Political Chatter (05.21.24)

Political Chatter (05.21.24)
May 21, 2024

—TWO WEEKS AND COUNTING: As the session entered the home stretch on Monday, the enabling legislation for a potential constitutional convention had not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing in the upper chamber. Given that senators still have concerns even after weeks of lobbying and several amendments on the House side, Gov. Jeff Landry’s proposed “reorganization” or “refresh” of the constitution appears to be on life support at best, and it’s not immediately clear if there’s anything Team Landry can do to resuscitate the highest-profile policy venture of his young administration.

—SPEAKING OF THE CON-CON: SGA Chair Cleo Fields tells Louisiana Illuminator’s Piper Hutchinson that HB 800 will have to get in line behind the other bills on his committee’s plate and probably won’t get a hearing this week. “This puts a time crunch on the bill,” Hutchinson posted. House and Governmental Affairs Chair Beau Beaullieu, who is carrying the bill, tells The Tracker via text that a hearing this week could give the bill a “fighting chance.” 

—CONSOLIDATING POWER: The Senate has turned back or watered down some of the Gov. Jeff Landry-backed proposals to make Louisiana’s chief executive even more powerful. For example, SB 462 by Sen. Valerie Hodges, which seeks to give the governor more authority over boards and commissions, was amended to remove higher education governing boards, among other changes. Higher ed control is Landry’s stated main goal for the legislation, according to WAFB. However, the bill is set for a House committee meeting today, and some of the Senate amendments may be taken off, Barry Erwin of the Council for a Better Louisiana said at Monday’s meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club. Erwin also raised concerns about SB 497 by Sen. Blake Miguez, which would give the governor direct control over most of the state Board of Ethics. 

—APPEALS JUDGE SEEKS TO MOVE UP: Judge Marcus Hunter of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal is running for the state Supreme Court. Legislators this year redrew the court’s district map to create a second majority-Black district. Hunter was a trial court judge and state representative prior to his current role. 

—READ IT FIRST: BATON ROUGE NATIVE LAUNCHES $140 MILLION AD CAMPAIGN: This month, American Bridge 21st Century, the organization Bradley Beychok co-founded, launched a $140 million ad campaign as part of the effort to defeat Donald Trump. In an exclusive column for tomorrow’s Beltway Beat, Beychok explains how “all roads lead back to what I learned running political races in Louisiana.” 

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