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
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Michael Sam focuses on making the team; Christians flee Mosul; Kerry at work in Middle East and more national and international news for Wednesdays, July 23, 2014.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."
State police have arrested a 42-year-old Kaplan man in the July 7 hit and run fatality crash that killed a bicyclist on Louisiana Highway 92 near Milton.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.
Lisa Hargis Smith lived a mysterious life as seen with her death earlier this month and its impact on the community of those who knew her, whether as a star student in Lafayette High’s class of ‘69, or later as a woman struggling with homelessness and mental illness.
Attorney Valerie Gotch Garrett will announce on Tuesday that she plans to run for the Division E seat of the 15th Judicial District Court.
Back in 2012, three Baton Rouge attorneys came to the aid of several disgruntled police officers with a high-profile lawsuit against the Lafayette Police chief and a number of higher-ups in city-parish government, but in a federal courtroom Thursday, their claims of conspiracy coupled with a lack of evidence backfired and the case was dismissed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration intends to rework how it pays the private managed care networks that provide health services to two-thirds of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is raising health insurance rates and cutting benefits for state employees and retirees, to keep their insurance program solvent.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials spent much of Thursday reviewing their reaction to this week’s bomb threat, which led to the closure and evacuation of UL Lafayette and Girard Park, and a massive search Wednesday for two alleged explosive devices.
"We're not in a better place from the policy perspective than we were two weeks ago," says Education Superintendent John White, commenting on Thursday's face-to-face meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss their dispute over Common Core.
Gov. Bobby Jindal appears to remain unmoved by offers of a compromise on procuring testing materials tied to the Common Core based on a terse statement his office released following a meeting Thursday with Superintendent John White.