Given Louisiana’s job losses and out-migration under his watch, will Gov. Edwards back off statements that Louisiana’s $50,000 jury trial threshold is, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance”?

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards responds to a question on Louisiana’s $50,000 jury trial threshold posed by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns on October 31, 2015.

Soon after Sound Off Louisiana was founded (after a ton of persuasion by the late C. B. Forgotston for founder Robert Burns to do so), and back when almost nobody had a clue who we were, we produced a feature on October 31, 2015 which focused on the drastic differences regarding Louisiana’s $50,000 civil jury trial threshold between the two runoff candidates for Governor, then-State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) and then-U. S. Sen. David Vitter (R-Metairie).

As we mentioned in the feature, we had to make use of technology to highlight those differences because then-candidate Edwards adamantly refused to attend a business-sponsored candidate forum at which he knew the question would be posed.  As a result, Burns merely asked Edwards (and the other candidates) the same question at a subsequent Baton Rouge Press Club (BRPC) meeting.

We’re about to provide a six-minute highlight of the video we aired back then because we think Edwards’ response to the question on that $50,000 jury trial threshold provides key insight into his true feelings and just how much of a battle State Sen. Kirk Talbot and State Rep. Raymond Garofalo face as they present stringent tort reform measures in the upcoming 2020 Louisiana Legislative Session:

Candidates Edwards and Vitter spar (though on separate occasions) about the topic of Louisiana’s $50,000 civil jury trial threshold and its significant adverse economic impacts (according to Vitter) or total lack thereof (according to Edwards).

In analyzing the preceding video, we’d like to make several points.  First, then-Sen. Vitter ran a campaign based upon a fundamental belief that Louisiana should facilitate each of its citizens having a fundamental right (presently afforded citizens of 36 other states) to insist upon a civil jury trial decided by his or her peers irrespective of the dollar amount involved.

Accordingly, Burns asked Edwards if he too thought Louisiana citizens should have that same right as citizens in 36 other states.

In Edwards’ response, which begins at the 3:34 mark of the video, he first expresses appreciation for the question.  Trust us, he was not the least bit appreciative, but he’s also very good at deploying platitudes in just such situations.

Next, Edwards, either genuinely or being sly, expressed an apparent  misunderstanding of the question in saying, “I don’t believe there’s a constitutional right to a trial by jury,” to which Burns replied, “I’m asking if you THINK citizens should have that right.”

Once Edwards was perfectly clear on the question, we believe he provided a totally honest and truthful one-word answer:  “No.”

At the 3:46 mark of the video, Edwards states his resolute belief that the present $50,000 jury trial threshold is, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance.”

He then went on to state his belief that Louisiana certainly wouldn’t want “$8,000 finder benders” being decided by jury.  Those words (assuming Edwards isn’t willing to back off of them) would indicate Edwards certainly doesn’t plan to sign any legislative initiative which contains a jury trial threshold anywhere near as low as $8,000!

To counter Edwards’ arguments (beyond the video of Vitter doing so very, very effectively above), we want to draw focus on just how a FAR, FAR less than “$8,000 fender bender” resulted in a $48,500 award.

To do so, we merely encourage everyone to see all of that material (complete with photo and documentation links) which is available at the link for that October 31, 2015 feature.  That material even includes a letter from State Farm Insurance stating its decision to settle the case is based at least in part by the judge who drew the case (19th JDC Judge Janice Clark).

The results of the 2019 Legislative races contained one crystal-clear message, and that is that the public, and the small business community and their families in particular, are fed up with the same system that Gov. Edwards describes as, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance.”

If Republican legislators fail to pass meaningful tort reform with teeth that dramatically transforms Louisiana’s present business-hostile environment, we fully expect those Republicans opposing such an initiative to experience an end to their political careers with that one vote.  If they do pass meaningful tort reform and Gov. Edwards vetoes it, then we likewise believe those Republicans failing to support a veto-override on the measure can also kiss their political futures goodbye!

