Louisiana's legal climate hits 'rock bottom' in national survey

Photo source: Louisiana Record

Photo source: Louisiana Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Louisiana has the worst legal climate in the nation, according to a survey released this week.

The survey, dubbed the "2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States," was conducted by Harris Poll and was accompanied by a video by Faces of Lawsuit Abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, which owns this publication.

"Louisiana, you're one of the worst," the video said. "Awarding ridiculous sums of money for junk lawsuits. Some of your politicians are hiring their trial lawyer friends to file cases while doing nothing to pass legal reforms."

The Pelican State came in behind 48th-ranked Illinois and 47th-ranked California. Louisiana's ranking in the latest poll, which was first conducted in 2002, is a first and all-time low for the state, which edged out Missouri this time, which ranked 49th.

“Louisiana’s lawsuit climate has hit rock bottom,” Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, said. “The state’s long history of litigation abuse and the questionable integrity of its courts hurt everyone by holding back more robust job growth and investment.”

The survey ranked Louisiana "dead last" in the poll's 10 categories, including judges’ competence and impartiality, jury fairness and the quality of its appeals process, according a statement by the institute. The survey also ranked New Orleans and Orleans Parish as the nation's fourth worst lawsuit jurisdiction.

"Over the years, judicial misconduct has plagued Louisiana’s courts," the Institute for Legal Reform said in the statement. "In 2016 alone, judicial misconduct cases resulted in fines, suspensions and resignations of at least five different judges. Several of these cases were for repeat offenses."

Survey participants included 1,203 in-house general counsels, senior litigators or attorneys and other senior executives at companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million who said they knew about litigation matters, according to the survey.

Participants were reached through more than 1,300 telephone and online interviews between March 31 and June 26, which asked for rankings on topics such as fairness of a given state's lawsuit environments in 10 categories, including state laws, courts, judges and juries.

The institute also issued the 2017 edition of its "101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems," a listing of key legal reforms that states can adopt to improve their lawsuit climates.

The U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial and educational activities at the national, state and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Source: Louisiana's legal climate hits 'rock bottom' in national survey

Posted on September 14, 2017 and filed under Louisiana.

LANDRY: Consumer protection bureau isn't looking after consumers: Letter

Photo source: Louisiana AG

Photo source: Louisiana AG

President Ronald Reagan famously said, "the most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Who knows how that sentence would read if he were around for the passage of Dodd-Frank and its creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Since its inception, the unelected, unaccountable and unconstitutional CFPB has advanced a radical agenda that has hurt the consumers it purportedly protects. This rogue agency and its unconstrained leader Richard Cordray have gone beyond enforcing laws to now creating them. Their capricious decision-making and abuse of power have killed competition and jeopardized economic liberty.

The CFPB's latest unilateral decision to increase consumer costs, reduce consumer choice and jeopardize consumer access to credit comes in the form of its "anti-arbitration rule," which effectively removes arbitration for consumers and forces class-action lawsuits upon them. The rule also mandates service providers give the CFPB their confidential arbitration records and court proceedings.

While this arbitration ban would benefit a handful of trial attorneys, it would drastically increase prices for consumers. According to the CFPB, its overreach amounted to an average payout of $32 for the consumers but millions for the lawyers. The same study showed arbitration resulted in an average recovery of $5,389 for consumers in a manner 12 times faster than litigation.

The CFPB study - like the law which allows arbitration clauses in consumer contracts - apparently was no hurdle for a leftist ideologue like Cordray, who moved ahead with the draconian prohibition on arbitration for consumers dealing with banks and other financial service companies. His action does not advance the public interest.

As Louisiana's chief legal officer - I want to ensure our state's consumers are protected from Wall Street and Washington alike. That is why I adamantly oppose the CFPB making consumers pay more for less with their latest flagrant federal power grab. I urge the U.S. Senate to follow the U.S. House's lead and use their authority under the Congressional Review Act to block the CFPB rule.

