The Legislature convened Monday for a special session to redraw the district boundaries for Congress and the state Supreme Court, and potentially move the state to a closed primary system. But the details of these plans were not available to the public until after lawmakers gathered. While there have been calls for caution and transparency during this process, it appears members are already falling in line to achieve Landry’s expansive priorities over the short, eight-day session. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate team reports:
Two Baton Rouge-based good-government groups — the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana and the Council for a Better Louisiana — criticized Landry and legislative leaders last week for not releasing the details of the bills before the special session began. Those complaints went unheeded. Lawmakers sponsoring two of the main bills supported by the new governor went public with their bills only after lawmakers convened at 4 p.m. on Monday.
Columnist Clancy DuBos writes that Landry’s attempts to bend lawmakers to his will are an echo of the man whose statue overlooks the Capitol: Huey Long.
If today’s lawmakers do Landry’s bidding in the current session, he will pull off a power grab unlike anything Louisiana has seen since Long’s heyday. … History has a scary way of repeating itself, mostly because too few people learn from it. We’ll know soon enough if Landry can pull off his own Kingfish-style power grab.
A last-minute Child Tax Credit deal
Top congressional leaders have agreed on a deal to temporarily expand the Child Tax Credit in exchange
for business tax breaks and other measures. But Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith still need to shepherd their plan through both of their respective chambers. Politico’s Brian Faler and Benjamin Guggenheim report on how how the deal came together:
Democrats later took the business breaks hostage, refusing to undo the restrictions on research, capital and interest expense deductions that Republicans used to help pay for their 2017 tax cuts — which few thought would ever actually take effect — until they agreed to boost the child credit. Republicans initially balked, arguing they shouldn’t have to trade business provisions both parties supported for what they saw as a partisan bid on the child credit. To the surprise of many, the standoff lasted more than a year. But complaints from the business community wore on lawmakers, and Democrats were aided by the fact that Smith, representing a low-income district in Missouri, is a bigger fan of the child credit than many of his colleagues.
Federal pandemic-era aid – led by an historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit – helped cut America’s child poverty rate nearly in half in 2021. But these historic gains were wiped when Congress refused to renew the credit. This led to the largest one-year increase in poverty on record and a more than doubling of the child poverty rate.
Customers can’t bear full brunt of insurance crisis
Louisiana taxpayers have been partially blamed for the state’s rising rates of homeowner’s insurance and held largely responsible for paying the claims of bankrupt companies. But for years leaders paid little attention to combatting – or sometimes even acknowledging – climate change and the stronger, more frequent extreme weather events it causes. And customers have been routinely criticized for suing insurers that fail to live up to their financial obligations. A Times Picayune | Baton Rouge editorial notes that state leaders need to do more to solve the state’s insurance quagmire:
An investigation by this newspaper’s Sam Karlin showed there was another factor at play in the insurance market: 11 of the 12 insurers that failed in recent years operated under a structure that allowed limited oversight over where money from customers’ premiums was going. … But let’s make sure before we make any changes that we understand exactly what went wrong — and not embrace solutions that will leave coastal homeowners who’ve borne the brunt of this crisis twisting in the wind once again.
Grandparents raising grandchildren
Louisiana is receiving $325 million over 18 years as part of a 2021 legal settlement with drug companies that helped cause the opioid epidemic. Kathy Coleman, the executive director of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center of Louisiana, wants some of that money to support the 51,000 Louisiana kids who are being raised by a grandparent or other relative.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, sheriffs and other politicians are pushing for even more border control and crime and punishment. I’m advocating that some of those dollars be set aside for the children who have lost their parents and the family members that have taken them in to increase their access to quality, ongoing counseling and support and food assistance. The people who felt the worst impacts of this crisis are not just those who became addicted, but the families they left behind.
Number of the Day
41,704 – Louisiana property insurance claims that fell to the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) in 2021-23 after the original insurer went belly-up. The cost of paying these claims ultimately fall on other policyholders and taxpayers (Source: The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate)