For two terms, Louisiana Gov John Bel Edwards protected New Orleans’ values.  He vetoed bills like unrestrained concealed carry. He even aided New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s push for more money back from New Orleans’ largess of state sales tax contributions. But new Governor, Jeff Landry, is fast-tracking Louisiana’s statewide preemption of New Orleans values for Louisiana values.  Because of Edwards, Louisiana is late to the party.  Blue cities in red states experienced this for at least a decade.  But like many things Louisiana, this is trickier to pull off in Louisiana than the mad rush in this legislative special crime session might indicate.

Just think back to Mayor Cantrell’s shining hours as mayor.  COVID.  The attacks were clear. Open the city.  Stop the restrictions.  She held her ground and enjoyed then Gov. Edwards support. And then Attorney General Jeff Landry could only criticize the mayor. Many other states saw completely different circumstances.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis completely opened his state.  Georgia governor Brian Kemp sparred with and overruled Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms mask mandates and business policies.  Any governor’s ability to implement these policies is because of preemption.

Crime Session a Tourism Killer

The preemption doctrine refers to the idea that a higher authority of law will displace the law of a lower authority of law when the two authorities come into conflict.  And across America a political/economic shift occurred.  There are currently 27 states that have Republican governors.  Interestingly, most red states have large blue progressive cities.  And these Democrat led cities are the economic engines of the Republican states. But like in Louisiana currently, the legislatures are dominated by Republican legislators. And like the special crime session in Louisiana, values preemption occurs.

New Orleans legislative delegation argued against many of the bills being pushed through the special crime session.  But the super majority Republican caucus offered simple, straight forward answers that wreaked of a bygone era.  Knowing they had all the necessary votes, they offered only meager debate combined with lots of attitude. And the supermajority Republicans have complete control over the types of bills coming out of the session.  Concealed carry.  No problem.  But wait, suppose we accidentally shoot the wrong person.  No problem. Another introduced bill eliminates criminal charges. Another eliminates civil liability. 

Crime Session a Tourism Killer

But the smug and all-powerful attitudes miss an important factor.  Across the country Democrat cities that are the economic engines are primarily technology and information business hubs. But NOLA is different. New Orleans is a port city but the biggest economic driver is tourism.  If national drivers of tourism disagree with the types of laws Louisiana enacts, they may choose to skip New Orleans. Just think if the NFL says no Super Bowl because the wild, wild west is not safe for fans, then…..Or if the AMA says our doctors don’t want to book the New Orleans Convention Center because the state shares the identification of juveniles accused of crimes, then….

These aggressive and regressive new laws certainly represent Louisiana values. But they are not New Orleans values.  If these Louisiana values stop tourism in the city, the state’s coffers suffer dramatically.  What then?

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