Queen Anna Reilly and King Todd Graves toss trinkets to guests at the 2018 Washington Mardi Gras Ball. 

Today in The Rundown: Much of Louisiana state government and many of the "political insiders" have by now officially migrated to the “65th Parish” for the annual Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras festivities that run through this weekend.

Gov. John Bel Edwards headed out Wednesday with an anticipated return on Sunday (and a fundraiser tonight, and AG Jeff Landry had one last night). 

In addition to the governor, expect state lawmakers, influential lobbyists and others interested in our politics to trek to the nation’s capital for the annual Carnival celebration that draws thousands of revelers and is hosted by Louisiana’s congressional delegation. The chairman of this year's event is none other than U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, and the captain of this year’s Mystick Krewe of Louisianians is U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, of Jefferson.

-- But we still have more to talk about in Louisiana state government this week: The state could become a key player in the U.S. Supreme Court's future rulings on abortion; a watchdog group has weighed in on New Orleans' hotel tax; CPRA has a new director; and more in Louisiana politics news. Here's The Rundown:

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The Countdown…

Days until the start of the legislative session: 67

Days until election day: 254

The News

Abortion: A contentious Louisiana law could become a major test for the U.S. Supreme Court's future abortion decisions: http://bit.ly/2CUm6NV

U.S. Senate: Quote machine Sen. John Kennedy will be one of the headline roasters at an exclusive Washington media dinner: http://bit.ly/2RZ4ydO

NOLA: A government watchdog has waded into the big-dollar tax dispute between Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the tourism industry: http://bit.ly/2CSuXja

Coastal issues: A new Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority head has been named: http://bit.ly/2CZx3ho

K-12: Official say the state's student discipline practices have to change because Louisiana's system of alternative education is riddled with problems: http://bit.ly/2CWvsZC

Early ed: The Legislature should allocate about $86 million this year to address the most urgent child care and education needs of youngsters from birth to age 3, according to a state panel: http://bit.ly/2CUGwGt

ICYMI: Help improve our coverage heading into 2019 with this survey about what issues are important to you in the governor race. http://bit.ly/2CBIvzx

Happening today

In the 65th Parish, aka Washington, D.C. for Mardi Gras festivities:

  • Check out the full schedule of festivities starting at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. central) here: http://bit.ly/2CXEpSj
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards has a $5,000 per person fundraiser in D.C. at Ruth's Chris at 7 p.m. (See the invitation here: http://bit.ly/2MFmPqR)

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