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During the Civil War a century and a half ago this Saturday -- July 13, 1863 -- a federal occupation force of 1,200 troops arrived at the Natchez landing on steamboats. The Union commander was 28-year-old Gen. Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom.

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As many of us already know from “Schoolhouse Rock!” and hopefully civics courses, bills are important to the legislative process because they have the opportunity to become state law. Then there are resolutions, which largely serve as the throat-clearing vehicles of the Louisiana Legislature.

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While tort reform is expected to dominate the headlines in the regular legislative session that begins next week, it isn’t the only hot topic the Legislature will entertain.

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Much has been made in the mainstream media about the supermajority Republicans hold in the Louisiana Senate and the near supermajority they enjoy in the House — possibly at the cost of having a broader conversation regarding the priorities of their Democratic counterparts.

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Judge Peter Bryan Bruin's journey from Bayou Pierre in present day Claiborne County, Miss., to territorial court in the Adams County village of Washington, was a distance of 40 miles, more or less, through hills and hollows.

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With the 2020 regular legislative session just over the horizon, the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry seems singularly focused on convincing state lawmakers to approve far-reaching tort reform legislation.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published the week of Feb. 11, 2019. It is worth revisiting in light of the flap over Gov. John Bel Edwards not including a teacher pay raise in his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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House Speaker Clay Schexnayder is quite the gearhead, having worked as a certified mechanic before managing and then eventually owning his own garage in Ascension Parish. If you ask Schexnayder, a Republican, about it, he’ll likely start his story where most should — in the beginning.

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The Republican leadership in the Legislature and Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards are at odds over how much money the state will have at its disposal to spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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From 1992 to 2007, during the administrations of former Govs. Edwin Edwards, Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco, the politics behind the state budget process often played out in quiet corners of the Capitol. The horse-trading was pragmatic at times, due to everyone — the administration, House a…

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Twelve years ago in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s first year in office, the newly elected governor called a special session for lawmakers to entertain a package of reform bills to improve ethics in state government.

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Lately it seems as if everyone in Capitoland will have something to prove when the Louisiana Legislature convenes its first regular session of the term on March 9. Then again, folks who spend or make money on the mechanics of Baton Rouge’s tallest-in-the-nation Capitol building almost always…

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Someone around the state Capitol should invest in name tags, because they would certainly make a killing during the new term that begins next week.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Sam Hanna Sr.’s Christmas column is reprinted below in his memory. He published the column each year for many years prior to Christmas. Hanna was owner and publisher of the Concordia Sentinel, The Franklin Sun and The Ouachita Citizen when he died in January 2006.

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Editor’s Note: This column by Sam Hanna Jr. was first published the week of Dec. 25, 2017. It is timely today in light qualifying for the Monroe mayor’s race scheduled for Jan. 8-Jan. 10.

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We’ve all read the same statistics, and we’re all well aware that Louisiana more often than not ranks dead last in just about every ranking that purports to grade states on economic activity and quality of life.

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If you’re a longtime reader or an occasional follower of Louisiana politics, then you’re likely aware that the state House has an upcoming election for speaker in January. In fact, you probably became aware of the 2020 internal leadership election back in 2016, when the current speaker was elected.

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Unbeknownst to the average citizen, there’s some serious politicking still going on Louisiana, some two weeks after voters had their say in the general election.

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Some folks are still sitting around trying to figure out how Gov. John Bel Edwards won a second term and shut down a challenge from Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone. Others are still wondering why the GOP secured a supermajority in the Senate but not in the House.

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Editor’s Note: This column was first published the week of Nov. 18, 2013. It was edited to reflect the passage of time.

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How did Gov. John Bel Edwards win this year’s top race in Louisiana? Unlike previous cycles, which were soaked in twists and turns and mired by complex themes and players, Edwards pulled it off in a rather rudimentary A-to-B fashion.

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By the time the final whistle is blown in LSU’s grudge match at Ole Miss Saturday night we should have a pretty good idea who was elected governor, assuming there is no overtime.

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It seems every time Louisiana holds a major election voters are asked to entertain a slew of proposed amendments to the state Constitution.

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It seems every time Louisiana holds a major election voters are asked to entertain a slew of proposed amendments to the state Constitution.

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If voter turnout during the first couple of days of early voting is any indication, Gov. John Bel Edwards has a problem on his hands.

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Timing isn’t the only factor worth considering in politics, but if you get it wrong, you’ll discover the misstep sooner rather than later — usually in a very public way, with the missed opportunity and unmissable regret on display for all to see, hear and feel. The difference between victory…

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Every gubernatorial election has a turning point, when things get just weird enough to justify the price of admission. As many of you surely know, that turning point is happening right now.

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The locker room chatter in and around the gubernatorial campaign of Congressman Ralph Abraham can be summed up in five words: “Not Ready for Prime Time.”

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Can Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone make enough headway over the next month to stop Gov. John Bel Edwards from winning re-election in the Oct. 12 primary?

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Reporters, talking heads, columnists, editors and producers are slowly taking more of an interest in Louisiana’s race for governor, based on a recent analysis from LaPolitics.com of state and national news published between May 30 and Aug. 29, 2019.

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The Pelican Institute recently held a constitutional convention forum in Baton Rouge. A few bigwigs showed up, ranging from mega-donors and politicians to out-of-state academics and lobbyists. The policy issue remains all the rage, even though we’re unlikely to see a gathering on the scale o…

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No matter what kind of politician you might be, regardless of your war chest or name recognition, winning in the first round is the easiest way to go, aside from escaping opposition altogether.

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The two big Republicans running for governor have about two weeks to get their houses in order or Gov. John Bel Edwards is going to run away with the race.

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It’s no big secret that the Louisiana Legislature has been undergoing significant changes over the last few election cycles, and that both the House and Senate have been in a constant state of transition. Few political observers, however, recognize that the transition will conclude with the …

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Supreme Court Justice Jeff Hughes’ handling of a couple of child custody cases when he was a district court judge in Livingston Parish almost 20 years ago prompted The (Baton Rouge) Advocate to take a deep dive into why Hughes’ actions were kept secret from the public.

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Lobbyists, candidates, incumbents and consultants have been on pins and needles this week. They’re ready for qualifying to come and go, for the sign-up process for elections brings with it some certainty.

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STATE OF LOUISIANA * FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT * FRANKLIN PARISH