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Quin Hillyer: Bayou State politics should remain buoyant

Although au revoir in French is usually meant as goodbye, its literal translation is “until seeing (you) again.” It is in that sense that I bid au revoir to the regular weekly pages at The Advocate, to take a big new job in journalism (alas, unannounced yet). You can’t take Louisiana out of the boy, so I… Continue reading →

Hillyer column: Quotas and charters don’t mix

Sometimes, a legislator’s biggest handicap is his own good intentions. That’s what appears to be happening with a bill regarding special-needs students that is being rushed through the Louisiana Legislature. The bill would require that each charter school admit a minimum percentage of “students with an exceptionality, not including gifted and talented” and would provide funding commensurate… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Jindal is right on religious rights — and also astute

Gov. Bobby Jindal may be a long shot for president, but his new campaign commercial is a supremely savvy political move. It also has the virtue of expressing a vitally important truth. The ad continues Jindal’s resolute focus on issues of religious liberty. It’s the right message — and if it’s still possible for him… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Will legislators prove to be up to PAR?

In most Louisiana legislative sessions, accounting tricks and political dodges are par for the course. Instead, legislators handling this year’s budget should follow PAR for the course of their deliberations. PAR is the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. On April 10, it released a comprehensive guide to the budget while explaining how the… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: State shouldn’t collect money for unions

There was a time when fights in the Louisiana Legislature between Big Labor and Big Business regularly produced fire-and-light shows worthy of a “Star Wars” movie. While the biggest conflagrations might now be in the past (business eventually won most of them), this session should see at least one big light-saber duel, tentatively scheduled to start April 29… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Religious freedom bill has ‘oomph’ after all

State Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, having catalyzed a kerfuffle about marriage-related legislation, now portrays his bill as being so narrowly tailored that an observer would wonder whether it’s even worth considering. But Johnson’s portrayal of House Bill 707 as an almost anodyne exercise is not entirely accurate. The bill may have some real bite after all.… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: In the Easter spirit, let’s remember New Orleans' remarkable post-Katrina resurrection

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The 15-minute fireworks show, 'Symphony in the Sky,' from Algiers Point  lights up the New Orleans skyline in July 2014.

Easter is, of course, a good time to talk about redemption and resurrections. Allow me, then, to get a head start on the gazillions of articles that will be written this August commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by noting just what a marvelous resurrection New Orleans has enjoyed since that horrid, devastating storm.… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Don’t use Common Core math to count the Core’s deficiencies

Now that Gov. Bobby Jindal is actually engaging the Legislature in his fight against the Common Core (mis-)educational standards, it’s time for a refresher course on why the standards are so misguided. First, though, there’s this: Some usual Jindal allies, such as Speaker Chuck Kleckley, say they particularly object to Jindal’s idea of reverting back… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Tax reform can’t wait another year

Louisiana’s system of taxes and budget desperately needs some short-term tourniquets to stem the gaping wound of a $1.6 billion deficit — but the system also needs long-term reforms, and the effort ought to start this year. A large part of Louisiana’s long-term budget problem, which will require another whole column to discuss, involves the state’s practice… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Jindal plays semantics on taxes

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to raise the burden of business-inventory taxes is an awful idea. The Legislature should ignore it. Everyone knows state government faces a serious fiscal crunch next year. In his budget document released Feb. 27, Jindal proposed to close a whopping $1.6 billion shortfall with a mixture of lower spending and higher revenue. But,… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Perfidy and poison: What’s left of the levee lawsuit

When opponents of a Louisiana levee board’s lawsuit against energy-related companies wanted to kill the ill-advised legal action last year, they were right to be frustrated by a hideously expensive, so-called “poison pill” in the board’s contract with its lawyers. But if the poison pill was bad, there’s a separate, perfidious provision that’s even… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Obama carbon rule would choke Louisiana

A soon-to-be-released report from the conservative Pelican Institute tallies the damage to Louisiana from yet another initiative of President Barack Obama’s administration, which seems to be at permanent war against Louisiana interests. The report, a joint project with the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University in Boston, tallies the projected costs of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: This Louisiana levee board’s rejected lawsuit ‘the equivalent of Cumberland College’s 0-222 loss to Georgia Tech in 1916’

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jay Lapeyre, left, chairs a meeting of the nominating committee of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Now that a major levee board’s lawsuit against as many as 88 energy-related companies has been thoroughly rejected even by a judge appointed by the famously anti-oil Barack Obama, the levee board ought to drop the suit it never should have filed in the first place. As I wrote 10 months ago, the Southeast Louisiana… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Who is Jay Lapeyre?

More than 40 years ago, when I spent three summers at Jena Day Camp in New Orleans, the camp’s founder and head counselor, Jay Lapeyre, would joke around with anybody. But woe betide any kid Jay thought had deliberately broken the rules of any particular game. Several incidents are seared in my memory: In competition, Lapeyre was a… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Southern bragging about Rev. Jeremiah Wright speaking on campus ‘even more obnoxious’ than Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- A woman holds her arms up in prayer as Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during his prayer rally, "The Response", at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Baton Rouge.

