- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:

___

May 19

The Houma Courier on supporting the shrimping industry:

For years, the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has used a humorous promotional campaign featuring cows who want you to eat more chicken, out of a sense of self-preservation.



Since last couple of weeks has seen both the reopening of many restaurants and the start of shrimp season, perhaps the cry Eat More Shrimp would be more locally relevant.

The seafood industry is one of the pillars of both Louisiana’s economy and its culture, and local shrimpers have been struggling to make a living since the coronavirus outbreak has caused restaurants to be shut down.

While those who catch and/or process the shrimp we love have come up with some creative ways to get their product to consumers, their most dependable and lucrative market is the restaurant business.

According to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, restaurants buy 80% of both imported and domestic shrimp. With restaurants closed or offering only takeout for most of the last two months, making a living in the seafood business, never easy in the best of times, has been almost impossible.

Shrimpers were suffering before the coronavirus hit. Due to flooding upriver on the Mississippi, last year’s spring shrimp season was deemed “a disaster.”

With the restaurants opening back up, and folks wanting and needing to be reacquainted with the food that makes Louisiana the special place it is, going out of your way to sample native seafood is a delicious way to give a boost to a local economy, and local people, that sorely need it.

Just as much as for those Chick-fil-A cows, it is also an act of self-preservation, for your neighbors and your community. The cows may have spelled it wrong, but we won’t: Eat more shrimp.

Online: https://www.houmatoday.com/

___

May 17

The American Press on funding childcare as the state reopens:

Louisiana’s child care centers were going to get an additional $25 million in state aid for fiscal 2020-21, but that is going to be difficult because of an expected $1 billion revenue shortfall. The coronavirus pandemic has also taken a $30 million financial hit on those child-care provider centers.

The state is getting at least $1.8 billion in federal aid to help combat costs of the pandemic, but The Advocate said whether any of that money can be used to provide relief to child care centers is unclear.

The Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), the Louisiana Policy Institute, which is a child advocacy group, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and many others are advocates of adequate funding for childcare. They realize parents and caregivers working in every industry won’t be able to return to work and keep the economy moving without childcare.

CABL said public schools and public pre-K programs have access to public funding that has helped make them whole through the crisis. However, the council said childcare for young children is primarily a private sector initiative and has been severely impacted by severe job losses across the economy.

Child care centers are requesting $71 million in mostly federal dollars to help centers reopen and remain solvent while serving smaller numbers of students at affordable costs. The Advocate reported that the state Department of Education has said only 31 percent of the state’s 1,400 publicly funded centers remain open amid dwindling attendance.

The $71 million needed includes $26 million in federal funds to finance increased cleaning and sanitation at the centers, for rehiring, screening staff and operational expenses. Another $20 million in federal dollars would allow centers to operate with smaller groups of students with pre-pandemic tuition. The remaining $25 million would help subsidize low-income families of 4,000 children so they could work, attend school or undergo job training.

Closed centers affect about 83,000 children and childcare centers said they need an average of $23,000 to reopen. The 1 in 3 centers that remain closed that care for more than 2,000 full- and part-time workers said they would remain closed permanently if the shutdown continues.

CABL is correct when it says childcare and early education are critical for the formation and development of children. Federal funding may help care centers bounce back, and state legislators need to ensure they can provide the other money child care centers need.

Online: https://www.americanpress.com/

___

May 16

The Advocate on recent bills launched in the legislature allowing firearms in places of worship:

In the name of gun rights, a ridiculous measure was launched in the Legislature, overriding the pastor and congregation of any church and forcing it to allow firearms in places of worship.

Another bill would, without regard to local views or conditions, overrule decisions by cities or parishes on sensible gun control regulations. Yet another bill would not allow authorities to regulate firearms during a state of emergency.

Extremism is on the march, in a Legislature that has vastly more important things to do.

What are these bills doing even being heard in committee in a session during which the state is struggling with a pandemic of a deadly disease? Great question.

What is happening is that bills that previously failed in years past are being slipped through while the public is not paying attention.

People in real life have serious distractions in their lives. Attendance to the State Capitol is sharply limited because of the coronavirus danger. The hordes of people who’d ordinarily be stalking the halls to kill dangerous bills - snakes, in common legislative parlance - are no longer in evidence.

The snakes are sliding through and should be stomped on by more responsible members of House and Senate.

Further, the Legislature’s main duty is to deal with a budget, and that is very difficult while revenues are falling and businesses are hurting. It’s a serious mark against new House Speaker Clay Shexnayder, R-Gonzales, and Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, that these other bills are condoned in what should be a short session devoted to the pandemic emergency.

We particularly note that many churches - not to mention local governments, like parish and city councils - don’t want their authority to regulate their own affairs taken away.

A previous compromise to meet the demands of pro-gun lobbyists was to allow congregations to decide whether weapons would be allowed in their services.

Will Hall, of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, helped create the existing law. He said House Bill 334 by Rep. Bryan Fontenot, R-Thibodaux, would probably force hiring of security because church leaders won’t know who is carrying firearms into the sanctuary.

We think it’s nutty for anyone to carry a gun into a house of God, but obviously some people want to. That’s not a good reason to take decisions away from the congregants themselves.

Further, even large congregations have been hurt by the coronavirus stay-at-home orders. The smallest should not be burdened by what is essentially a new and costly mandate, that they hire an off-duty deputy or other security folks to protect worshippers.

Is the new Legislature, acting in the shadow of the coronavirus, going to pass extremist bills that have often failed before? Looks like it, unless someone shoots the snakes.

Online: https://www.theadvocate.com/

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide