In a rare split with his party's leadership, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal is siding with Democrats, and Gov. Kathleen Blanco, in an ongoing battle over expansion of a popular children's health insurance program. President Bush recently vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would have added an additional $35 million over five years to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP targets families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. The bill also would have added an estimated 4 million children to SCHIP, which now covers some 6.6 million children nationwide. In Louisiana, the bill would have made approximately 10,000 more children eligible for the program. Funds for the expansion would come from higher tobacco taxes, including a 61 cent increase on a pack of cigarettes.
In opposing the bill, Bush and other Republicans have argued that the bill undercuts private insurance by expanding the program to families that make up to 2 Â½ to 3 times the federal poverty rate. Aside from Jindal, Louisiana's Republican delegation has stood by the president. Sen. David Vitter and Congressmen Charles Boustany, Richard Baker, and Jim McCrery all expressed support for Bush's veto, as well opposing an upcoming attempt to override that veto. Jindal says he plans to vote for overriding the veto, which will require a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. The vote is expected to come up within the next two weeks.
Jindal had originally sided with Republicans on the issue. He voted against an SCHIP expansion bill in August but changed his vote this month after several bipartisan compromises were made in the legislation. Jindal drew some criticism for his original vote against the program from his Democratic rivals in the governor's race. Sate Sen. Walter Boasso has recently been running an ad that mentions that vote, along with other cuts Jindal made while he was head of the state's Department of Health and Hospitals, in an effort to portray the congressman as having "no heart" on important health care issues. Jindal has responded with a detailed rebuttal of Boasso's ad, defending his service as head of DHH and emphasizing his support for SCHIP expansion. Jindal says he took issue with the original SCHIP legislation because of provisions that threatened to limit choices for seniors on Medicare and raid the Medicare Trust Fund. ... KENNEDY: THE PERSISTENT CANDIDATE Even though Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is facing no opposition and will be re-elected, his campaign finance report reads like one belonging to a politician under heavy fire. He has an astounding $367,000 media buy in escrow and there's presently a new ad up in strategic markets. Kennedy also dropped roughly $41,000 on production costs last month ' after qualifying was over. He is spending thousands on Internet advertising with the likes of DeadPelican.com, BayouBuzz.com and PoliticsLA.com. Most notably, Kennedy's camp is dishing out payments ranging from $500 to $750 for "e-mail consulting" to Pat Bergeron of Baton Rouge, the mastermind behind LANewslink.com, a conservative-leaning blog and news source. Kennedy seems to be taking a cue from the playbook of congressman and fellow Republican Jindal. During his re-election to the House last year, Jindal dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars on media buys, despite facing only token opposition. The strategy was simple ' his bid for governor was right around the corner and federal dollars cannot be spent on state campaigns, or visa-versa. As for Kennedy, it seems more likely than ever that he's gearing up to run in 2008 against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from New Orleans. ... EARLY VOTING RUNS THROUGH OCT. 13 You don't have to wait to cast your ballot in this year's election. Voters either unable to make it to the polls on Oct. 20, or who may just want to get their election duties out of the way, can turn in early ballots this week. The early voting period runs through Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters office downtown at 1010 Lafayette St. The office is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. A picture ID is required to vote. Those unable to make it to the polls on Oct. 20 may also request a mail-in absentee ballot from the Secretary of State's office. Voters can also view sample ballots online at the secretary of state's Web site by selecting "candidate ballot number information" and entering their parish and precinct number. For more information, call the Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Office at 291-7140 or visit www.sos.louisiana.gov.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford and Nathan Stubbs
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)