SMART Transportation Division LO-021
                      429 Government St.
                    Baton Rouge LA 70802


Early Voting - 9/17/2018

As railroaders we have a very unstable schedule so early voting is a great way to know that your vote will be counted. Early voting in the 2018 primaries will begin on Oct. 23-30 (except Sunday, Oct. 28) from 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Get out and Vote. 

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Voter Registration - 9/17/2018

If you have not registered to vote or don’t know your voting status please visit Geaux vote under the links page to find out   

  • The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Oct. 16.
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2018 Elections - 7/19/2018

Qualifying for the 2018 Elections are this week. The Primary and General elections are coming up fast and we as Union Members need to have our voice heard. We need to get the word out to vote and take back our State. Our Unions are being attacked every day, therefore nothing is more important than changing the culture of Louisiana's Politics. Let's be sure our friends, family members, co-workers and ourselves are registered to vote, I have provided a link below to check ones voteing status and register if not already registered. 

 

http://www.congressweb.com/smart_transportation/voterinformation/

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Trade disputes are putting Nations healthy economy at risk - 7/12/2018

Trade disruptions are putting nation's healthy economy at risk, Union Pacific's CEO says

Lance Fritz at the press club

Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz speaking Thursday at the National Press Club.

JOSEPH MORTON/THE WORLD-HERALD

WASHINGTON — From the threat of NAFTA withdrawal to the ongoing tariff battles, trade disruptions are threatening to undermine an otherwise robust economy, the head of Union Pacific said Thursday. 

“The decisions made here in Washington about trade affect my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and all of our citizens,” Lance Fritz said at the National Press Club. “It affects the 7,300 communities that Union Pacific serves.”

The chairman, president and CEO of the Omaha-based freight rail behemoth has been publicly and pointedly making the case this year for free trade, which is fundamental to the company’s bottom line.

About 40 percent of Union Pacific traffic originates or ends outside the United States. And the railroad handles 70 percent of the business going in and out of Mexico. 

Pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement would "be disastrous" and jeopardize millions of jobs tied to trade with Mexico and Canada, Fritz said.

He spoke vividly about trade’s positive impact on American workers from Ohio factory employees making auto parts to Iowa soybean farmers.

“Those soybeans are shipped by us down to Mexico,” Fritz said. “They get crushed into oil and meal. And the oil comes back across the border as vegetable oil sold in our grocery stores.”

Fritz cited the case of a Union Pacific customer who has had a load of steel sitting on a boat outside the port of Long Beach for weeks over a dispute about who will pay the 25 percent tariff.

President Donald Trump has sought to reassure Americans about his trade moves, insisting that they will be better off in the end.

He tweeted Wednesday from the NATO summit in Brussels that he’s “always thinking about our farmers” and that soybean prices were declining even before his election.

“I will open things up, better than ever before, but it can’t go too quickly," he wrote. "I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!”

Fritz said he applauds the administration for its attempt to level the trade playing field and said China’s bad practices have to be addressed.

But the best way to confront China, he said, is as a united front with allies, and is achieved by modernizing trade agreements and working together rather than tariffs and trade wars.

“If the United States of America doesn’t write the rules of global trade, I’m sure China would be more than happy to write them for us,” Fritz said.

The railroad serves more than 10,000 customers, operating in 23 states over 32,000 miles of track. It employs 42,000, including 8,300 in Nebraska (more than half of those in the Omaha metro area).

It’s an economic bellwether, Fritz noted, with overall trends showing up in their carloads before they’re reflected in official statistics. From his perspective, he said, it’s clear the economy is going strong.

An easing of government regulations and corporate tax overhaul have spurred companies to make capital investments, he said, and consumer confidence is up.

Union Pacific itself has used excess cash to increase its capital investment by more than $150 million, he said, in addition to rewarding shareholders with dividends and stock buybacks.

But trade disruptions threaten to up-end positive economic trends.

Cratering soybean prices are making it tough for farmers to turn a profit while lumber tariffs are driving up the cost of housing, Fritz said.

He cited studies indicating manufacturing job losses are due more to automation than trade and talked about the need for a climate in which businesses have the confidence to invest.

“But the recent trade policies have done the opposite by creating uncertainty that’s going to cause capital investment to slow down,” he said.

Union Pacific has seen a direct impact from by the trade situation. It imports long sections of steel track from Japan. The company has sought a tariff waiver for those imports but is still awaiting a decision from the Commerce Department.

The first shipment of rails from Japan post-tariffs came in May and that boat sat in the San Francisco harbor for weeks because of a dispute over who would pay the tariff.

The tariff involved with that one boat amounted to $6 million — and there are up to half a dozen such shipments a year.

“That’s real money,” Fritz told The World-Herald in an interview before his speech.

Nebraska and Iowa lawmakers are largely on the same page with Fritz when it comes to trade, but their objections to the administration’s policies thus far have come via speeches, letters and this week's support for a nonbinding Senate resolution.

Asked whether Congress is acting aggressively enough, Fritz praised the resolution and said its overwhelming passage sends a message to the president.

“I do see Congress thinking about what their role could be, should be and taking action on it,” Fritz said. “I’d always like to see more.”

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President Trump SCOTUS nominee - 7/9/2018

President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of The United States. 

Judge Kavanaugh will now go through the confirmation process. 

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Welcome to the website for the Lousiana Legislative Board

 

The Louisiana State Legislature is a bicameral body, comprised
of a lower house (The Louisiana House of Representatives) and
an upper house (The Louisiana Senate).  The Louisiana House of
Representatives has 105 elected representatives and the Louisiana
Senate has 39.  Both houses currently have a Republican elected majority.