In May 1973, Bean, a U.S. Army officer, was piloting Marine One, the helicopter that transported President Nixon. After Bean flew Nixon to Key Biscayne, Fla., the craft developed problems and crashed in the water. Bean was able to dive and help save six of the seven people still aboard the chopper, ingesting jet fuel that led to numerous health conditions.
Bean served three terms in the Senate, and Hainkel was a lawmaker for 38 years. Hainkel was the legislative force behind the TOPS plan, which was pushed by oilman Pat Taylor to help needy children go to college. The program didn't quite work as planned; Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance indicates most recipients of the scholarship program are in higher income brackets. The figures show that 40 percent of TOPS recipients are in families with incomes exceeding $75,000 annually. Thirty-four percent of the students are from families with incomes between $35,000 and $75,000. Only 23 percent of TOPS scholarships go to families earning below $35,000.
Rep. Bryant Hammett Jr., a state lawmaker closely tied to the Blanco Administration, has filed three bills calling for new local taxes on NFL tickets, Superdome concessions, rental cars and hotels. The measures are designed to pay for a Dome renovation and for annual state subsidies to the New Orleans Saints.
Gov. Blanco and team owner Tom Benson have been at odds over an agreement that former Gov. Mike Foster reached with Benson. Foster agreed to pay the team $186 million over 10 years, but the state was forced to borrow more than half of last year's $15 million payment.
Ferriday Democrat Hammett Jr. is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee where the bills would be reviewed first in the legislative process.
AIMING AT ODOM
Some Republican lawmakers are taking aim at embattled Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom in the session. A bill proposed by Republicans would strip the agricultural finance agency of $12 million in gambling money it receives annually. Another measure would require the agency to follow the public bid process to buy goods or services.
A senate panel has already voted to strip Odom of his authority to regulate a state law requiring gas stations to mark up their prices by at least 6 percent.
VITTER'S DAMAGE CONTROL
Sen. David Vitter informed the Federal Elections Commission last week that he failed to pay the expenses for a fund-raiser organized for him by Indian gambling lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A congressional panel is probing Abramoff's association with tribal clients, which resulted in $80 million dollars in fees. Melanie Sloan, who is executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is accusing Vitter of a cover-up to conceal his association with Abramoff. "I think he's lying," Sloan said in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Vitter became the first elected Republican U.S. senator from Louisiana last November. Throughout his career, he has been a staunch gambling foe, a distinction that raised eyebrows when Abramoff's name appeared on an invitation to a Vitter fund-raiser in September of 2003.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
When LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe quit as NASA chief earlier this year, he tripled his income. O'Keefe has now taken on a new and potentially lucrative additional responsibility. He's joining the board of the Sensis Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Sensis is located near Syracuse, N.Y., where O'Keefe once lived. The company provides sensors and information technology to airports, airlines, civil aviation authorities and the military. The chancellor says his duties in Syracuse won't interfere with his assignments at LSU.
JEFFERSON SWEET ON CAFTA
Louisiana's congressional delegation voted unanimously to get rid of the so-called death tax, which affects few residents of the state. But the delegation is splitting on the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The pact with five Central American nations would allow 2 million metric tons of sugar into the United States free of tariffs.
State sugar producers say the measure will depress their profits. Their concerns have made an impression on most members of the Louisiana delegation, but Congressman Bill Jefferson, D-New Orleans, says his district and the state will benefit from CAFTA.
Jefferson is backing CAFTA even though sugar accounts for 27,000 state jobs. He says his constituents will benefit from free trade, noting that port traffic in his district has quadrupled since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.