It should be a REALLY, REALLY interesting upcoming 2020 Louisiana Legislative Session, and we at Sound Off Louisiana can’t wait for it to kick off!

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

LSPC declares that LSP violated rules entailing LSP longevity pay raises but leaves remedies for adversely-impacted LSP Troopers unclear and unaddressed.

LSP Master Trooper Dean Coates

On October 17, 2019, LSP Master Trooper Dean Coates appeared before the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) requesting an investigation into why he and numerous other LSP Troopers were not afforded their longevity pay raises.  As the feature makes clear, Coates sued LSP the day after he procured the assurance from LSPC that an investigation would be conducted.  The suit essentially alleges that, unless troopers are in the “chosen class” (which the vast majority of troopers are alleged not to include), the longevity pay raise would be denied.

Regarding Coates’ lawsuit, LSP has responded by filing exceptions of prematurity, lack of standing to sue, as well as a dilatory exception (essentially a statement that the cause of action has not been sufficiently succinctly stated).

At the February 13, 2020 LSPC meeting, the results of the investigation were discussed by the LSPC, and the following video captures what its members had to say on the matter:

LSPC discusses results of investigation requested by LSP Troopers Dean Coates and Kevin Sulcer

If nothing else, Troopers Coates and Sulcer deserve praise for being willing to pursue their rights using funds from their own pockets.  As is obvious from the preceding video, a clear-cut indication of rules violations by LSP has now been stated in no uncertain terms on the record by the LSPC.  Whether eventual remedies for Coates and Sulcer (along with the reported vast majority of other LSP troopers who were left out in the cold on their longevity pay raises) are ever available or not, these two gentlemen can, if nothing else, spike the football now that they have essentially forced the LSPC’s hand to admit that the LSP rules violations did in fact transpire.


If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

Attorney General Jeff Landry appears poised to continue separating wheat from chaff among GOP legislators as he gears up for his own gubernatorial run in 2023.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry

We’re pleased to announce that, after an extended hiatus (as warned of in our HNY post) made even longer by Dell’s delivery time for our new computer and the fact that Microsoft no longer supports Windows Movie Maker (thus forcing us to have to dive head-first into a crash course on its new video-editing program, Photos), we’re finally back up and running!

As we committed in the HNY post, our first priority upon receiving our new computer entailed a total overhaul of a key website that we maintained throughout Gov. Edwards’ first four years in office.  That overhaul is at last complete, and we welcome all subscribers to visit the newly-overhauled site:

JBE Fraud

The contents of the new site are self-explanatory, so we’ll only state here that it has been repurposed to have two functions:  #1) provide a permanent monument to the disastrously-run gubernatorial campaign of Eddie Rispone in 2019 (made possible by outstanding post mortem features by The Hayride’s Scott McKay), and #2) provide vote itemizations (complete with photos) of GOP legislators for certain key votes such as the upcoming tort reform votes in the 2020 legislative session, especially since tort reform is going to dominate the upcoming session.

For the remainder of this post, what we’re going to do is replicate the very first vote itemization complete with photos which we’ve just uploaded to the newly-overhauled JBEfraud site (see the link at the bottom of the homepage).  The feature focuses on the turbulent environment among Republican lawmakers surrounding the vote for the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives:


Itemization of Republicans Supporting Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) for Louisiana Speaker of the House:

After Gov. Edwards’ successful bid for re-election became official on Saturday, November 16, 2019, all eyes focused on the Legislature’s leadership positions.

With minimal fanfare, the Senate quickly settled on Sen. Page Cortez (R-Lafayette) as its new President.  We at Sound Off Louisiana were pleased with Cortez’s selection because he certainly has demonstrated a firm grasp of the excessive and burdensome impacts of needless occupational licensure in Louisiana.  Let’s take just 14 seconds to watch Cortez openly question the need for individuals wishing to practice interior design in Louisiana to possess an interior design licenses:

Cortez, speaking at the May 31, 2017 Senate Commerce Committee meeting, openly questions the need for interior design licensure.  For a very in-depth examination of that subject, visit the abolish IDB website.

