Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards as he expressed “willingness to have conversations” about the jury trial threshold with members of the Louisiana Legislature at a Baton Rouge Press Club meeting of March 2, 2020.
In the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session, a very crafty and sneaky maneuver was performed via a Conference Committee’s sly and secretive placement of an amendment into a bill to essentially grant then-LSP Col. Mike Edmonson a $55,000 pension boost. The measure then passed both houses and was signed into law before a blogger exposed the whole charade. Once exposed, the mainstream media jumped all over it. On July 16, 2014, then-Treasurer John Kennedy explained exactly how dangerous these Conference Committees can be. Let’s take just 46 seconds to listen to exactly what Kennedy had to say:
7/16/14: Then-Louisiana Treasurer (now U. S. Senator) John Kennedy explains how dangerous Louisiana legislature conference committees can be.
Only five days later, on July 21, 2014, guess who placed the blame squarely upon himself for failing to read the bill Kennedy references above and catch the stealth “Edmonson Amendment?” Well, that would be none other than then-candidate for Governor, John Bel Edwards. Let’s take just 60 seconds to watch him place the blame squarely upon himself for that disaster, shall we:
7/21/14: Then-candidate for Gov., John Bel Edwards, blames himself for his failure to read and know about the “Edmonson Amendment.”
Well, based upon the total implosion of tort reform in a conference committee yesterday, which ended up being very trial-attorney-friendly and now likely faces an almost certain signing by Gov. Edwards, it would appear the best lesson Edwards took away from the preceding video was an absolutely masterful performance of making virtually the entire body of Legislative Republicans appear far (and we do mean FAR) more “gullible” than Edwards ever dreamed of being. From the preceding feature by The Hayride’s Scott McKay (which we strongly encourage everyone to read — especially for those wanting details of what makes the final approved bill so bad):
But in any event, the most important of those lessons is absolutely crucial and must be understood by every Republican in that legislature. Namely, don’t try to negotiate a compromise with John Bel Edwards. He’s a shark. You don’t negotiate with sharks, you shoot them with your spear-gun or else you stay out of the water altogether.
Meaning that you legislate when you have a veto-proof majority in both houses. Period. Edwards is a die-hard supporter of Louisiana’s status quo and will defend it to the death against any meaningful effort at reform. He has to be beaten, not compromised with. If you have something which can get 70 votes in the House and 26 in the Senate, you send it to his desk and dare him to veto it. If you don’t, go ahead and pass it and let him decide whether he can afford to go against the will of the people as expressed by their legislators. But the last thing you should do at this point is to dangle bait in front of him trying to lure him into making a deal; he’ll take your arm off.
Whatever direction this goes from here, let’s hope that lesson got learned. We’ve come too far on tort reform not to finish the job for the people of Louisiana.
McKay essentially published the softer, gentler version of Louisiana Republican legislative chastisement vis-a-vis conservative talk-show host Moon Griffon this morning. We’re not going to repeat all Griffon had to say but instead simply strongly encourage everyone to listen to the podcast just linked! He let loose on them but, being blunt, he sort of had every right to as he warned long ago that, “the best we’re going to get is H2O (watered down) tort reform out of this crew.” Griffon did state that, just like Edwards said in the video above, he has heard from a number of Republican legislators who said, “We got the bill 17 minutes before the session ended and we had no idea what we were voting upon.”
To be blunt, we find that hard to believe. The true conservative stalwarts of the Louisiana Legislature, Rep. Blake Miguez (who heads the Republican House Delegation) and Rep. Alan Seabaugh, both abstained from supporting the bill. In our opinion, that is because they KNEW EXACTLY what the bill was comprised of, and they did not want their names associated with it. Given Miguez’s position, we find it hard to believe that he kept all that knowledge to himself and didn’t tell his fellow Republican legislators about why he could not support the bill. We believe that the far more feasible scenario is that this whole episode was a pre-orchestrated charade planned weeks ago by Sen. President Cortez and House Speaker Schexnayder, and Miguez and Seabaugh (much to their credit) simply refused to go along with the charade.
So what does this leave us at Sound Off Louisiana hoping for? We are now in the seemingly-awkward position of sincerely crossing our fingers that Gov. Edwards will in fact veto the bill (which would have seemed unfathomable only yesterday when we made this in hindsight, ill-advised post) and then further hope that there will be no effort to even try to override the veto. We doubt any such veto override would stand much of a chance anyway because it would make no sense whatsoever for Miguez or Seabaugh to join in an override of something they declined to support in the first place. We then call upon the Republican legislators to do the job they were elected to do and start from scratch in the Special Session and send to Gov. Edwards the TRUE tort reform legislation their constituents elected them to enact!
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