Dems, GOP target ‘15 session for shared agenda

Special to the Herald-Guide
August 08, 2014 at 9:26 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

By Jeremy Alford

While the Democratic and Republican parties in Louisiana have decided to team up to pursue unlimited fundraising possibilities on the federal level, there may also be a shared legislative agenda in the works on the state level for the 2015 session.

The executive directors from both parties say there are at least three issues they already agree on and are willing to sit together at the committee table to discuss.

The first involves the state’s qualifying period, which is usually held in the early fall, around August, and less than three months before the primary.

“Practically everywhere else around the country it’s held in the spring,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Pushing it up will give us more time to prepare and will settle the fields sooner. I also think it could help the secretary of state’s office, since they would have more time to get the ballots ready and prepare for the elections.”

Fundraising could be on the menu as well. With a recent court decision clearing the way for the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a super PAC, or political action committee, to collect unlimited donations on the state level, the parties would like to see a law passed that gives the same privilege to their own state-regulated independent expenditure accounts.

Lawmakers may also be asked to put the court’s super PAC decision into law.

“That’s something we both agree on,” said Jason Doré, executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party.

Additionally, the pair is interested in exploring the limits on when and where campaign signs can be placed in advance of elections.

The issue sprouted in Lafayette earlier this year when a long-forgotten local ordinance was discovered allowing signs on private property only within three months of balloting. “It’s private property and should be a freedom of speech issue,” said Handwerk.

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