Cry for Me Red Louisiana

Legislation Politics

            New Orleans       It’s painful to have a backrow seat in the Floridification of Louisiana.  After an eight-year interlude with John Bel Edwards, a Democrat in the powerful governor’s posit in Louisiana as an offset to the largely Republican legislature, the election of the far right former Attorney General Jeff Landry as governor, coupled with a super majority Republican legislature, has obliterated any reasonable restraints on the worst red impulses.  Every day that the legislature is in session adds insult to injury and depends the horror.

If Florida, Iowa, or Georgia has tried something outrageous, Louisiana is now trying to duplicate the horror.  The litany of bills proposed and, in many cases, passed, now includes:

  • A copycat “don’t say gay” Florida bill
  • A copycat protection for teachers refusing certain pronouns
  • Elimination of collective bargaining for public employees at all levels, except for police and fire
  • Open carry and no license requirements for guns, including rejection of any safe zones.
  • An array of bills trying to rein in and control New Orleans, the deepest blue island in the state, by trying to take over its Sewerage & Water Board, insert state police in the city, and more.
  • Retraction of prison reform and tightening or elimination of parole and good time in many instances.
  • Refusal to rein in insurance companies as rates soar and claiming the market should decide
  • Pull back of coastal erosion prevention, emissions control protections, and efforts to restrict plant siting based on environmental or racial concerns.
  • An end to any diversity of offices in state higher education institutions.
  • With sleight of hand and little input or deliberation, there is an attempt to call a constitutional convention to make even more widespread changes that will be difficult for future administrations to unwind.

Enough, you get the message.  We’ve just seen the same program in Arkansas as the right let the dogs out, and now we’re seeing it in Louisiana as well.

The template is tried and true, but the surprise is how little shame is involved.   The governor sent a bunch of Louisiana’s national guard to help Texas governor Abbot in his political fight against the federal government over immigration.  The local paper featured a spread of pictures along with a story of the troops doing nothing and speaking clearly about the fact that they were essentially just political pawns playing tiddlywinks.

Over the years, Louisiana has had a reputation as a hotbed of corruption, perhaps overstated, but partially deserved.  Nonetheless, following the somewhat thwarted Arkansas playbook, the legislature is moving to gut the open records laws in Louisiana to shield all correspondence, emails, and more involved in any governmental decision at any level from the statehouse down to the smallest town’s council and city hall.

Certainly, there’s opposition, but the conservative tsunami has been quick and devastating.  It’s not pretty to watch, but even as the state is losing population, the government is not making it easy for people to come here, or to stay here, unless they are willing to live in a whack-a-doodle world.