181 by Sen. Milkovich - 15-week abortion ban - PASSED HOUSE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- SB325 by Sen. Milkovich - Additional causes to suspend or revoke abortion facility license - PASSED THE SENATE
- SB364 by Sen. Ward - Protects free speech on college campuses - PASSED HOUSE EDUCATION
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