PRO-JINDAL GROUP RAISES NEARLY $750,000 The cost of gas, health care, and groceries keep going up, up, up, and the economy is struggling. But all’s good if you’re Believe in Louisiana, the non-profit group whose sole mission is to tout Gov. Bobby Jindal’s agenda and legislative accomplishments. The Times-Picayune reports that in just three months, Believe in Louisiana has raised nearly $750,000 — and it’s already spent more than $600,000 of that figure with a Virginia-based media firm.
The group was formed by Baton Rouge Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister, who also served as Jindal’s campaign treasurer. It’s organized as a 527 group, which isn’t restricted by campaign finance limits and allows for unlimited contributions. The Picayune notes: “... $625,000 of the donations came from fewer than a dozen people or companies, including four that gave $100,000 apiece: Lee Domingue, of Baton Rouge; Joseph Canizaro, of New Orleans; Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport; and Edward Diefenthal, of Metairie. McCollister donated $4,100 himself.”
DARDENNE STAYING PUT FOR NOW In the current battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and her challenger, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne was the wild card. Republican Dardenne, who’s widely respected and has high approval ratings among fellow Republicans and lawmakers, has been hedging his bets for months when asked if he’d join the fray. Injuries he sustained in an auto accident last fall put most of the campaign talk on the back burner for months.
Last week, Dardenne made it official: he’s staying put. For Kennedy, whose campaign has gotten off to a relatively slow start, it’s especially good news that he won’t have a fellow Republican to contend with in the race. The timing of Dardenne’s announcement was also a boon for Kennedy, who’s hoping for a fund-raising and name-recognition boost in the wake of President George Bush hosting a fund raiser for him last week in Baton Rouge.
As for Dardenne’s future political plans, he’s seen as a formidable challenger to U.S. Sen. David Vitter if Vitter runs for re-election in 2010.
AND SPEAKING OF KENNEDY AND LANDRIEU Landrieu has a 50 percent-38 percent lead over Republican challenger Kennedy, with 11.6 percent of voters undecided, according to a recent statewide poll. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. Louisiana’s senior senator, Landrieu is seeking a third term.
Interviews for the poll by Southern Media & Opinion Research were completed between March 26 and April 9 by telephone with 600 likely Louisiana voters; the results were released last week. Voters were asked who they’d vote for if the November election were held today.
Landrieu also received a 70 percent approval rating, which pollster Bernie Pinsonat says is extremely good, and Kennedy almost 48 percent. The good news for Kennedy is that 45 percent of the voters said they do not know enough about him to give an impression, so he has time for those numbers to move upward. Pinsonat says that he isn’t working for either candidate.
On the fund-raising front, Kennedy faces an uphill battle. While his $1.4 million raised in the first quarter of 2008 bested Landrieu’s $1 million haul, Landrieu has more than $4.5 million cash-in-hand, while Kennedy has approximately $1.6 million on that front.
LAKE PEIGNEUR BILL DIES Last Thursday, members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against a bill that would have limited the expansion of natural gas storage caverns under Jefferson Island. It was a major setback for the citizens group Save Lake Peigneur, which has been fighting against the expansion for more than a year. Sen. Troy Hebert, SB 194’s author, told The Daily Iberian that the committee is “very friendly” with the oil industry. He added, “That lake has been poked more times than my grandmother’s pincushion.”
The group AGL Resources intends to add two caverns to the existing facility. Save Lake Peigneur Vice President Nara Crowley told The Daily Iberian, “The bottom line is that the lobbyists and the company, the people with the money, they could afford to sway the vote.” The bill sought to protect “the ground water of Lake Peigneur by prohibiting the development, expansion, or conversion of certain storage caverns in the Jefferson Island salt dome.” The vote against the bill was 4 to 3.
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Leslie Turk and R. Reese Fuller
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.