I encourage my fellow Louisianians to contact our senators, asking they rescind this rule and prevent a similar one from being enacted in the future. Reach Sen. Bill Cassidy by phone at 202-224-5824 or online at cassidy.senate.gov, and reach Sen. John Kennedy by phone at 202-224-4623 or online at kennedy.senate.gov. Together, we can stop this rogue federal agency and make government more open, accountable and responsive.

Attorney General Jeff Landry

Baton Rouge

Source:  Consumer protection bureau isn't looking after consumers: Letter

Posted on September 14, 2017 and filed under Jeff Landry.

Fix The 340B Program

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In recent weeks, the 340B program has resurfaced as a topic of interest for policymakers and patient advocates alike. As the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR340B Coalition), we are encouraged that much of this interest is geared toward ensuring the sustainability of the program for the future and strengthening it to make sure it serves vulnerable or uninsured patients. However despite this recent increased interest in the program, it is still relatively unknown.

The 340B drug discount program was created to help certain health care safety-net providers that serve a large number of uninsured or otherwise vulnerable patients reduce prescription drug costs by requiring drug manufacturers to provide deep discounts on medicines. For example, the 340B drug discount program provides discounted drugs to community health centers, cancer hospitals, children’s hospitals, and clinics for Indian Health, HIV/AIDS, Black Lung, Hemophilia, and Tuberculosis.

Our Coalition’s diverse membership is indicative of our goal to make improvements that lead to better health outcomes for the neediest patient populations. The AIR340B Coalition is comprised of patient advocacy groups, clinical care providers, and biopharmaceutical innovators, and we believe in preserving the intent of the 340B program. When Congress created the program in 1992, it was relatively small and targeted only toward those entities that truly served the most needy patients. Few hospitals participated in the program at first and initially the clinics and hospitals that participated predominantly focused on serving vulnerable or uninsured patients who truly could not afford to access prescription medications.

Since then, poor oversight and lack of clear program rules have led to a rapid expansion of the program. It is not clear, however, that vulnerable or uninsured patients are the beneficiaries of this expansion. Today, DSH hospitals, which are only about 9 percent of 340B entities, represent 80 percent of sales associated with the 340B drug discount program, and they are rapidly expanding. One source of this expansion is the increased use of 340B discounts by hospital-acquired outpatient clinics. These clinics are often in wealthier areas than the 340B hospitals but, once acquired, are able to obtain 340B discounts, even though they do not share the hospital’s obligations to treat uninsured patients. Another concerning source of growth stems from a 2010 change to the program that vastly expanded the role of for-profit retail pharmacies in the 340B program. Hospitals are allowed to partner with an unlimited number of these pharmacies, which then share in 340B profits. A recent Office of the Inspector General study that scrutinized these arrangements found many of the hospitals required uninsured patients who filled their 340B prescriptions at retail pharmacies to pay full price for their medicines.

Recently, POLITICO looked at the top seven hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, of which more than half are 340B, and found that those hospitals’ charity care fell by 35 percent between 2013 and 2015 while their combined revenue increased by $4.5 billion. Further, more than one-third of 340B disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) provide charity care that represents less than 1 percent of their total patient costs.

We believe many covered entities are providing critical services to uninsured or vulnerable patients, but at the same time, studies show that there are a number of hospitals taking advantage of the program with little to no benefit to patients.

As a Coalition, we believe there are several ways the program could be fixed to ensure it meets its original intent. We suggest three key areas for change:

1. Define a 340B Eligible Patient: The 340B statute clearly states that covered entities are not permitted to provide 340B discounted drugs to individuals who are not their patients. Unfortunately, that has proved difficult to enforce at 340B hospitals due to a lack of clarity regarding the definition of a 340B eligible patient and hospitals’ complex operating structures.

2. Tighten Hospital Eligibility Standards and Curb Incentives for Consolidation: Tighter rules around which hospitals and patient eligibility are needed to ensure discounts are targeted to facilities truly serving the uninsured or vulnerable. Also changes are needed to curb the financial incentives driving 340B hospitals to acquire community-based physician practices, particularly given the substantial increase in health care costs associated with the site of care shifting from physician offices to hospital facilities in the last decade.

