When the president vetoed the WRDA bill on Nov. 2, both legislative chambers vowed to push through the domestic spending bill for water projects. The first veto override of Bush's presidency was passed by a comfortable margin. Contained in a $459.3 billion defense bill that cleared both the House and Senate was $2 billion in defense spending for Louisiana, and with a late insert by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, $3 billion to bail out the state's floundering Road Home.
"This is a great victory for Louisiana's recovery," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said after the House but before the Senate passed the legislation. "Today's House vote sends a message to homeowners still struggling to rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita that Congress is committed to fulfilling the federal promise to Gulf Coast residents. But this is only one step towards filling the Road Home shortfall ' the Senate will consider the matter next, and I urge them and President Bush to support this critical funding to prevent the Road Home from running short."
Gov.-elect and U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal was in Washington for both votes. "This is a huge step," he told The Advocate. "The government has made promises to these families, and they need to keep these promises." ... VITTER'S HUSTLER NIGHTMARE No one is happier right now about the TV writers' strike than U.S. Sen. David Vitter. With late-night comics like Jay Leno and David Letterman shutting down production and airing reruns until the strike is resolved, Louisiana's junior senator is getting a temporary reprieve from being the butt of jokes for his latest return to the headlines. Hustler magazine's new issue features an explicit pictorial of Wendy Ellis, the former New Orleans prostitute who alleges Vitter regularly visited her for services in 1999. Ellis also recounts graphic details of the encounters, down to the smallest of details.
The Hustler issue hit newsstands a week after the news that Vitter could be subpoenaed by the D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey to testify at a Nov. 28 hearing about his involvement with one of the madam's "escorts." Vitter's phone number appeared five times in the D.C. Madam's phone records between 1999 and 2001. ... LANDRIEU VOWS TO REFORM FEMA Nearly 50,000 residents in Louisiana and Texas are still living in temporary FEMA trailers that have formaldehyde, a carcinogen, in the flooring, cabinetry and wallboard. Last week, CBS News discovered, through internal e-mails, that the federal agency that still won't fully acknowledge its trailers pose a threat to residents' health has been warning its employees to stay out of the trailers.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu took the agency to task for the double-standard in a letter and chastised it for halting the CDC's testing. "Storm victims are suffering from the health effects of formaldehyde exposure while the agency, fully aware of the danger reflected in its own employee policy, is blocking public scrutiny of the extent of the carcinogen in these trailers," Landrieu wrote. "It turns out the agency has no idea what it would do with the information once it's compiled."
She continued, "These are more sad examples of the ineptitude by the broken agency. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, I will use my jurisdiction over FEMA to press forward with the agency's reform. We need a swift, effective and smart agency with flexibility in its response ' not an agency that knowingly leaves American disaster victims exposed to a whole new nightmare from the walls of their FEMA-built temporary homes."
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Leslie Turk and Mary Tutwiler
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.