"We have been waiting seven long years for a new WRDA bill, and this year, the House and Senate finally came together in agreement on a bill that will authorize $3.6 billion in crucial flood control, navigation and hurricane protection projects for Louisiana," Landrieu said in a statement. "But a presidential veto threat still looms heavy over this accomplishment. I stand united with the Louisiana delegation in our effort to override a veto and ensure this bill is passed with or without administration approval." Gov. Blanco also issued a statement urging President Bush not to veto the bill.
The bill passed the House with 394 votes in April, and cleared the Senate with 91 votes in May. Should President Bush veto the bill as he has threatened, it will return to both Houses of Congress, where it needs a 2/3 vote ' 290 in the House, 67 in the Senate ' for a veto override. ... DEMOCRATS FEELING COCKY With a string of positive press reports in recent weeks, Dems in the state House are feeling froggy when it comes to maintaining control of the lower chamber. The GOP didn't recruit as many high-caliber candidates as it had hoped, and Democrats seem to be sitting pretty, if you believe published numbers. "We're absolutely going to keep a majority," says Kacie Nee, director of the House Democratic Caucus. "There's no question about it. This is the first time where we're seeing several members getting involved."
Reps. Eric LaFleur of Ville Platte and Don Cazayoux of New Roads have been leading the charge on the ground. While keeping up the count has been the top priority, the recruiting efforts also serve as a foundation for the coming race for speaker of the House, which Cazayoux supposedly has an inside track on during these early days.
As for a quick update, these are a few seats Democrats contend they are ready to claim: House Districts 33 in Sulphur, 37 in Jennings, 54 in lower Lafourche and 95 in New Orleans. District 84 in Marrero, though, can be chalked up for Republicans, Nee says.
Froggy or not, some of those races could still be up for grabs. The most recent report on file with the state shows the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority has raised more than $1 million and still has about $700,000 in the bank. ... AND THERE SHALL BE ONLY TWO? When Democrat Walter Boasso, a state senator from Arabi, dropped his commercial bomb last week on the GOP frontrunner Bobby Jindal, the Republican Kenner congressman took the attack personally and responded by returning the volley with not one, but two ads hitting back at Boasso.
Boasso's ad, titled "Shame On You," features a Slidell woman who took Jindal to court when he was head of the Department of Health and Hospitals ' and won. Mental health services had been cut under Jindal's leadership and her brother ended up on the streets. In return, Jindal fired off two ads defending his record and depicting Boasso first as a "clown" and then as a friend to the "old corrupt crowd."
Jindal's obsession with responding to every charge levied against him (something he didn't do during his 2003 bid for governor) may backfire. Jindal's ads help voters frame the primary as a two-person race, which is exactly what Boasso's camp wants.
If you need evidence that the strategy may be working for the Boasso team (the campaign says it intends to keep Jindal on the defensive by using more personal-testimony accounts in the near future), just consider the first sentence from last week's initial coverage of the tit-for-tat in The Advocate: "Two top candidates for governor tore into each other's records in television ads airing across the state." As for The Times-Picayune, it published nearly 30 paragraphs on the beef without ever mentioning any other candidate by name. ... LONGTIME DNR OFFICIAL ON THE WAY OUT Attention lawmakers and lobbyists: If you are working a project through Randy Hanchey over at the Department of Natural Resources, you better find a new workhorse to carry your water. The longtime deputy secretary has served his last official day and will exhaust his leave by the end of December. Hanchey came to DNR from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and brought along that trademark pit-bull attitude with him. He developed a name for himself by taking on all comers and speaking bluntly, even to the press.
Hanchey's exit, however, doesn't mean DNR is losing its edge. One of his final responsibilities has been to help the department draft its legislative agenda for the 2008 session ' and it could be a doozy. Since Katrina made landfall, it's been an accepted fact that land (no one knows how much, still) will need to be seized by the state to carry forth with recovery. Monique Edwards, DNR's executive counsel, says land rights will be on tap for the new Legislature, but she provided no further details. "We'll keep pushing the envelope," she says. ... DEMOCRATS HOST WEEKLY ROUNDTABLE AT DWYER'S Frank Flynn and Lester Gauthier of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Party have started a weekly roundtable to informally discuss this year's election issues with party candidates and voters. The Democratic Roundtable takes place each Thursday morning at 7:15 A.M. at Dwyer's CafÃ© in downtown Lafayette. Flynn and Gauthier are encouraging all Democratic candidates, voters, supporters and activists to attend. For more information, call Lester Gauthier at 264-1783 or Frank Flynn at 291-1250.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Nathan Stubbs, Mary Tutwiler
Jindal describes the privatization as a cost-cutting move to save the state more than $100 million this year, while improving services and medical training.
A Baton Rouge judge is reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws.
Ambassador François Delattre will also receive an honorary doctorate of francophone studies at the commencement at the Cajundome.
During the past seven games, the Saints have forced two turnovers — a league low during that span. Now they're trying to figure out what has changed since their first seven games, when they forced 15 turnovers.
Choice cuts from Acadiana’s news media for Friday, Dec. 20, 2013:
For many fans, it was their third consecutive year participating in French Quarter parade.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 20, 2013:
Lafayette Parish School Board member Greg Awbrey deserves an attaboy for his unexpected vote during Wednesday’s meeting approving a mediation session between the board and Superintendent Pat Cooper.
The cable television network's suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the hit reality show has drawn criticism from the governor of Robertson's home state.
The State Bond Commission gave preliminary approval to the borrowing plan Thursday without objection.
The Pediatric Clinic is housed in the same location previously closed by state budget cuts in June 2012.
Three-term Louisiana senator facing tough re-election battle is next in line for Energy Committee chairmanship.
In a letter distributed during Wednesday night's meeting, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb, in his final meeting as board president, called on his fellow board members to start focusing on the children and stop battling Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Joshua Dore of Breaux Bridge was sentenced Tuesday to 1.5 years in prison for counterfeiting, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office on Wednesday.
School super Pat Cooper alleges Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Allen Babineaux, an attorney, publicly disclosed the details of a closed-door executive session.
Sun Belt commissioner presents title and practice gets under way in preparation for Saturday
Kerry Bertrand’s charge was upgraded Tuesday by an Acadia Parish grand jury from manslaughter to second-degree murder for his alleged role in the drowning death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur.
Sean Payton announced Wednesday that veteran Shayne Graham was New Orleans' new kicker, and that rookie Terron Armstead would get his first start at left tackle.
Should new parents be required by law to attend special classes before being permitted to raise their child? It’s an idea state Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is seriously considering.
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board tells it all: The board has lost sight of its elected purpose.
A public Mass will be held Thursday in New Orleans for artist George Rodrigue, who died Saturday of cancer at age 69.
Eight former employees of The Times-Picayune have sued the newspaper and parent Advance Publications Inc., alleging their layoffs violated a longstanding "job security pledge" and age discrimination laws.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration hasn't done an independent performance review of its $363 million privatization contract for mental health and addictive disorder treatment services.
"Whether it's the tackle position, whether it's a player on defense ... we're going to look closely at what our options are and what gives us the best chance."
Get to Cajun Field today and show your bowl-bound pride