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
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.