But around and inside the tallest building in downtown Baton Rouge, things are already getting back to normal. Lawmakers are finding their voices again, media is paying close attention, and by all indications, Jindal's honeymoon among the insiders has ended.
Maybe it's because Jindal beat all his opponents handily in the primary, giving his administration a one-month jump on most governors who have to slug it out against a tough opponent in a runoff. More likely, Jindal set the bar so high with his promises of revolutionary reform that onlookers are hungry for immediate action. Political insiders ' and the public Â' will only hand out so many passes and look the other way for so long.
Pockets of opposition have been sprouting up in increasing numbers over the past two months. During legislative sessions, teacher groups will take stands as the governor-elect pushes his plans to expanded charter schools and merit pay for educators; the teachers' union endorsed his opposition last year. Some lawmakers feel squeezed as well.
Rep. Damon Baldone, a Houma Democrat, was recently edged out of the race for speaker pro tem, the second-highest spot in the chamber, but was provided with the vice-chairmanship of the House Committee on Criminal Justice. Not long after, Speaker-designee Jim Tucker, an Algiers Republican, contacted members of the House vowing to support Rep. Karen Carter of New Orleans, a Democrat like Baldone, for the pro tem job. Jindal told lawmakers repeatedly last year that his leadership team would not interfere with the House elections as other governors have done. "It's obvious that the politics around here haven't changed," Baldone says. "That's why I'm just going to withdraw my name, even though this is supposed to be an elected position where legislators should be free to make their own choice."
Rep. Don Cazayoux, a Democrat from New Roads who was edged out of the race for speaker by Jindal and Tucker in similar fashion, was likewise left wondering what had happened to Jindal's vow to stay out of legislative leadership races and committee assignments. "We owed it the state to make every effort to try to elect a speaker independently, and we strongly believe independence is important to developing a more effective and responsive Legislature," Cazayoux says. "I wish the governor-elect had allowed the process to continue because many members were still undecided, and the momentum was turning in our favor."
Media reaction was swift. C.B. Forgotson, a Hammond attorney and one of the first political bloggers in Louisiana, pointed out that Louisiana law actually calls for an election in the House, not a statement to the media about who should be crowned. "Either the speaker made a mistake or accidentally revealed the truth," Forgotson says. "In either case, why have rules, if, like our laws, they are not obeyed by those who make them? Aristotle said, 'Good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.'"
Longtime political reporter and former editor Jim Beam recently wrote in his Lake Charles American Press column that "legislative independence may be just a pipe dream" and maybe Jindal needs to be prodded in the right direction. "Those of us who thought Jindal's election meant a new day was dawning in Baton Rouge are terribly disappointed at this latest turn of events," Beam wrote.
Then there's ethics reform.
Jindal told voters his administration would be squeaky clean, which means even the slightest detour on that road will grab headlines. So all hell broke loose last month when Jindal named Jimmy Faircloth as his executive counsel. Questions immediately cropped up about Faircloth's firm, which represents the Coushatta tribe's casino, and his plans to continue his private practice. Faircloth later retracted that statement, promising to work for Jindal only.
The Baton Rouge Advocate weighed in with an editorial: "However well Faircloth conducts himself, his desire to return to the firm after his service in the governor's office will raise questions whenever any decision is made by Jindal involving gambling." Even though Jindal has designated a special lawyer to handle the issues and Faircloth has severed his private ties, those questions ' and other queries about Jindal's hand-picked allies and the looming special session for ethics reform ' will continue.
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Marijuana source of disputes for HOAs; experts say still safe to fly; Russian-supported attacks on Ukraine and more national and international news for Friday, July 25, 2014.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
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.
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."