Well as expected with no leadership from the top, this legislative session ended like so many before it.
Since most Louisianans have no idea what happened over the last three months, and without foreknowledge of what may be vetoed, let me try to summarize all the action. The most exciting thing that came out the session had to be when Democrat Rep. White threatened to get her gun and “finish it” with Republican Rep. Seabaugh. Now that is something that does not happen every day!
On the social issues front, women’s sanitary products will not be taxed, Critical Race Theory can still be taught to elementary and high school students, and a whole bunch of commemorative resolutions passed.
On the criminal justice front convicted felons can serve on juries, after an expected veto concealed carry permits will still be required, and drug dealers became the happiest people in the state when we effectively decriminalized their industry. Nothing much on the criminal justice issues front to make our state better.
On the education front we gave teachers a pay raise with no corresponding expectation of improved outcomes, we substantially increased funding to a higher education system that instead is desperately in need of reform, and we took “student” out of the phrase “student athlete.” Nothing much on education issues to make our state better.
On the fiscal front we made no effort to eliminate the income tax, opting instead to nibble at the edges by creating a tax swap, we finally addressed some form of centralized sales tax collection, and we passed the highest spending budget in history, jacking up spending under Governor Edwards by around $8 billion since he took over. Since few can point to any improvements from that $8 billion, nothing much on fiscal issues to make our state better.
As a positive note, subject to a veto, the legislature finally addressed critical infrastructure needs by establishing a program to reduce General Find spending over many years by applying it to infrastructure.
In a few paragraphs I have described what results when lackluster leadership by a feckless governor collides with a GOP majority legislature that still refuses to understand the word majority!
The biggest loser from this session and for at least the last eight sessions has got to be the people of Louisiana. As we watch the southern states all around us explode with growth and prosperity, we have a governor who fiddles and a legislature that refuses to assume the leadership void. The bills passed this session were generally positive, but we need so much more than that just positive bills and feel-good legislation.
We need bold action at all levels of government that will overcome generations of malaise and poverty of spirit and pocketbook. We need to stop accepting insanity by doing the same things over and over and expecting different outcomes. Louisiana is primed for a revolution that will lift it up when a bold, forward looking governor aligns with a GOP legislative majority that has assumed its long-expected leadership role.
I don’t know about you all, but I long for the day when moving vans are coming into Louisiana instead of fleeing to Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.