If you back out the budget issue as well as education and Common Core, U.S. Sen. David Vitter's most significant campaign plank in this year's race for governor may very well be tort reform.
At the least, it will become a serious talking point for the senior senator.
At a forum hosted recently by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Vitter said he would be talking about his efforts in front of practically every group he sees between now and October. He also promised a very personal touch if elected.
"I'll take a leadership role on the issue, including making sure every (related) committee has the right kind of members on it," said Vitter.
It played well with the energy crowd, and he undoubtedly hopes it goes over big with business and industry. If it creates a large splash, it may be enough to make business and industry forget Vitter is on the opposite side of Common Core, being against it.
He has not yet released specifics, but said the "regular threat of frivolous and harassing lawsuits" has brought him to the issue.
"We absolutely need to fix this, and I'm the only candidate for governor who will take this on and get it done," said Vitter.
Privatization push slowing down
So far there's only one new privatization push this session coming from the administration: a solicitation for a third party to provide services for daily operations and management of the chilled water plants in Baton Rouge.
"There's nothing else that I know of," said Gregory Dupuis, a spokesperson for the Division of Administration.
The administration was unable to immediately provide an annual savings Thursday, but when coupled with surplus property sales in the coming fiscal year, which is how the privatization was pitched to lawmakers two weeks ago, combined savings come to $17 million.
Dupuis said the state will purchase chilled water back from the provider at a competitive or even discounted rate. The provider selected will in turn leverage the plants by selling the same services to other customers. The provider will also be on the hook for maintenance, improvements and equipment. The state will still maintain ownership of the plants throughout the term that's negotiated.