JT hopes you and yours had a Merry Christmas and that you still have enough energy to celebrate the New Year festivities. Things really do get hectic the last few days of the year. One of the things JT got a kick out of was the YouTube video featuring a local Santa Clause. The video, Natchitoches, LA Christmas-The Ultimate Christmas Experience, really showcases our people and our town. Remember when former Mayor Bobby DeBlieux dressed as Mark Twain in some promotional pieces? Well, it looks like Natchitoches has found it’s Christmas spokesman. JT doesn’t want to spoil the surprise as to who it is. Check it out on YouTube.
It should have come as no surprise that Parish President Rick Nowlin wanted to put his former Executive Assistant into the position of Registrar of Voters that is about to become vacant due to the Registrar’s retirement. Almost two dozen people applied for the position. It’s a political appointment and experience doesn’t matter….as much as loyalty. The way JT reads it …either Rick is not going to run for a third term as Parish President and he want’s to ensure her future employment on the parish payroll….or he’s going to run and trying to shed himself of potential fodder that might have come up in a campaign. In any event, some of the jurors objected to the selection process and halted the appointment. The Parish President has just two moves, and they will likely tell what his plans are. One is to tell his nominee “I tried” and move on. In that case, he’s not looking for a confrontation and is gearing up for his re-election. The other is to fight hard for this nominee. To pull that off will surely cost him some political favors with jurors and signal he only wants the win because he’s not going to be around much longer.
Did you hear that a new law going into place in March would restore voting rights to former felons? The bill was supposed to apply to around 2,000 parolees. However, now it’s projected the number of new voters could be as high as 36,000. It seems the way the law was written is vague and could be interpreted in one of two ways. That’s not the first time JT has heard that argument about one of our legislative acts. So guess what happens now. Someone at the state level will make a determination of the law. Then the side that loses the argument will sue. Then it will be in limbo until it can be set for trial. Another waiting period will begin while we wait on the judge to rule. You guessed it, the losing side will file an appeal, and here we go again. And all this time the lawyer’s tab will be running.
Speaking of the legislature, they are scheduled to go back into session in April of next year. This will be the last session before elections in October. Traditionally, these are sessions that are pretty low key because re-elections are looming for many of them and lawmakers don’t want to attract a lot of attention. If, for some reason, a lawmaker is not re-elected or is term limited, they shouldn’t be too worried because they still have a safety net. A report last week pointed out the enormous influence former lawmakers still have on the legislative process. The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge and ProPublica tracked the 99 former members who left the Legislature between 2010 and last month’s elections. Thirty-five, or just over 30 percent of them, went on to jobs in the spheres of lobbying, consulting, governmental affairs, state government, state boards or as legislative advocates for businesses they run. The group includes members of all political affiliations. So while some may claim the pay of a legislator is low…it appears many of them are in it for the rewards that come after service.