In sharp contrast to the Senate’s smooth selection of Cortez, selection of the Louisiana House Speaker was, to put it mildly, quite a bit more cantankerous.  One previous candidate, rock-solid conservative Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), recently stated on  KEEL radio that, “my quest for Speakership ended the moment Eddie Rispone conceded defeat to John Bel Edwards on election night.”  When the hosts of the show pressed Seabaugh for why that had to be the case, Seabaugh responded, “because John Bel Edwards will move Heaven and earth to ensure that I am not elected the next House Speaker.”

With the landscape of “viable” candidates obviously altered dramatically with Gov. Edwards’ re-election win, a significant number of Republicans decided to negotiate with members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus (LLBC) to maximize the probabilities that both groups (the LLBC members and the Republican “Fraud Squad” — RFS as they became affectionately known by conservative talk-show host Moon Griffon) would obtain significant individual power.

Edwards, recognizing the impossibility of a Democrat being elected Speaker, actively lobbied for Rep. Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) to get the position, and Schexnayder became the candidate supported by the LLBC and the “RFS.”  In short, the group (LLBC and “RFS”) sought to unify against whomever the conservative wing of the Louisiana Republican Party supported, who happened to be Rep. Sherman Mack (R-Albany).

Griffon was so livid about this development that he went on an absolute tirade for days about it on his daily show.  Griffon openly stated that much of the hard work in which Attorney General Jeff Landry and U. S. Sen. John Kennedy engaged to oust problematic Louisiana State Senators in 2019 would be largely negated if the actions of the “RFS” succeeded and Schexnayder became the next House Speaker.

Griffon openly called upon then-House GOP Delegation Leader Lance Harris to convene a meeting of the Delegation and conduct a vote for House Speaker.  Griffon has made his sentiments known quite emphatically that the election for Speaker should have been decided by Republicans alone since they control 68 of the 105 House seats and could therefore elect the Speaker without the need for any Democratic votes whatsoever.

Griffon succeeded in his call for a GOP Delegation meeting, and the result of the vote during the meeting was Mack, 39; Schexnayder, 17; and Raymond Garofalo, 1.

Griffon next invited Attorney General Jeff Landry on his show for his take on the developments.  Landry did not mince his words when he stated on Griffon’s show that, “I think many of the Republicans involved here may soon find themselves without jobs.”  Landry’s statement seemed intended as an obvious thinly-veiled threat to those Republicans seeking to circumvent the will of the majority of Republican legislators that they may find themselves on the receiving end of campaign attack ads in 2023 similar to those run by Landry’s PAC in the 2019 legislative races.  Such ads would likely run simultaneous to Landry pursuing his own quest for Governor in 2023.

Here’s a brief video clip of the nominations of Mack and Schexnayder for the Speaker position, and we would note the angry tone of Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette), who was reportedly livid that he wasn’t given more serious consideration for House Speaker himself:

One-minute video highlight of nominations for Louisiana House Speaker (CLICK HERE for the election video in its entirety).

When the vote for Louisiana Speaker was final, the results were:  Schexnayder, 60; Mack, 45.  Schexnayder prevailed with 23 Republican votes (i.e. those whom Griffon dubbed as the “RFS”) along with all 35 Democratic Representatives and two Independents.  Mack, meanwhile, received the support of 45 Republicans, or 66% of Republicans serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

We want to now shift our focus to our take at Sound Off Louisiana regarding the race for Speaker of the House.  We produced a feature on August 13, 2019 outlining the nine (9) prospective candidates for the position.  Being perfectly blunt, neither of the two gentlemen who were subsequently chosen as finalists (or who were deemed to be able to cobble together enough votes to prevail), Schexnayder and Mack, were very appealing to us at all.

As many Sound Off Louisiana subscribers are aware, the issue about which we are most passionate is occupational licensing reform in Louisiana.  We have literally heard the stories of dozens of license holders (including Sound Off Louisiana‘s founder, Robert Burns), who have been harassed by the occupational licensing boards and commissions (in Burns’ case, it’s the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB), with many being forced out of business as a means to lessen competition.  No board has been more egregious in that arena than the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD).

