LANGLINAIS SEEKING UP TO $20,000 IN VACATION PAY Former Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais, who resigned from office in July 2007 after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office, is seeking accrued vacation pay accumulated over his 14-year tenure. Langlinais’ attorney, Wade Trahan, recently sent a letter to the Iberia Parish District Attorney’s office, requesting vacation pay. The Iberia Parish Council directed Assistant District Attorney Eric Duplantis to look into the matter.
According to the parish’s Home Rule Charter, the parish president is entitled to accrued vacation and sick leave. Aside from the eight-month hiatus since Langlinais left office before applying for sick leave, there is a black hole when it comes to records. Duplantis says that during Langlinais’ time in office he never notified anyone where he was — and whether he was on parish business or his own time. Iberia Parish employee vacation and sick leave policy states: “Leave records must be maintained for employees eligible to accrue vacation leave.”
Iberia Parish Human Resources Director Donna McDonald says that she has no way to calculate how much vacation pay Langlinais might be entitled to because she has no paperwork. “I do not know how much vacation time he took, because there’s no documentation,” she says. “Everybody has to follow procedures,” says Duplantis. “Under the parish’s policy he had a duty to notify when he was out on vacation. We’re treating Will like any other employee. He has to document what he is entitled to.”
Langlinais currently receives state retirement and health insurance.
MUDBUG MADNESS IN THE LEGISLATURE If crawfish farmers and crustacean aficionados are looking for a banner-bearer, they need look no further than rookie Rep. Fred H. Mills Jr., a Democrat from Parks. The spunky Cajun is sponsoring what promises to be two of the most controversial mudbug-related bills during the upcoming regular session that opens March 31.
For an appetizer, Mills is serving up House Bill 501, which would transfer the management and regulation of wild-caught crawfish from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The latter already oversees pond operations and spearheaded an international trade suit during the 1990s, which has long left many in the industry wondering why the ag folks don’t oversee the whole shebang.
Mills’ main course, however, can be found in House Bill 266, which would force restaurants to notify their customers if the crawfish they’re serving is from a foreign country. If the law passes, all eateries — from Commander’s Palace to the mom-and-pop shop down the street — would have to update their menus.
Shrimpers tried the same trick a few years ago but were aggressively shot down by the influential Louisiana Restaurant Association. Mills should expect more of the same, especially since his bill calls for fines of up to $500 or jail time of 90 days for first-time offenders.
BILLS SEEK TO RAISE COLLEGE TUITION A trio of bills in the state Legislature would allow UL Lafayette to raise its student tuition for the 2008-2009 school year. The primary measure will come from the Board of Regents’ tuition proposal. As a backup, state Rep. Don Trahan has filed two separate measures, one of which calls on direct legislative approval for a 4 percent increase to UL Lafayette’s tuition — a rise Trahan says would be covered by TOPS. Trahan, who chairs the House education committee, also has filed a separate bill to give postsecondary management boards greater autonomy in setting tuition rates.
Trahan says UL’s tuition has lagged below the state’s other Doctoral II universities (UNO and LA Tech), in addition to smaller schools within the UL system. “[These bills] would help UL tremendously,” Trahan says. In addition, Trahan has filed a resolution on behalf of the governor to appeal to the Board of Regents to re-examine its funding of higher education. Traditionally, university funding has been based primarily on enrollment numbers. The governor wants to see other factors, including number of doctoral programs and level of faculty research, have more of an impact on funding levels.
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING: AN OFFICIAL STATE DRINK? Believe it or not but the Sazerac may be designated the “official state cocktail” at the regular legislative session that starts March 31.
An apparent fan of the concoction, Democratic Sen. Edwin Murray of New Orleans filed in advance of the session Senate Bill 6 designating the Sazerac the official state cocktail, claiming it is the first mixed drink invented in New Orleans and one of the first in the country.
“We will probably have a little fun with this bill” as a diversion from the heavy issues lawmakers will face at the upcoming session, Murray told The Times-Picayune. “There will be a very aggressive effort to get it done.”
The paper reported that Ann Tuennerman, founder of the annual New Orleans Tales of the Cocktail activities, has written Murray to urge passage of the bill because the Sazerac has “evolved over time and represents history in a glass... When folks come to New Orleans, they want certain things authentic and original to the Crescent City, be it a beignet, a po-boy, a cup of chicory coffee, oysters Rockefeller, bread pudding or Bananas Foster.”
The drink in its original form was invented in the 1830s in New Orleans by pharmacist Antoine Amedee Peychaud, who fled Haiti and opened an apothecary on Royal Street in the French Quarter, according to the Picayune. To create the drink, he added his own blend of bitters and Louisiana cane sugar to a French brandy.
Murray’s bill asks that the state to use the official cocktail on “official documents...and with the insignia of the state.”
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Mary Tutwiler and Nathan Stubbs
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.