LaPolitics by Maginnis: The 'LABI primary'
The future direction of the state Supreme Court will begin to be decided in August, with the official start of the election campaign for a new associate justice to complete the term of retiring Chief Justice Kitty Kimball. The 5th District includes East Baton Rouge Parish and the seven parishes that ring it. But the campaign's outcome is important enough that interest and contributions will be statewide, and more than just from lawyers. The high court's decisions have veered rightward over the past decade and could keep going that way if a conservative Republican replaces centrist Democrat Kimball. In recent years, hers has been the swing vote between Republicans Jeffrey Victory, Marcus Clark and Greg Guidry on one side and Democrats Bernette Johnson, Jeannette Knoll and John Weimer. Though Kimball is respected within the business community and the by Louisiana Association of Business and Industry—which is the key business player in Supreme Court elections—the group sees in this election the opportunity to strengthen a conservative majority. Under the aegis of vice president for political action Ginger Sawyer, LABI's EastPAC is reviewing the opinions of eight potential candidates. Formal interviews are scheduled Thursday and Friday of next week. The one or more who are endorsed would be set up for campaign contributions from the business community, starting with LABI's four regional PACs. The group's choice also is expected to shake out the field somewhat before qualifying starts on Aug. 15. For that reason, the organization's formal endorsement process is often called the "LABI primary."
—Senate President John Alario says that more than 20 members, a majority, have returned ballots voting against a veto override session. It only takes a majority of one house to nix a follow-up session, but Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, wonders if legislators won't be forced to return to the Capitol anyway. At a forum of northeast lawmakers covered by The (Monroe) News-Star, Kostelka cited the new education laws being challenged in court as well as an expanded ruling on the alternative fuel tax credit. The governor rejected the emergency declaration from his now-resigned revenue secretary, but the issue might not be as easy to get rid of as was Cynthia Bridges. Kostelka says the governor hasn't the authority to change the law by writing a letter. "Only the Legislature can do that," he says.
They said it: "I don't sleep nights." —Southern University of New Orleans Chancellor Victor Ukpolo on impending budget cuts, in The Times-Picayune
(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)
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