If Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry are in a spat, this must be a day that ends in "y."

The two have quarreled since Edwards took office in 2016. The free, fair election of Edwards, a Democrat, seems an affront to Landry, a Republican, who has fought many of the governor's initiatives since the two took office.

Give Landry this much: Sometimes he's right.

Last week, Landry won an appeals court nod that said Edwards overstepped his authority in April 2016 when he issued an order banning discrimination in state employment on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

The appeals court ruled with Landry, although some might argue the attorney general's action was mean-spirited. Still, state lawmakers did not pass legislation that would have supported the governor; lay blame there.

"We do not live under a king in Louisiana," said Landry, who apparently missed most of the Bobby Jindal administration.

No, we live under rule of law in Louisiana, or should, and with the appeals court decision on Edwards' order, Landry can claim he and the law reside in the same neighborhood.

But Landry deserves no pass on his criticism of Louisiana justice reform, which became effective last week. Edwards ran at least partially on a platform that called for reducing our nation-leading rate of incarceration. Voters seem to agree.

Moreover, Edwards effected bipartisan study and later legislative action this year that resulted in 10 bills to, in some cases, release non-violent offenders early, enhance rehabilitation and save the state some substantial money. Seven of the 10 bills, which were signed into law effective this month, were written by Republicans.

No one can know if these laws will work. But lawmakers and the public were willing to give them a chance. Landry suggested the reform laws are dangerous and may undermine public safety, but development of the package was thoughtfully considered and legally executed.

Lawmakers' action at the governor's behest fulfills a campaign pledge. All Louisianians should be heartened when an elected official fulfills a promise.

Reform, carefully crafted, has benefited Texas, which overhauled its own criminal justice system 10 years ago with alternatives to prison and more drug treatment. If it worked there, it may work on this side of the Sabine.

Edwards' leadership on criminal justice reform was no heavy-handed work of a king. It was carried out with the deliberation that laws demand. It showed evenhanded statesmanship of a chief executive who consulted the public and worked with stakeholders and elected lawmakers before signing the bills.

If the attorney general disapproved, he might have shown up when the bills were  presented, as Edwards noted. He did not. Too late.

Time to be brave and let the new laws work. If they don't, try something new.

The Advertiser: Look ahead, not behind, on criminal justice reform