Conference attendees arrive for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at the Pontchartrain Convention and Civic Center in Kenner.

Today in The Rundown: State regulators contemplate changes to rural utilities; Recaps of what happened at the GOP's "Kickoff to 2020;" a familiar face joining New Orleans lobbying efforts; state leaders respond to that heartbreaking Saints loss and more in Louisiana politics today. 

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The Countdown…

Days until the start of the legislative session: 76

Days until election day: 263

The News

Utilities: State regulators and the electric cooperatives that serve about 900,000 Louisiana customers are nearing a deal that would make the most sweeping changes since the 1940s in the way the rural utilities operate.

SRLC: Hundreds of Republicans from across the South gathered in Kenner this weekend to hear from officials and pundits about the GOP's priorities in the run up to the 2020 presidential election cycle and Louisiana's state-wide races this year.

ICYMI: Two SRLC headliners from Louisiana -- U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and State House Speaker Taylor Barras -- welcomed Republicans to Kenner recounting their own battles with high-profile Democrats.

NOLA: The City of New Orleans has a new chief lobbyist, and he's a familiar face around the Capitol.

2020: Ex-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is heading back to Harvard, as his name continues to be mentioned among potential 2020 contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Education: Louisiana's top school board is set to decide whether to authorize $700,000 for pilot projects in New Orleans, Lafayette and five other communities aimed at improving access to early childhood education.

Felon voting: Louisiana is edging closer to the March 1 start date for a new law restoring voting rights to thousands of convicted felons, but with little seemingly settled about how to roll out the change. (via AP)

Elected office: When Louisiana voters enacted new restrictions on felons running for office, they inadvertently ensnared the small town of Ball in a new mayoral feud. (via AP)

Happening today

  • Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment meets at 10 a.m. in Capitol Room A-B.
  • Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, will discuss the upcoming legislative session at the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge Parish meeting at noon at Café Américain, 7521 Jefferson Hwy. in Baton Rouge.

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*The Rundown comes out Tuesdays and Thursdays, until the Louisiana Legislature is back in session, when we'll resume Monday through Friday publication.

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