Conscience Goes to Court!
Alliance Defending Freedom | March 2018

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of NIFLA v. Becerra. The Court will decide whether California’s Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency) Act may coerce pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for the abortion industry despite free speech protections under the First Amendment. The law requires licensed medical centers that offer free, life-affirming support to pregnant women to advise women on how to obtain a state-sponsored abortion. Pregnancy centers must also include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. Additionally, the law forces non-medical pregnancy centers to add large disclosures in multiple languages about their non-medical status in all advertisements, including billboards and newspaper ads, which obscure and crowd out their pro-life speech.

At Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), we work to preserve religious liberty from overreach and government intrusion and advocate for free speech, religious liberty, and the rights of the unborn. Our Team pursues this work in court, before legislatures, in governor’s mansions, and in the court of public opinion. LFF joined 41 Family Policy Organizations in filing an Amicus Brief in support of the petitioners, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).

This case is a symptom of a growing movement in America to undermine our First Amendment freedoms.

Louisiana Republicans Speak on Taxes
Jeremy Alford-LaPoliticsNow-BRBusiness Report | March 2018

The House Republican Delegation released this video underscoring the preference of many conservatives to pass a state budget that reduces spending without increasing taxes. While the imposition of taxes remains a trending topic at the Capitol, lawmakers aren’t allowed to touch the policy issue during the non-fiscal regular session that’s underway. Only regular sessions held during odd-numbered years can host debates on tax bills.

That’s why Gov. John Bel Edwards, House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, have a loose agreement in place to end the regular session early, enabling a second special session can be called, possibly in mid-May. But the idea of boosting tax revenue in that special session still doesn’t sit well with many in the House leadership. “Despite what some may say, you can’t spend your way out of debt,” Harris said in the video, flanked by a sampling of members of the GOP delegation that he chairs.

Harris, who represents the Alexandria region, released a separate video last week arguing that the budget shortfall could be in the neighborhood of $500 million. During the first special session of the year, the Edwards Administration asked lawmakers for enough tax changes to address a nearly $1 billion shortfall, but estimates for what that figure is today hover around $700 million. That’s due to an expected $302 million increase in revenue next fiscal year from federal tax changes, but there are likely other factors that could shrink the number. “We do not have a $1 billion budget deficit,” Harris said in the latest video release. “That’s a fact.”

Richard Carbo, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, took to Twitter to respond: “Every member in this video claims to want to ‘cut spending,’ but not a single member in this video has proposed specific cuts to balance the budget. All talk. No action."

Major Legislation Sought by Riverboat Casinos
The Advocate | March 2018

Riverboat casinos would move onto land and get more space for their slot machines. Racetracks would offer more slot machines and betting on sports.

Harrah’s would receive a 30-year extension in its state contract to operate a monopoly casino in New Orleans and would build another hotel. Truckstop casinos would face fewer restrictions for operating their video poker emporiums.

Gambling interests will be seeking legislative approval beginning Tuesday to make these changes — and others — in what represents the biggest effort to expand the state’s gambling laws since the modern creation of the industry in Louisiana in the early 1990s.

Promoters of the gambling measures say they will create or save jobs and will generate more tax revenue at a time when lawmakers are reluctant to raise income or sales taxes to fix the state’s budget shortfall.

Gene Mills, who is president of Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), said the various gambling interests are pushing 37 different bills.

Mills said his organization will oppose nearly all of the measures because they would either expand gambling or loosen existing regulations.

“There seems to be a coalescing around the idea that modernization is important for the industry,” he said. “But there are reasons that we put the original regulations in place: to safeguard against proliferation and corruption. There appears to be a conversation among people in the industry that everybody gets a little bit of something. They all seem to think they can move their bills forward.”

The Three-Legged Stool of Freedom
Institute for Faith, Work,and Economics | March 2018

Freedom should never be taken for granted. As Christians, we cherish the inner freedom that has been made possible by Christ. But the Bible’s version of freedom involves more than just inner freedom, it involves God working out freedom and flourishing for others through us. Inner freedom should lead us to promote outer freedom. This is why many Christians cherish and fight for religious freedom, but few realize how interconnected religious freedom is with economic and political freedom, and therefore, how vital all three freedoms are for flourishing.

George Washington repeatedly referenced (about fifty times) a verse from the Bible that expressed his vision for America. It is Micah 4:4, which talks about a future where each person, “Will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid…”

Note that they will enjoy the fruits of their labors— “sit.” They will enjoy their private property — “their” vine and “their” fig tree. They will be in a protected and secure environment where “no one will make them afraid.”

 

"The Bible came with them. It is not to be doubted, that to free and universal reading of the Bible, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty."

—Daniel Webster, speaking of our forefathers' reverence for the Scriptures - 1843.

 
Do you support any legislation that will allow the expansion of the gambling industry and loosen its existing regulations?
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Let the people vote on it.
  • I never gamble so I don't care what they do!
 

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