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Louisiana Family Forum Isn’t A Charity; It’s A Tax Shelter For The State’s Most Powerful Lobbyist

More con-artists lobbyists.

CenLamar

The Louisiana Family Forum is the most powerful and successful lobbying organization in a state brimming with lobbyists and special interests, and Gene Mills, its President, is arguably Louisiana’s single most powerful registered lobbyist.

Mills would likely not dispute this characterization. In a recent video statement to supporters, he claimed that 2014 was his organization’s most successful year ever, boasting that, during a debate about a bill pertaining to surrogacy, he presented the bill’s author with a list of “non-negotiable” demands that “were required in order for his bill to move forward.”

“The author,” Mills said, “blocked nine of those ten repairs and found out that when the LFF says, ‘It’s not negotiable, well, it’s not negotiable.'”

“LFF blocked bad bills, advanced good ones, and amended dozens of others to remove their threats,” Mills said. (emphasis added).

Even though he has never been elected to public office, Mills talks…

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The Funny Thing About Medicaid Expansion In The Deep South

Louisiana has been atwitter about the topic of Medicaid Expansion for years now. Ever since the passage of Obamacare (and the subsequent Supreme Court decision making expansion optional), states throughout the country have been slowly coming around the idea that expanding Medicaid is a good idea.

Most of the “blue” states have already expanded Medicaid, with a few notable exceptions (Florida, blue in ’08 and ’12, and Virginia)

This summer has been no exception. No fewer than 5 red states have been inquiring about how to submit to the horror that is the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion, including known liberal enclaves such as Wyoming and Tennessee.

A funny thing keeps happening though: As more states inquire, some of the places most in need of expansion continue to hold out. TPM explored this topic here:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican powered to office in 2010 by the tea party wave, struck a deal with HHS last week to expand Medicaid. Indiana, led by Republican 2016 dark horse Gov. Mike Pence, is already negotiating with the administration on its own plan. Tennessee, a state like Wyoming where there’s no real Democratic threat to Republican dominance that would drive expansion talk, plans to submit a proposal for Medicaid expansion to HHS this fall.

Wyoming is perhaps the prototype for how Medicaid expansion might happen now that most of the easy states — either Democratic-led or with more moderate GOP leadership — have come around. It is a combination of selling conservative lawmakers on the financial benefits of expansion and crafting an alternative plan that is more palatable to conservative ideals in the 23 remaining states that have not yet accepted the expansion.

Yet, states most in need of the expansion seem to be holding pat. Where are these states? Why in the deep south, where the uninsured rate is among the highest in the nation:

A map of Medicaid expansion leaves out the five states that, at least by thestandard definition, comprise the Deep South. You can tack on two huge adjoining states — Florida and Texas — and go by the “original Confederate States” definition. Arkansas and Kentucky are the most Southern states so far to expand, and both are led by Democrats. GOP-led Tennessee is working on it.

In a June op-ed for Reuters, Lichtenstein used the South’s obstruction of Medicaid expansion as “Exhibit A” in his argument that the region was reverting to the “New South,” formerly the description of the period between the Civil War (or Reconstruction, more precisely) and civil rights.

“A ruling white caste (is) now putting in place policies likely to create a vast economic and social gap between most Southern states and those in the North, upper Midwest and Pacific region,” he wrote. “Of course, such regressive social policies… are supported by a fierce white partisanship.”

Among these deep south Governors fighting tooth-and-nail against Medicaid Expansion? Bobby Jindal, of course.

Oh, nothing to see here. Just a funny coincidence. States with historical racism are certainly not avoiding expansion just to withhold progress from lower-socioeconomic class minorities. Never.

A dupe or a liar? Jindal’s frivolous federal Common Core lawsuit

WITH COMMON CORE BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. WITH RACE TO THE TOP BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. A PATTERN

Something Like the Truth

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By Robert Mann

If there was ever a politically motivated, frivolous lawsuit, it would be the thinly veiled campaign document that Gov. Bobby Jindal filed in federal court on Wednesday, alleging that the federal government coerced states like Louisiana to participate in Common Core.

In his suit, Jindal seems to say that he and other governors were forced by President Obama to apply for federal funds and join a national consortium, all of which supported the implementation of the Common Core standards in their states.

“In short, through regulatory and rule making authority, Defendants [the federal government] have constructed a scheme that effectively forces States down a path toward a national curriculum by requiring, as a condition of funding under the President’s Race to the Top programs, that States join ‘consortia of states’ and agree to adopt a common set of content standards and to implement the assessment protocols and policies created by that consortium, all under…

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LouisianaVoice learns of Jindal plan to force state retirees out of OGB by raising members’ premiums, cutting benefits

WUT???

Louisiana Voice

Remember less than two weeks ago (Aug. 14, to be precise) we wrote that members of the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits (OGB) should prepare themselves for health insurance premium sticker shock? http://louisianavoice.com/2014/08/14/nichols-pens-op-ed-on-soundness-of-ogb-even-as-legislative-fiscal-office-prepares-members-for-premium-sticker-shock/

Well, LouisianaVoice has obtained new information that indicates we weren’t entirely accurate in our portrayal of what’s in store for some 230,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents.

The reality is much worse.

Much worse indeed, particularly for state retirees.

To recap briefly, we told you in that Aug. 14 posting about the report of the Legislative Fiscal Office on pending major changes in medical coverage for state employees and retirees. Some of those anticipated changes provided in the Legislative Fiscal Officer Report, authored by Legislative Fiscal Officer John Carpenter and Legislative Fiscal Office Section Director J. Travis McIlwain, include:

  • An increase in premiums state employees and retirees pay for health coverage;
  • Significantly increase the out-of-pocket maximum…

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Standardized Lying

Crazy Crawfish

Student performance in Louisiana is dropping rapidly. The decline started just about the time John White became superintendent of Education and has accelerated rapidly with the introduction of Common Core in Louisiana schools. Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests. Please refer to this post by Mike Deshotels and the analysis provided by Herb Bassett for the details. Below is an excerpt from Mike’s blog.

Here is the table supplied by the LDOE as a result of my public records request:

    scores

Notice that for 4th grade ELA, 4th grade Math, and 8th grade Math, there was a significant lowering of the…

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