CRAVINS JR. WEIGHS PARTY SWITCH, CONGRESSIONAL RUN State Sen. Don Cravins Jr. is considering a run for Congress in the 7th District — possibly as an independent. “Right now, my wife and I are talking about it,” he says. “I’m being contacted by the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]. People are still approaching me — even some Republicans in the district, asking me to consider running. I’m considering it.” No candidate has emerged to face off against Republican Congressman Charles Boustany, who is up for re-election this fall.
Cravins is also considering the possibly of running as an independent, which would allow him to go directly on the November ballot, bypassing a possible party primary in October. The 35-year-old state senator says he has considered switching his party affiliation for some time now because of his more conservative pro-life, pro-gun views. Cravins says conservative Democrats have the issue of getting labeled with a more liberal national party, especially in a Congressional race. “When you’re a Democratic candidate for Congress during a presidential election,” Cravins adds, “you get the baggage of the national party.” Also weighing on Cravins’ mind is a history of lackluster Democratic Party support for African-American candidates in major state elections. In 2004, Cravins Jr. watched as his father’s run for the 7th District seat failed to generate much backing from the Democratic Party establishment, which favored his white Democratic rival, state Sen. Willie Mount.
DIM-WITTED HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES GUNS ON CAMPUS In what will likely go down as one of the most boneheaded moves of the newly-constituted Legislature, the House Criminal Justice Committee voted 11-3 to allow college students to carry guns on campus. The committee members voting against House Bill 199 by Republican Rep. Ernest Wooten of Belle Chasse (chairman of the committee) were Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport; Roy Burrell D-Shreveport; and Republican Frank Howard, a retired Vernon Parish sheriff. Acadiana legislators voting for it were Elbert Guillory of Opelousas and Mickey Guillory of Eunice, both Democrats.
The measure now moves to the full House for debate, where cooler heads are likely to prevail.
The issue of allowing students to carry licensed, concealed handguns on campuses comes in the wake of college shootings across the country, including recent incidents at LSU, where two international students were murdered, and Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge, where the shooter killed two classmates before turning the gun on herself.
While the majority of college students who testified at the three-hour committee hearing spoke against the legislation, committee members did hear from students who support it. According to The Advocate, Southeastern Louisiana University student Geoffrey Green said he wants to be able to defend his friends if necessary. “I feel defenseless,” he said. “It’s not fair that we’re not able to defend ourselves.”
In approving the measure, the committee members dismissed a litany of arguments laid out by law enforcement and school officials, including Commissioner of Higher Education (and incoming UL president) T-Joe Savoie, who, according to The Advocate, said permitted gun carriers would be bringing guns from classrooms to LSU’s Tiger Stadium — where, like most college stadiums, raucous students gather and tempers often flare. “That gives new meaning to Death Valley,” Savoie said.
SEN. MCPHERSON GETS “CUTESY” WITH TAX-REPEAL VOTE There are lots of adjectives to describe the qualities that voters hope for in politicians. Committed. Principled. Decisive. But when there’s $302 million in annual tax reductions for Louisiana taxpayers at stake, Democratic state Sen. Joe McPherson can leave you speechless.
Senate Bill 87 started out as legislation proposed by Shreveport Republican Sen. Buddy Shaw to repeal income tax increases included in the 2002 Stelly Plan. Abbeville Democratic Sen. Nick Gautreaux upped the ante with an amendment that calls for a full repeal of Louisiana personal income taxes, to be phased in over 10 years. Pretty heady stuff — it’ll reportedly cost the treasury $4 billion if it passes. Gautreaux’s amendment passed 19-18. The Times-Picayune noted:
“Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, apologized to his colleagues for voting in favor of Gautreaux’s amendment, providing the winning margin. He said he voted for the amendment in the expectation that it would fail and would have switched his vote to ‘no’ had he realized it was the winning margin.
“‘I can count, and I saw it was going to lose and I wanted to be on the record as doing away with income taxes,’ said McPherson, who acknowledged that he was trying to be ‘cutesy’ with his vote.”
How comforting. Potentially historic legislation that would impact the finances of every Louisiana taxpayer and prompt a major overhaul of the state budget, and McPherson thinks it’s time to be “cutesy.”
Contributors: Nathan Stubbs, Leslie Turk and Scott Jordan
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)