HARDY’S NOOSE BILL MOVES FORWARD Democratic State Rep. Rickey Hardy’s bill to outlaw nooses displayed as a threat is another step closer to becoming Louisiana law. Last week, the House unanimously approved House Bill 726, which “creates the crime of public display of a noose with the intent to intimidate.”
Hardy’s bill comes after racial hostilities flared in Jena in 2006 after nooses were hung from a schoolyard tree. Six black teenagers at Jena High School later beat a white classmate and were charged with attempted murder. The case of the Jena Six garnered national attention resulting in a march on the small central Louisiana town.
Post-Jena, incidents of nooses being displayed in public places rose in Louisiana and across the nation. New York recently outlawed the displaying of nooses as a threat, making it a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
EARMARK IRONY Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has taken to beating up on earmarks, promising to veto the expensive riders if lawmakers are unable to justify their requests. For Jindal, however, it’s another case of “do as I say, not as I do.” As a congressman from Kenner last year, Jindal secured 26 earmarks totaling more than $100 million, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a national advocacy group. That’s more than any other member of Louisiana’s House delegation.
Considering Jindal missed as many votes in Congress as he made while running for governor last year, his 26 earmarks represent a notable milestone. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee for president who is reportedly eyeing Jindal as a potential vice-presidential running mate, has also taken a well-publicized stance against budgetary pork.
KATRINA FALLOUT CONTINUES FOR REPUBLICANS Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, the catastrophe continues to make headlines in the 2008 election season. The past two weeks brought a trifecta of Katrina-related headaches for the GOP, beginning with the publication of former President Bush loyalist and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong with Washington. McClellan writes in his book that Bush was in “a state of denial” the week of Katrina, and contends, “One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term. And the perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath.”
Republican senator and presidential nominee John McCain again distanced himself from Bush’s response to the hurricane in his visit to Louisiana last week, saying that he supported every investigation into the botched response to Katrina, but a reporter tripped up McCain by noting that McCain had twice voted against forming a congressional commission to examine the federal, state and local responses to Katrina.
And expect more Katrina talk, as Paul Alexander’s book, Machiavelli’s Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove, hits stores this week. Relying heavily on interviews with former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Sen. Mary Landrieu, the account details the back-and-forth between Blanco’s administration, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and the White House in Katrina’s aftermath.
HORMONAL IN THE LEGISLATURE Last week, WAFB in Baton Rouge had a story that began: “At the Capitol, legislators might adopt a daily uniform. Everyone would dress the same, like in school. It sounds silly, but some are already trying it out.”
Now, before you question the wisdom of our lawmakers using taxpayer dollars to debate such an initiative, don’t fret. It turns out that the women legislators in the House Transportation Committee are informally collaborating to wear matching colors. It was black two weeks ago, white last week, turquoise and brown this week, and they haven’t decided on next week’s color yet. Democratic state Rep. Karen St. Germaine told WAFB, “I don’t have enough time to think about what I’m going to wear, so the memo saves me that day. I know exactly what I’m going to wear, like a uniform.” The color solidarity has its advantages, says St. Germaine. “Women get kind of lost in the shuffle sometimes and we just said, ‘Hello. Here we are.’”
Germaine added: “It’s a little bit better than standing up and yelling on a hormonal day. This was a lot more effective.”
Contributors: R. Reese Fuller, Jeremy Alford and Scott Jordan
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.