Proposed Louisiana public defender overhaul is a power grab, critics say
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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11h ago
By Julie O’Donoghue Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) — A proposal to move Louisiana’s public defender system under the governor’s direct control has alarmed attorneys, local defense attorneys and retired judges. Critics describe the proposition as a power grab by the sitting state public defender, Rémy Starns, who has clashed with the Louisiana state public defender board that oversees his office. “It certainly has his fingerprints all over it,” said Frank Neuner, a Lafayette attorney and a former chairman of the public defender board from 2008 to 2012. Senate Bill 8, sponsored by S ..read more
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Voters sue over La.’s second majority-Black congressional district
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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3w ago
By Piper Hutchison Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) — A group of non-Black voters have challenged Louisiana’s new congressional maps, alleging the new majority-Black district violates their rights. The 12 plaintiffs in the case, Callais v. Landry, contend the map passed and signed into law after a five-day special legislative session at the direction of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry constitutes an unconstitutional racial gerrymander and violates the 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. “The State has engaged in explicit, racial segregation of voters and intentional discr ..read more
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State Sen. Fields first to announce run for new majority-Black 6th District seat
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Piper Hutchison Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) — State Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, will run for Congress in the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District, he announced on January 23. Fields previously served in the U.S. House from 1993-1997 when Louisiana had two majority Black seats, but what was then the 4th Congressional District was ruled an unconstitutional racial gerrymander and thrown out. Louisiana had just one majority Black district until Monday (Jan. 22), when Gov. Jeff Landry signed a bill into law that turned the 6th District, currently held by Baton Rouge-base ..read more
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Could Graves challenge Letlow?
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Christopher Tidmore Contributing Writer The whole point of the La. Legislature’s drawing of a second African-American majority district which stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport (closely resembling one ruled an unconstitutional “gerrymander” almost three decades ago) was to protect Rep. Julia Letlow. Now, it might put her political future in danger. Rep. Garrett Graves could easily run against her – and would have a good chance of winning. Forty-three percent of Graves’ current 6th District was drawn two weeks ago into Letlow’s U.S. House seat. It created for her the curious situat ..read more
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La. Supreme Court map advances with justices still at odds
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Greg LaRose Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) – A proposal to add another majority-Black district to the seven elected Louisiana Supreme Court seats advanced in the state legislature last Thursday, but the process revealed continued differences among the justices the map would impact. Associate Justice William Crain appeared before the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee to support House Bill 8, a proposal from Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Pineville. The Johnson bill reflects a map Crain and four other associate justices submitted last month to then Gov.-elect Jeff Landry, Attorney ..read more
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Landry’s agenda seeks to do away with Louisiana’s open primary
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Christopher Tidmore Contributing Writer Jan 15 Special Session includes a call to return to closed primaries. Recently, a legislator from another state happened to be visiting the Louisiana House and Senate chambers in Baton Rouge. Suddenly, he expressed amazement to his tour guide, a senior staffer of the La. state House, that legislators sat together, co-chaired committees, and there was no division of Republicans and Democrats into majority and minority blocs. “Aren’t there two parties in this state?” he queried. The staffer laughed, and replied, “Sure, there is [sic] business and tr ..read more
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La. Legislature to take on congressional redistricting in special session
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Piper Hutchinson Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) — Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has ordered state lawmakers into a special session that begins today (Jan. 15) on redistricting and elections. The wide-ranging call, issued just hours after Landry took office, calls on the legislature to update voting boundaries for the state’s congressional and Louisiana Supreme Court Districts. The governor also wants lawmakers to address campaign finance laws, federal election qualifying fees, primary elections and other election-related policy. The Republican-dominated legislature approved new co ..read more
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Can La. replicate Georgia’s voter registration and turnout?
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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1M ago
By Molly Ryan, Metia Carroll and McKinley Cobb Contributing Writers (LSU Manship News Service) — The Rev. Timothy McDonald, pastor at First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, remembers being approached in a grocery store parking lot ahead of the fall 2022 elections. The two people who walked up to him were working for Fair Fight and New Georgia Project, voter advocacy groups founded by Stacey Abrams that had helped significantly increase turnout among Black voters in the state. “It was that kind of excitement that was out there,” McDonald said about get-out-the-vote efforts in Georgia. Ove ..read more
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Chalmette woman files suit to keep Trump off Louisiana ballot: report
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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2M ago
(lailluminator.com) — Louisiana is the latest state where a court challenge will seek to keep former President Donald Trump’s name off the ballot in next year’s election. A lawsuit filed Dec. 22 in East Baton Rouge Parish against outgoing Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin cites Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, our news partners at WVUE-TV Fox 8 reported on Wednesday of last week. Plaintiff Ashley Reeb of Chalmette specifically wants Trump left off the March presidential party primary ballot. She confirmed to Fox 8 she filed the petition but declined further comment. “Bot ..read more
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La. lawmakers settle on dates for redistricting, crime special sessions
The Louisiana Weekly – Politics
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2M ago
By Julie O’Donoghue Contributing Writer (lailluminator.com) — Louisiana legislative leaders have tentatively settled on dates for two special sessions that will be held in January and February before their regular lawmaking session gets underway in March. The lawmakers are expected to convene Jan. 15-23 for a federally mandated special session to draw new U.S. House of Representatives districts for Louisiana. Gov.-elect Jeff Landry is also supposed to call a special session focused on public safety and crime from Feb. 19 through March 6, according to Sen. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, who is ..read more
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