KEATY FUND RAISER NETS NEARLY $100,000 Judge Phyllis Keaty’s re-election campaign kicked off last week with a major fund raiser netting just under $100,000. The event, held at River Oaks’ Napoleon Ballroom, drew a crowd of approximately 350 people, including City-Parish President Joey Durel, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, state Sen. Don Cravins and state Sen. Nick Gautreaux. Keaty, a Republican, was first elected as a 15th Judicial District judge in 1998 and is a co-founder of the district’s Family Court. Keaty is up for re-election on the Oct. 4 ballot. Thus far, no other candidates have announced. Qualifying for the race ends July 11.
Nancy Landry, a local family law counselor who served as a clerk to Keaty for three years, chaired the fund raiser. Landry, also known for her narrow loss to Don Trahan in last year’s District 31 state representative race, recently launched the public affairs firm Pelican Strategies, which is managing Keaty’s campaign.
JINDAL STAFF SHAKEUP? Now that Gov. Bobby Jindal has vetoed the legislative pay raise, the biggest looming question is what the fallout will be with the Legislature — and possibly Jindal’s staff. Relations between legislators and Jindal’s staff were already on shaky ground prior to the pay raises exploding and dwarfing every other issue, and Jindal all but admitted that he’d governed the session in abstentia with his mea culpa last week. Jindal let his inner circle deal with the multiple brush fires that ignited in the first months of his administration, and it could be Jindal’s staff that winds up getting burned in the aftermath.
There’s already been one high-profile casualty, as Jindal’s legislative director, Tommy Williams, recently resigned after less than six months on the job. And in an Advocate column last week, editorial writer Lanny Keller made the case that Jindal Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell could be next in the line of fire. While stopping short of saying that Teepell should be fired, Keller makes clear that having a more seasoned, senior chief of staff could go a long way toward restoring the Jindal administration’s relationship with lawmakers. Further grist from the rumblings and rumor mill: veteran Louisiana political consultant Roy Fletcher thinks that Jindal’s Chief Counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, will be the first to go.
LEVEE FUNDING DEMAND UNDERMINES COASTAL RESTORATION Louisiana’s share of levee construction out of a $14.8 billion federal budget is $1.8 billion. Even more stunning than the sum is the time frame: the state needs to come up with the funds within 3 years. State coastal tzar Garret Graves says it’s an egregious amount for Congress to demand from Louisiana. “The bottom line is there is no way possible for the state of Louisiana to come up with the amount of money that Washington is asking of us,” Graves told The Times-Picayune.
Last week, a Senate plan that would have allowed Louisiana to pay its share of the levee costs over 30 years was stripped out of an Iraq war supplemental finance bill by the House and replaced by the 3-year provision. President Bush signed the bill, and Graves says the $1.8 billion payment would drain coastal restoration coffers, crippling dozens of wetlands projects already authorized by Congress.
NEW ETHICS LAW PLAYING FAVORITES The ethics “clean up” legislation Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law appears to play favorites with three legislators and their relatives. The special treatment came via legislation filed to fix flaws in ethics laws approved during Jindal’s February special session on ethics.
The special provisions benefit state Sen. John Smith, D-Leesville; state Rep. Noble Ellington, D-Winnsboro; and state Rep. Rick Nowlin, R-Natchitoches.
One provision allows Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President Chris John to lobby the Louisiana Legislature despite that his father-in-law, Sen. Smith, is a lawmaker and a member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee — which oversees much of the energy industry’s activities. It’s a new privilege designed specifically for John’s situation.
Another provision allows Ellington to keep his wife, Brenda, as his $54,000-a-year legislative assistant, an arrangement the Louisiana Board of Ethics and a district court said violated state conflict of interest and nepotism laws.
A third provision helps Nowlin’s engineering firm keep doing business with governmental entities. That business can continue through Jan. 7, 2012. The prior law would have prevented sustaining those relationships unless there was an ongoing contract.
Former Ethics Board member Mike Johnson told The Advocate the myriad exceptions makes Louisiana’s ethics laws “like a piece of Swiss cheese.”
“You don’t have a general law people can look to and understand,” he said.
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Nathan Stubbs, Leslie Turk and Mary Tutwiler
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.