When the president vetoed the WRDA bill on Nov. 2, both legislative chambers vowed to push through the domestic spending bill for water projects. The first veto override of Bush's presidency was passed by a comfortable margin. Contained in a $459.3 billion defense bill that cleared both the House and Senate was $2 billion in defense spending for Louisiana, and with a late insert by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, $3 billion to bail out the state's floundering Road Home.
"This is a great victory for Louisiana's recovery," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said after the House but before the Senate passed the legislation. "Today's House vote sends a message to homeowners still struggling to rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita that Congress is committed to fulfilling the federal promise to Gulf Coast residents. But this is only one step towards filling the Road Home shortfall ' the Senate will consider the matter next, and I urge them and President Bush to support this critical funding to prevent the Road Home from running short."
Gov.-elect and U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal was in Washington for both votes. "This is a huge step," he told The Advocate. "The government has made promises to these families, and they need to keep these promises." ... VITTER'S HUSTLER NIGHTMARE No one is happier right now about the TV writers' strike than U.S. Sen. David Vitter. With late-night comics like Jay Leno and David Letterman shutting down production and airing reruns until the strike is resolved, Louisiana's junior senator is getting a temporary reprieve from being the butt of jokes for his latest return to the headlines. Hustler magazine's new issue features an explicit pictorial of Wendy Ellis, the former New Orleans prostitute who alleges Vitter regularly visited her for services in 1999. Ellis also recounts graphic details of the encounters, down to the smallest of details.
The Hustler issue hit newsstands a week after the news that Vitter could be subpoenaed by the D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey to testify at a Nov. 28 hearing about his involvement with one of the madam's "escorts." Vitter's phone number appeared five times in the D.C. Madam's phone records between 1999 and 2001. ... LANDRIEU VOWS TO REFORM FEMA Nearly 50,000 residents in Louisiana and Texas are still living in temporary FEMA trailers that have formaldehyde, a carcinogen, in the flooring, cabinetry and wallboard. Last week, CBS News discovered, through internal e-mails, that the federal agency that still won't fully acknowledge its trailers pose a threat to residents' health has been warning its employees to stay out of the trailers.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu took the agency to task for the double-standard in a letter and chastised it for halting the CDC's testing. "Storm victims are suffering from the health effects of formaldehyde exposure while the agency, fully aware of the danger reflected in its own employee policy, is blocking public scrutiny of the extent of the carcinogen in these trailers," Landrieu wrote. "It turns out the agency has no idea what it would do with the information once it's compiled."
She continued, "These are more sad examples of the ineptitude by the broken agency. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, I will use my jurisdiction over FEMA to press forward with the agency's reform. We need a swift, effective and smart agency with flexibility in its response ' not an agency that knowingly leaves American disaster victims exposed to a whole new nightmare from the walls of their FEMA-built temporary homes."
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Leslie Turk and Mary Tutwiler
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.