The Joint Governmental Affairs Committee will meet next Friday to formally kick off the decennial redistricting process, which is a year behind its usual schedule due to complications with COVID-19 and the U.S. Census Bureau. Aside from releasing the latest data file that will be used to redraw election lines, lawmakers on the committee will be provided with a schedule for the coming months, including dates for the redistricting roadshow. These roadshow hearings, including one that will be announced for Baton Rouge, will offer residents in each region of the state an opportunity to provide input before a special session convenes in February 2022. “As far as what the maps will ultimately look like, until we do these roadshows and hear from the people in every area, it’s all up in the air,” says House and Governmental Affairs Chair John Stefanski. “A lot of consideration will be given to what we see, hear and learn.” Next week’s meeting will also feature a conversation about the latest population figures and how they could influence district lines for members of public bodies like the Legislature, Supreme Court, Congress, Public Service Commission and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. in Room 5 of the state Capitol.
—U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Shreveport, has passed language out of a key committee that would force intelligence agencies to create “an unclassified report regarding the true origins of COVID-19.” Johnson’s amendment made it into the National Defense Authorization Act, which heads next to the House floor. “It is critical for us to have these answers to help prevent future pandemics,” Johnson says.
—U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish announced this week that Marty Reiser, his policy director, will be leaving Congress after several years of service. Francis Brooke, a former deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the National Economic Council under Larry Kudlow, will assume the role of policy director.
They said it: “In south and southeast Louisiana, they’re not focused on elections. They’re trying to regain their social footing.”—New Orleans-based pollster Silas Lee, in Gambit.