Wednesday, June 22, 2011
On June 16 the Louisiana House of Representatives voted unsuccessfully to override Gov. Bobby Jindal’s mindlessly ideological veto of a bill renewing 4 cents of the state’s tax on a pack of cigarettes. The tax was devoted to underwriting health care and, supporters pointed out, renewing it could have helped leverage an additional $38 million in federal funds for health care in one of the most unhealthy states in the nation. That’s $50 million up in smoke.
The House needed 70 votes to override the veto — the exact number of reps who voted for the renewal in May. But, fearing reprisals from the governor, putting party over principle (in fairness, two Democrats also defected) or merely divorced from their senses, 11 reps changed their votes and sided with Jindal.
Speaker Pro Tem Joel Robideaux’s 180 we understand: He’ll need Jindal’s support in next year’s bid to become House speaker. But we don’t condone it. With Rep. Nancy Landry giving Lafayette a pusillanimous pair, the Hub City accounted for nearly 20 percent of the override’s failure.
Robideaux and Landry were joined in betraying their better angels by Reps. Robert Billiot, D-Westwego, Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, Charles Chaney, R-Rayville, Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, Kay Katz, R-Monroe, Thomas McVea, R-Jackson and Thomas Wilmott, R-Kenner.
Contrast how two Republicans accounted for their override vote: Landry acknowledged that her stepmother died of lung cancer and she didn’t believe the renewal was a new tax. Yet, she sided with Jindal because, she told Gannett, she’s “going to be, hopefully, working with the governor another four years” and she “didn’t think it was worth a challenge to him.” Ruston’s Hollis Downs stuck to his principles, voting for both the renewal and the override. Downs cited his father’s death from emphysema: “I would dishonor his life if I didn’t do everything I can to reduce smoking.”
Let’s not forget that Jindal, when he was secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals, defended such consumption taxes as a means of reducing smoking and covering state health care costs for smokers — you know, the mark of a “just society.”
Kudos to Lafayette Parish Reps. Bobby Badon and Rickey Hardy, who voted to renew and override. The latter took advantage of the House’s epic failure by pointing out, a pack of smokes in one hand and a textbook in the other, that while Louisiana is lowering the cost of smoking — arguably an enticement for young people — we’re raising the cost of higher education.
We hope these 11 state reps can sleep at night.
No, wait, we don’t.
[Editor’s Note: Democratic state Rep. Harold Ritchie of Bogalusa made an 11th hour maneuver Monday, tacking his cigarette tax onto SB53, a proposed constitutional amendment to dedicate more tobacco settlement dollars to TOPS. Given the opportunity to redeem themselves, Robideaux and Landry instead voted against the cigarette tax amendment, which passed 59-40, but later voted for the TOPS bill. If the Senate concurs with the House, the constitutional amendment will go to a vote of the people. Follow The Independent online for updates on this story.]
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Times Square impersonator crackdown; Israel shells Gaza school; Russia hit with sanctions and more national and international news for Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
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."
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.