On May 16, 2018 both Schexnayder and Mack had an opportunity to vote for a measure to provide license holders with the fundamental right to have any administrative hearing called against a licensee of these abusive state agencies adjudicated by an administrative law judge rather than the body issuing the license.

There has been no single piece of legislation that we have ever monitored that is more important to us than that measure!  NONE!  How did Schexnayder and Mack vote?  They both voted “no.”  We stated then that we could NEVER support any Republican candidate (they are highlighted at the preceding link, and we carry jpegs of that vote on our iPhones) who voted “no” on the measure, and that is EXACTLY what we meant!  Hence, in our eyes, both Mack and Schexnayder were nonstarters entailing being Speaker of the House in Louisiana.

With that disclosure out of the way, many of the Republican legislators for whom we have great admiration, such as Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath) , who was recently elected Chairman of the GOP Republican Delegation in the House, Alan Seabaugh, Rick Edmonds, Julie Emerson, and others made known their active support for Mack.  Out of respect for them, we itemize the 23 Republicans (i.e. the Griffon-labeled “Republican Fraud Squad”) who opted to join with Democrats and vote for Schexnayder for Speaker; however, we want to emphasize that we are so unimpressed with Mack that we make the analogy of walking into a fine restaurant like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse only to be told the only items on the menu are bologna sandwiches and spam, and we particularly hold no fault entailing Rep. Garofalo’s vote for Schexnayder since, when Garofalo authored a tort reform bill with teeth in 2014, Mack very actively opposed it!!:


Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall
District 7
Phone:  (318) 925-9588   [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Gerald “Beau” Alphone Beaullieu IV, R-New Iberia
District 81
Phone:  (337) 373-4051   [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette
District 43
Phone:  (337) 981-7409  [email protected] 

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Ryan Joseph Bourriaque, R-Abbeville
District 47
Phone:  (337) 893-5035  [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Dewith Carrier, R-Oberlin
District 32
Phone:  Not yet published.  Check back later.  [email protected] 
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan, R-Lafayette
District 45
Phone:  (337) 262-2400  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Paula Davis, R-Baton Rouge
District 69
Phone:  (225) 362-5301  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles
District 35
Phone:  (337) 491-2315 [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Les Farnum, R-Lake Charles
District 33
Phone:  Not yet published.  Check back later.   [email protected] 
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Raymond Garofalo, Jr., R-Chalmette,
District 103
Phone:  (504) 277-4729 [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie
District 94
Phone:  (504) 885-4154 [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge
District 46
Phone:  (337) 332-3331  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Central
District 65
Phone:  (225) 261-5739  [email protected] 

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma
District 53
Phone:  (985) 858-2970 [email protected] 

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Wayne McMahen, R-Minden
District 10
Phone:  (318) 371-3092  [email protected] 

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Greg Miller, R-NORCO
District 56
Phone:  (985) 764-9991  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Buddy Mincey, Jr., R-Denham Springs
District 71
Phone:  (225) 667-6088 [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Vincent “Vinney” St. Blanc III, R-Franklin
District 50
Phone:  (337) 828-7778  [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales
District 81
Phone:  (225) 473-6016  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  No (but may attempt to jump over to Louisiana Senate).


Rep. Joseph Stagni, R-Kenner
District 92
Phone:  (504) 465-3479 [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley
District 42
Phone:  (337) 384-8999  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!


Rep. Chris Turner, R-Ruston
District 12
Phone:  (318) 251-5038  [email protected]
Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!

Rep. Jerome Zeringue, R-Houma
District 52
Phone:  (985) 876-8823  [email protected]

Eligible for re-election in 2023?  Yes!

It’s great to at long last be back producing features with our brand new computer, and we look very forward to itemizing key votes of Republican legislators to be permanently memorialized on JBEfraud during Gov. Edwards’ second term as Governor of Louisiana!

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.