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
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
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.
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.