3. Restrict Contract Pharmacy Arrangements: Under current guidance, all covered entities are permitted to contract with multiple outside, for-profit retail pharmacies that share in the profits from the 340B program. New policies are needed to address the dramatic growth of contract pharmacy arrangements between 340B entities and for-profit, retail pharmacies.

We look forward to fixing the 340B program by working with Congress, the Administration and other stakeholders to ensure the program is sustainable and achieves its intended goal of helping the neediest patients access the care they need through federally-funded clinics and true safety net hospitals. If you are passionate about preserving and strengthening the 340B program, and want to learn more about the work that AIR340B is doing, please contact info@340breform.org.

Source: Fix the 340B Program

Posted on September 9, 2017 and filed under Heathcare.

AG Landry Supports Ending Obama Illegal Immigration Program

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Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators commends Attorney General Jeff Landry for his continued strong support for President Donald Trump's decision to end President Obama’s DACA illegal immigration program. Despite not having Congressional authorization, the program allows for hundreds of thousands of undocumented illegal immigrants to remain in the country.  AG Landry’s support for ending the Obama era program will mean hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans.

“This executive amnesty was another example of the Obama Administration bypassing Congress to advance its radical agenda." Landry continued, “As I have often said, the Executive Branch cannot simply sidestep the people’s elected representatives in the Legislative Branch. I am glad President Trump is defending the separation of powers, preserving the rule of law, and ending the unconstitutional DACA program.”

We commend AG Landry for his early leadership and opposition to the DACA program.On June 29, AG Landry led 10 other state attorney generals and sent a letter to President Trump calling for him to begin phasing out the program no later than September 5th.

Landry: Hug-A-Thug policies threatening New Orleans

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 On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Landry spoke with Moon Griffon about the rising violent crime rate in New Orleans. Landry said , "The epidemic of crime that is sweeping this city is getting out of control." 


Landry did not mince his words when he called out Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his administration for failing to protect the citizens of New Orleans. Instead of cracking down of violent offenders, the administration has instituted "Hug-A-Thug" polices. Landrieu would rather focus on environmental issues and removing historical monuments instead of tackling the biggest threat to the city, crime.

Click here to hear the entire interview.

Source:  Citizens for Louisiana Job Creators

Rep. Nancy Landry Rips "Honor Code" on Veto of Legislation Regarding Road and Drainage Projects

Photo source: Facebook  

Photo source: Facebook  

Rep. Nancy Landry of Lafayette recently took to Facebook to rip our governor, "Honor Code" Edwards, a new one for his veto of legislation that would address road and drainage projects in areas of the state that did not support his tax and spend policies in the last session. 

Below is the text of the post: 

  Governor John Bel Edwards again vetoes projects supported by legislators who don't vote for his plans to spend more and raise taxes. He's even vetoing road and drainage projects that could help prevent flooding.

The governor has vetoed over $5 million in Capital Outlay funding for Lafayette Parish projects, including $2.2 million for a three-lane of Hwy 182 in Broussard, $245,000 to rehabilitate LA 182 from US 90 to LA 89, and $1 million for work on Verot School Road. He also vetoed $2 million for the Horse Farm. 

The odd thing is, there was no need to veto these projects. The governor decides what projects go to the Bond Commission for funding anyway. It was apparently intended to intimidate legislators who don't vote to raise spending and taxes the way he wants. I want to thank our area representatives for taking a strong conservative stand. It's time to stand up for Louisiana and against a governor who relies on bullying tactics to get his way. #StandUp

 Great job Rep. Landry. The citizens and their representatives in Baton Rouge that have had enough of this clown of a governor need to stand up and say "no more"!  

Sen. John Kennedy On Reauthorization of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana has introduced a bipartisan bill to address the federal program related to flooding.

Per an email release late Friday afternoon, “The Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2017, will lower the amount the federal government can raise your premium.  My bill will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program while making common sense reforms to maintain its solvency.

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Photo source: YouTube  

Posted on July 15, 2017 and filed under John Kennedy, Louisiana.

