August 14, 2018 By Jeremy Alford ALFORD: Approach To Constitution Requires Caution It has been three months since the Louisiana Legislature concluded its regular session without addressing the war cry for a constitutional convention. Sure, it passed a set of resolutions honoring the 45th anniversary of the 1973 con-con, but supporters were hoping for more of a forward-looking response. Opponents, as you could guess, were just fine with that outcome. At the top of the list of non-supporters was Gov. John Bel Edwards, who isn’t necessarily against the idea. He just believes there should be an informed buildup to a convention, and that clear objectives should be stated after considerable study. Interestingly enough, Edwards’ own history dovetails with neatly with this very topic, since his father was a delegate in 1973. So was the grandfather of Richard Carbo, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. We don't need a roll call of delegate to know that Edwards is right, … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: An Official Con-Con Reminder
August 7, 2018 By Jeremy Alford You ain’t nobody in Louisiana politics until somebody works for you. And there are plenty of people being hired by the five major candidates for secretary of state right now. It's the only statewide election on the fall ballot, so presumably that's where the money will show up. Presumably. All of the top contenders already have campaign managers or general consultants, and a few even have media consultants lined up as well. But don’t geek out too hard about the forthcoming attack ads. If political tradition holds, the unofficial start of the 2018 election season this year will be Sept. 3, which is also Labor Day. That’s no coincidence. For many, many moons, consultants, candidates and reporters have pointed to Labor Day as the launching point for media buys, key messaging and hardcore election maneuvering. That hasn't always been the case, though, and recent years have seen campaigns unrolling critical … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Has It Started Yet?
May 1, 2018 By Jeremy Alford Being a Democratic member of the Louisiana Legislature isn’t always unicorns, rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes it can get a little rough. They’re outnumbered on both sides of the Capitol — 41 to 64 in the House and 14 to 25 in the Senate. That means Democrats have to play well with others to obtain majority floor votes; they can’t pass anything of significance alone. (But they can block important legislation if they stick together, like the bond financing bill for statewide construction projects, which stalled on the House floor this week.) They’ve lost their shared leverage this term as well, especially with Republicans holding the Legislature’s top two leadership spots. Plus the GOP has a chokehold on the lower chamber’s committee process, which has really gummed up the works these past 29 months. Few, if any, of the party’s chief policy priorities have gained traction. Even the Senate, which has long … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Democrats Still Finding Their Way At Capitol
April 24, 2018 By Jeremy Alford Here it comes — the Legislature’s sixth special session since being sworn in 29 months ago. And you know what? Don’t bet against a seventh special session being called as well, maybe even before the end of the June. No one is actually talking about a seventh special session. Not yet. Let’s just call that third sentence above what it is: speculation. But, look here, when the Legislature and administration started averaging two special sessions annually, they forfeit any protections from scheduling-related speculation. Anyway, that’s where we find ourselves right now. Waiting on special session number six. Plus number seven, possibly — but only if everything falls apart at the Capitol this spring. And for what it’s worth, the Capitol does happen to be a place where stuff has fallen apart over the past two and half years. So, session-wise, we’re at six and seven. Or, to borrow an English idiom, … [Read more...] about Alford’s Opinion Column: At Sixes & Sevens
April 17, 2018 By Jeremy Alford Louisiana voters will send six representatives to Congress during the November general elections and, if needed, the December runoffs. Those contests, for two-year terms, are sort of a big deal. Nonetheless, many voters are unplugged from the issues and personalities. They think there isn’t much going on with our upcoming congressional elections. Well, they’re wrong. Those unplugged voters may not be aware that the aftereffects of an election are not confined to its district lines, and that the learning lessons gleaned can be applied to everything from policy forecasts to political tea leaves. Moreover, this is a fascinating time in the history of Louisiana’s U.S. House delegation. Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish, for example, is the majority whip, which is the third highest rank in the nation’s lower chamber. Congressman Cedric Richmond of Orleans Parish is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Cracking The Congressional Code