A glittering legislative scorecard is as expected, seeing as though the state’s leading business lobby organization had one main overarching goal in this year’s legislative sessions, namely getting a tort reform bill passed, and they hit that goal with pretty much everything they were looking for included in that bill.
Seeing as though LABI and the other business groups and conservative organizations got more or less the legislature they wanted in last year’s elections, you’d expect LABI to be pretty happy with the results, and they were.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) today released its 2020 Legislative Scorecard, highlighting the lawmakers and leaders inside the State Capitol who supported pro-business legislation in both this year’s regular session and the first special session.
This edition of the Scorecard details the votes taken on 19 key bills that have a tremendous impact on Louisiana’s economy, business climate, and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report gives citizens an inside look at what happens in Baton Rouge and how the actions taken by the Legislature impact the state’s working families and job creators.
“The story of these legislative sessions is one of broad, bipartisan consensus on important issues,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “Time and time again, we saw Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to support common-sense measures that both help businesses recover in the short-term, and start the process of breaking down the persistent barriers to business growth that have held Louisiana back for decades.”
During both the regular and special sessions, legislators addressed the business community’s concerns about COVID-19 liability relief, put $275 million towards direct small business assistance, passed regulatory and tax relief measures and took a meaningful step forward in improving Louisiana’s broken legal system and rebuilding a competitive auto insurance marketplace.
Waguespack continued, “This new Legislature has shown they are not afraid to buck the status quo of state government and embrace bold solutions and innovative ideas rooted in the principles of free enterprise. Going forward, we’re going to face even more challenges associated with the pandemic and rebuilding Louisiana’s shattered economy, but as this document shows, we have a very new, inspiring body of lawmakers with which to work.”
It almost looks like LABI is an “easy A” these days. When 97 of the 144 legislators, or 70 percent of both bodies, score above 80 percent, and when 69 of the 144, just less than half, score 100 percent, you’re going to see an awful lot of bouquets being thrown around.
What’s probably more interesting looking at the scorecard is to see who the worst members were. Half the Legislature was at 100 percent, so you can more or less figure that if they’re Republicans they were with LABI on all of the votes they scored, or maybe on all but one or two.
So who’s the worst?
Well, in the Senate, Katrina Jackson was the worst. Jackson posted a 23 percent score, which was surprisingly horrible seeing as though she didn’t have the reputation as a wild-haired leftist fanatic when she was in the House. Next worst was Joe Bouie, the stooge of the New Orleans public schools establishment, who posted a 27 percent score. And then there was Jay Luneau, probably the most obnoxious of Louisiana’s leftist Democrats, who posted a 31 percent score amid his serial whinings about tort reform.
In the House, even the Democrats weren’t generally too bad. Lots of them scored above 50, and several more managed scores in the 40’s. The worst of the bunch is Louisiana’s Face-Mask Barbie, Rep. Mandie Landry, who posted a 24 percent score during a carnival of clownish behavior which cements her as the least-liked member of that body. Rep. Tammy Phelps, who took over from the termed-out Barbara Norton, is next-worst with a 28 percent score; Phelps is as bad as Norton with less of an excuse, as she doesn’t appear to be as daffy as Norton was. Third-worst is Candace Newell at 32 percent, which is about the score you’d expect from a run-of-the-mill New Orleans Democrat like she is.
A number of the Usual Suspects don’t have scores on LABI’s scorecard for having missed so many votes. That includes outgoing Louisiana Democrat Party chair Karen Carter Peterson, her fellow senators Greg Tarver, Gerald Boudreaux and Troy Carter, and such luminaries in the House as Denise Marcelle, Kenny Cox, Randal Gaines, Cedric Glover and Ted James. Some of those might have managed to threaten Jackson and Landry for the lowest LABI score if they’d stuck around for enough votes to be scored.
Republicans like Reps. Tanner Magee, Paul Hollis and Valarie Hodges are also on the “no score” list.
The guess is LABI’s scorecard is going to be a little less forgiving next year, because instead of a tort reform bill so many leges ran on supporting, LABI is going to be pushing a raft of economic development and tax reform legislation, and that’s going to smoke out some of the people who aren’t quite the pro-business conservatives they say they are. For now, though, the House and Senate members still have some political capital with the state’s business community.