The latest round of poll numbers for Gov. Kathleen Blanco doesn't bode well for the Fourth Floor.
In a poll conducted over 10 days in early November by the Alabama-based Southern Media and Opinion Research Group, a mere 19.3 percent of the 600 Louisiana voters questioned would "definitely vote to re-elect" Blanco. In New Orleans, the number hovered around 9.8 percent. Meanwhile in Blanco's home base of Acadiana, only 19.4 percent said they would back Blanco again.
The same scenario plays out in the latest poll by SurveyUSA, which is funded by a consortium of media organizations. From the 600 samples taken on Nov. 14, the governor yielded a 34 percent approval rating ' compared to a 55 percent approval rating in May.
The Louisiana Republican Party is throwing gasoline on the fire by distributing freshly made bumper stickers that read, "Don't blame me. I voted for Jindal."Â ' Jeremy Alford
CRAWFISHING ON TARIFFS
The federal tool that allows crawfish processors to collect money from tariffs on foreign competitors could be repealed by year's end.
In an effort to cut spending, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal the Byrd Amendment, which is the mechanism that triggers payments from importers of Chinese crawfish, among other goods. Since the Byrd Amendment was enacted in 2001, Louisiana's crawfish industry has received $25.4 million. If the repeal passes, that same money would go to the U.S. Treasury in coming years.
Chinese tail meat was so inexpensive during the mid-90s that dozens of Louisiana processors ' many in Acadiana ' were forced to shut down. When the Department of Commerce initiated tariffs on their foreign competitors, the move brought some relief to domestic interests.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom, who partly oversaw the tariff initiative, says he hopes Congress will preserve not only the current Byrd Amendment, but even consider expanding it to include crawfish farmers, not just processors. "We fought long and hard to get the tariffs in place, and the money collected rightfully belongs to the industry," Odom says. ' Jeremy Alford
MICHOT EYEING SECRETARY OF STATE POSITION
Last week, Lafayette Republican Sen. Mike Michot confirmed his interest in running for late Secretary of State Fox McKeithen's position next year. "I think it would be a good job to have," Michot told WAFB. Michot hopes to formally announce his intentions soon; New Orleans Democratic Sen. Francis Heitmeier is also mulling a run for the post. ' Scott Jordan
DEATH COUNTS DIFFER
Bob Johannessen, a spokesperson with the Department of Health and Hospitals, says deaths resulting from Hurricane Rita are not being compiled on a statewide level yet and the dissemination of such information is being left to parish coroners.
Numerous reports, however, have quoted state officials in recent weeks and months as saying there have been no deaths attributed to Rita, which made landfall around Cameron Parish.
But there has been at least one. According to his death certificate, Lawrence Blanchard of Chauvin died on Oct. 26 from an infection he contracted after entering floodwaters caused by Rita.
For the time being, Johannessen says the state will only continue to update related fatalities from Hurricane Katrina. "We're only putting out the Katrina numbers because of its sheer size and scope," he says. ' Jeremy Alford
HOME SALE INVALID?
The state Ethics Board will decide this month whether an employee of the Lafayette Parish School System can buy a home from a vendor she does business with on a daily basis.
Donna R. Denny, the technology director for the school system, wants to purchase the home of a Dell Computers sales representative in Lafayette, but state law prohibits public employees from receiving anything of economic value from people they do business with. An item of economic value can be anything from a free t-shirt to a discounted price on goods, according to the law. It was enough of a grey area for Denny to request a hearing.
"Before I do anything here, or make an offer, I definitely want to make sure this is possible because we do have business together," she says. Denny says she was approached about buying the home by the sales rep, and both parties are still waiting for an appraisal. ' Jeremy Alford
UL LAFAYETTE TO OVERSEE BUILDING GRANT
The UL Lafayette School of Architecture, in concert with Tulane University in New Orleans, will be coordinating a $100,000 grant project from the federal government to incorporate energy-efficient and sustainable design practices into Louisiana's rebuilding efforts.
The United States Department of Energy award will bring together national experts to share building design concepts at scheduled forums to be held in the hurricane-affected regions of the state starting in January.
"Our goal is to bring together our collective resources, building research and lessons learned from past hurricanes to create safer, stronger, more energy efficient communities," says Douglas L. Faulkner, acting assistant secretary at DOE.
Scheduling dates, locations and possible plan details will be announced in the coming weeks. ' Jeremy Alford
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand: