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
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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
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.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.