Rob Maness Announces Candidacy for District 77 House Seat in Louisiana

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Madisonville, Louisiana - This morning, St, Tammany business owner, former Fortune 500 business executive, and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, announced that he is a Republican candidate for the open District 77 seat Louisiana House of Representatives recently vacated by Representative John Schroder.

Maness said, “Baton Rouge is broken; there aren’t enough experienced, successful leaders there that can fix it. I have the proven leadership to change things. That is why I am running for the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Sadly, most of those at the Capitol went there for the wrong reasons and want to preserve the status quo. I will go to Baton Rouge to stand up and work hard to actually change things. The people of Louisiana’s District 77 have my word: I will never stop fighting, I'll never back down, and I'll never give in to lobbyists or even party leadership when its time to do what's right. It's clear that sending a Republican to Baton Rouge is not enough, we must send leaders that will not give in to the special interests.

St Tammany Parish is the greatest place in the world to raise a family. That's why the Maness family lives here. However, we see our neighbors' children forced to move to other states for opportunity because the high taxes and lack of progress in Baton Rouge is killing jobs.  I am running to serve as District 77 State Representative to ensure that our son and our neighbors' children can find the opportunities and prosperity in St Tammany Parish that many are now forced to leave to find.

“I’ll stand strong and work hard with everyone to restore our economic climate so new jobs won’t pass Louisiana by. Its high time we put St Tammany families first and ensure our children’s future. The status-quo of taking money from our pockets by raising taxes to fix problems won't create the opportunities our children deserve - I will go to Baton Rouge to change that.”

For Louisiana, press inquiries contact Maness Press at 985-218-0135.

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Read more here

Posted on June 30, 2017 and filed under Rob Maness, Republicans, Louisiana.

Graves Introduces Common-Sense SNAP Reform Bill

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“We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want…”

Washington, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 to require the program to do more to connect the unemployed with existing job placement and job training opportunities so that more people who are able to work can. Graves introduced the bill to fight poverty, support families and promote self-sufficiency while helping stem the tide of government dependence.

Graves’ legislationbuilds upon the successful track record of mandatory federal work requirements first established in President Bill Clinton’s 1996 “welfare reform,” taking a similar approach to strengthen the work requirements for “able-bodied adults without dependents” who are food stamp recipients through SNAP.

“There are talented people across our country who aren’t pursuing the full potential of their capabilities largely because government incentives make it more profitable in some cases to stay home and collect welfare than to pursue personal growth and responsibility through work,” said Graves. “Government needs to provide a safety net for the vulnerable, but it’s become a lifestyle for some to actively choose government assistance over work – that’s a disservice to those people, the economy and the taxpayer. We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want and to get capable people off the sidelines and involved in building America’s future. This bill is a small step toward that goal.”

A job is a powerful tool for getting out of poverty and securing long term prosperity. As such, this bill would reinforce the work requirement for certain able bodied adults with no dependents in order to receive SNAP benefits.

 

Specifically, the bill contains the following provisions –

·        Creates additional opportunities to satisfy the work requirement through a supervised job search.

·        Reduces the number of SNAP recipients exempt from the work requirement.

·        Retains state flexibility for exempting certain individuals from the work requirement.

In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals.

Graves continued: “Hard times invariably come and when they do, Americans deserve to have peace of mind knowing that there are systems in place to help them get back on their feet – that won’t be the case if the government keeps spending the way it does now. We have to do a better job protecting resources for those truly in need by helping those down on their luck find new opportunities to earn a living.”

The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program. The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8 million in 2015. Costs have risen from $20.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2000 to $83.1 billion in FY 2014.

A number of states in recent years have instituted similar work requirements, helping more people find jobs and producing dramatic declines in food stamp rolls. Alabama, for example, reinstated SNAP work requirements in 13 counties that were exempted after the economic downturn of 2011-2013. Those counties experienced an 85% drop in food stamp participation and a corresponding decrease in unemployment. In one of those counties, the jobless rate was down 11 points in April 2017 compared to April 2011. 

If it becomes law, Graves’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for millions dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Garrett Graves.