Cajundome Director Greg Davis is cautiously optimistic, noting that the bill still has "two more big hurdles" in passing the U.S. Senate and being signed by the President. The bill also aims to increase the federal government's share of the cost of relocating public buildings and other damaged infrastructure from 75 to 90 percent. All provisions would apply retroactively to areas affected by the 2005 storms. ... WRDA ON TRACK FOR VETO OVERRIDE Late last week, President Bush made good on his threat to veto the $23 billion Water Resources Development Act, which contains up to $7 billion in flood control and navigation projects for Louisiana. Within minutes, responses from the Louisiana delegation as well as legislators from all over the country, called for an override of the veto. Sens. Landrieu and Vitter and U.S. Reps. Boustany, Melancon, Baker, Alexander and Governor-elect Jindal all went on the record pledging to vote to pass the bill. Jindal says he will return to Washington this week to vote for the override.
The WRDA bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 381-40 and approved by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 81-12. This is the fifth bill the president has vetoed and will be the first one overridden, if the vote in Congress passes. Currently the bill is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday in the House and Wednesday in the Senate. ... VITTER COULD TESTIFY ABOUT SCANDAL The Times-Picayune reports that Sen. David Vitter could be subpoenaed to testify about his involvement with the "D.C. Madam." After Vitter's association with Pamela Martin & Associates was made public, he stated at a press conference that he committed a "very serious sin" and that God and his family had forgiven him. He's said little else about it since then. The Picayune noted:
"The subpoena puts Vitter, especially, in an awkward and politically damaging position. The Senate Republican caucus welcomed Vitter back into the fold after his public confession in July, but it remains to be seen how much patience Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will show if Vitter's troubles remain in the news. McConnell acted swiftly to condemn Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, after it became public that he had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges after being arrested in a gay-sex sting in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. Craig has faced intense pressure from his own caucus to resign from the Senate but has refused and has sought to withdraw the guilty plea.
"Legal experts say Vitter has little grounds to avoid testifying, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court said former President Bill Clinton had to provide testimony in Paula Jones' civil lawsuit." ... LAFAYETTE IN THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal has tapped Melissa Sellers, a 25-year-old Houston native who grew up in Lafayette, as his administration's press secretary. Sellers recently served as Jindal's campaign communications director and attended elementary and middle school in Lafayette at Broadmoor and Edgar Martin before moving back to Texas for high school. She has a bachelor's of journalism from the University of Texas and has also worked as press secretary for U.S. Congressman Jim Nussle of Iowa and as a media coordinator on President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. In other area appointments, Lafayette native, UL Lafayette graduate and Tsunami visionary Michelle Ezell has been named vice chairwoman of Jindal's small business and entrepreneurship team. Ezell will work with chairman Kevin Langley of New Orleans' Ellis Construction and make policy and hiring recommendations to Jindal before his January inauguration. ... YEAR OF THE WOMEN? The Louisiana Women's Legislative Caucus is poised to have its largest membership in state history. If every woman candidate wins her race in the runoff, there will be 31 female legislators in the House and Senate. Right now, 18 seats are guaranteed for women, while another 13 are in runoffs for Nov. 17. For the term that ends this year, the LWLC enjoyed a membership of 25, which was likewise a historic number when it flipped four years ago. The group's present chair, Rep. Nita Hutter, a Republican from St. Bernard Parish, brought a bit of extra sway to the LWLC this year through her role of state director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators. No word yet on who might be vying to lead the legislative caucus next year, but Sen. Sherri Smith-Cheek, a Keithville Republican, currently serves as LWLC's vice-chair.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, R. Reese Fuller, Scott Jordan, Nathan Stubbs, Mary Tutwiler
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Michael Sam focuses on making the team; Christians flee Mosul; Kerry at work in Middle East and more national and international news for Wednesdays, July 23, 2014.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."
State police have arrested a 42-year-old Kaplan man in the July 7 hit and run fatality crash that killed a bicyclist on Louisiana Highway 92 near Milton.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.
Lisa Hargis Smith lived a mysterious life as seen with her death earlier this month and its impact on the community of those who knew her, whether as a star student in Lafayette High’s class of ‘69, or later as a woman struggling with homelessness and mental illness.
Attorney Valerie Gotch Garrett will announce on Tuesday that she plans to run for the Division E seat of the 15th Judicial District Court.
Back in 2012, three Baton Rouge attorneys came to the aid of several disgruntled police officers with a high-profile lawsuit against the Lafayette Police chief and a number of higher-ups in city-parish government, but in a federal courtroom Thursday, their claims of conspiracy coupled with a lack of evidence backfired and the case was dismissed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration intends to rework how it pays the private managed care networks that provide health services to two-thirds of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is raising health insurance rates and cutting benefits for state employees and retirees, to keep their insurance program solvent.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials spent much of Thursday reviewing their reaction to this week’s bomb threat, which led to the closure and evacuation of UL Lafayette and Girard Park, and a massive search Wednesday for two alleged explosive devices.
"We're not in a better place from the policy perspective than we were two weeks ago," says Education Superintendent John White, commenting on Thursday's face-to-face meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss their dispute over Common Core.
Gov. Bobby Jindal appears to remain unmoved by offers of a compromise on procuring testing materials tied to the Common Core based on a terse statement his office released following a meeting Thursday with Superintendent John White.
Wednesday's Senate vote on contraception legislation is the latest example of Democrats' win-by-losing strategy, which forces Republicans to vote on sensitive matters that might rile women this fall.