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
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.