Those who hate hatred coming from the right should hate hatred coming from the Wright as well. If they don’t, then the rest of us are right to hate their hypocrisy. Background: For more than a month, the grievance-mongers on the left and the media tut-tutters have fulminated against Gov. Bobby Jindal for hosting a… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: In defense of Bobby Jindal, his 'no-go zone' comments are an inconvenient truth based on ton of facts

Associated Press file photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

What is wrong with you people? I mean, really, what is your problem? You people, you media jackals, are having crazy attacks because Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dared say there are areas in Europe, heavily populated by Muslims, which effectively are “no-go zones” because police and other non-Muslims are largely unwelcome.… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Ease up on Scalise

Context, context, context. That’s what’s missing in the breathless reports about Steve Scalise speaking to a white supremacist group back in 2002. People here in Louisiana, more than others, should understand the context that makes Scalise’s explanation perfectly plausible. I’ll add some background context most people don’t know. The most believable conclusion is that Scalise… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Might Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne make a run at U.S. Sen. David Vitter? Race for governor could surprise

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne leads a town hall meeting on tourism and economic growth Wednesday at Vermilionville in Lafayette.

Unhatched political chickens? Don’t count them, of course. Especially in a Louisiana governor’s race, like the one about to kick into gear early in 2015. In early spring of 1987, a Tulane law student and former intern in Bob Livingston’s congressional office named Bob Eitel produced a thoughtful memo for his friends in Livingston’s campaign for… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Cassidy still owes some answers

Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race is blessedly over, but a few loose ends unfortunately remain. Each camp still should answer for allegations of misconduct. The first allegation — the most serious if true, although the least likely to have led to discoverable, punishable violations — was that Opelousas Mayor Donald Cravins induced voting fraud… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Louisiana should escape the jungle

Regardless of how you feel about what happened in yesterday’s runoffs, this ought to be the final time that Louisiana suffers through another December runoff in a federal election. The Bayou State should return to a regular party primary, leaving behind its “open” or “jungle” primary that makes it a national anomaly. The jungle primary might have… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Seeing Red about Black’s endorsement for D.A. in St. Tammany

Alan Black

Oopsie. The public is sick of two-faced politicians and already skeptical of political endorsements. And the public in St. Tammany and Washington parishes ought to be sick of the ol’-boy network of outgoing District Attorney Walter Reed, now enmeshed in scandal. So the last thing a candidate from that same ol’-boy milieu should want is the endorsement… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Mary Landrieu should cut her losses

When your main campaign sales pitch is based on your “clout,” and you lose the basis of that clout, then your campaign is probably a goner. For that and other reasons, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has almost no remaining path to re-election. Landrieu’s self-proclaimed clout as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy always was rather illusory.… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Go vote or we’ll tell on you

In complaining about some innocuous postcards, Secretary of State Tom Schedler has created a Seinfeldian kerfuffle: a controversy about nothing. Indeed, with regard to mailers that list the recent ballot-participation history of individual voters, Schedler should thank the sponsoring group, Americans for Prosperity, not verbally spank them. As Louisiana’s chief election officer, Schedler… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Jindal’s jobs record goes unappreciated

Rarely has American politics seen a governor so unpopular amid so many economic accomplishments. Bobby Jindal’s home-state approval rating has remained mired in the 30s in most polls for more than a year — but by almost every measure of state financial health during the Jindal years, Louisiana has made great strides. Start… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer, John M. Barry: To supplement coastal trust, add a coastal levy

Photo provided by P.J. HahnPlaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Management administrator P.J. Hahn said he took a photograph Wednesday, above, of the same section of Cat Island as he took in September 2010. After two years, he found little vegetation left and a shoreline that continues to erode, although birds are still using what’s left of the island. Hahn said oil killed the mangrove trees, which led to erosion that has left the island less than an acre in size.Cat Island photo taken on April 11, 2012

Twenty-five years ago this very day, Louisiana citizens voted by an overwhelming 73-27 percent majority to create a constitutionally protected trust fund for wetlands preservation and restoration. That trust fund has achieved some notable successes but not nearly enough. Much more must be done to save this treasured resource and cradle of life. One of the co-authors… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Jindal goes national while weak at home

Bobby Jindal is doing all the right things, among national Republican and media constituencies, to get into the serious conversation for the 2016 presidential race. But his deep unpopularity at home in Louisiana significantly undercuts those national efforts. On Sept. 30, a well-known survey company, Public Policy Polling, reported horrendous numbers for Louisiana’s governor:… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Legislative auditor misses Common Core’s problems

The latest in useless Common Core disputes involves whether Louisiana’s legislative auditor indicated that the Core “drives” curriculum (Gov. Bobby Jindal’s version) or merely “guides” it (auditor Daryl Purpera’s own explanation). That’s a sideshow. What is more important, and more frustrating, is how the auditor’s report whitewashes Common Core’s true nature… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Is Senate campaign Maness’ mess?

U.S. senatorial candidate Rob Maness might be both a fine fellow and a solid conservative, but there are good reasons why some Louisiana conservatives wish he would exit his race. Most of those reasons involve conservatives’ desire to see incumbent Mary Landrieu finally evicted from office. The peculiar nature of Louisiana’s open primary makes it more likely Landrieu… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Dems treat felon as embraceable EWE

It is long past time for the leadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party to get out of bed with Edwin Edwards. The very day in March that the disgraced former governor announced his candidacy for Congress in Louisiana’s 6th District, state party leaders should have issued statements distancing themselves and the party from him. They should have… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: In McAllister’s quarter, Tarpley campaigns sharply

Ed Tarpley is running for Congress from central and northeast Louisiana. He might not have the highest name identification, but he has serious bona fides as a solid, thoughtful, real-world conservative. When I was active in Louisiana Republican politics a quarter-century ago, very much as a strong conservative, I often was frustrated that too many activists… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: The comfort of shady politics

August is traditionally the slowest month in American politics — especially down South, where even political animals just want to sip lemonade in the shade. Where issues do burble up, like water overflowing a storm drain after a summer squall, Lemonade Guy may avoid full engagement, preferring just to kibitz from his hammock. In that tradition, let’s… Continue reading →