Friday, April 20, 2018

This week in state preemption

City council passed an ordinance yesterday that will keep the city from booting your car until you've racked up three unpaid tickets. That's nice of them to do.  We could all stand to see the city be a little less brutal in its regressive approach to revenue generation by nickel-and-diming everyday citizens.  The new mayor sounds less inclined to that sort of thing than the outgoing one is. It was a popular campaign plank of hers, anyway. We'll see how long that holds up after she takes office. I am highly skeptical. For now, though, it's a step in a better direction. 

But the key thing to note here is that this decision was made at the municipal level only after State Senator JP Morrell was convinced to pull a bill that would have imposed the same policy change from Baton Rouge. State preemption of local issues is another matter of concern for the new mayor. Asking to have this booting ordinance happen in the council and not the legislature is one small way of asserting this principle.

They're also interested in keeping local zoning regulations local but that's going less well.
A Louisiana House committee on Wednesday (April 18) voted to approve a ban that would forbid local governments from requiring developers to include affordable housing in new developments. The bill was staunchly opposed by New Orleans City Council members, affordable housing advocates and Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The committee's lopsided vote -- it passed by a margin of 11-4 -- could eventually be seen as a major defeat for Landrieu, the City Council and Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell. Opponents of the bill had hoped to kill the bill before it reached the full House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily.
There had been some speculation that the committee where this was assigned would have been more friendly to the city.  Turns out, this wasn't the case.  Now it's almost certain to pass the full House.  Although, maybe LaToya's point man in the legislature can do something. What's he got to say? 
Abramson, a New Orleans Democrat, who has been designated by Cantrell to help steer legislation on behalf of the city, didn't return a message seeking comment about what he could do to assist Cantrell's cause on the House floor. Asked to outline how Cantrell has directed Abramson to handle the bill in the House, a transition spokesman, Mason Harrison, said, "We are presently working with Rep. Abramson, other members of the Orleans Parish delegation, the mayor's intergovernmental relations team and the city's lobbying team to determine next steps."
Oh okay.  Let's hope the next steps don't involve just going along with whatever the Republicans want again. That's how Neil voted on the budget this week.  But, to be fair, that was only a matter of slashing something like 2 billion dollars worth of health care services nobody will miss.  This other fight over a largely symbolic and ineffective zoning tool, though, maybe he can help with that.  He'll let us know, I guess.

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