When Gov. Kathleen Blanco pushed her Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority through the Legislature last month, she touted it as a way to consolidate efforts for hurricane protection, coastal restoration and levee oversight. It was a feel-good measure and meant to be inclusive, but like everything else with a ticking pulse and finite membership slots, lawmakers jostled over who would be appointed to the authority. Even some committee chairmen wanted a hand in the selection process. But one group, Parishes Against Coastal Erosion, was overlooked. "We asked the governor to let us have a member on it, but she told us no," says Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph, one of PACE's vice presidents. Membership in the multi-parish organization includes officials such as City-Parish President Joey Durel, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle. The group has already made a name for itself by lobbying the Legislature, and a few hard stances on controversial topics are expected in the future. Currently, PACE is circulating a petition to increase Louisiana's share of offshore oil and gas revenues to 50 percent. ' Jeremy Alford
A groundswell of support is forming for a January special session of the Legislature. Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, a grassroots coalition of businesses and civic activists, has collected more than 46,000 signatures asking lawmakers and the governor to call the session to address levee board reform. "They are rising in anger against patronage politics and special interest deal-making by the political elite," says Jay Lapeyre, a founder of the group and chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. ' JA
NUTRIA, SNAILS AND ARMADILLOS
It's no secret that nutria are often the culprits munching on marshland and eroding once-solid land ' they love the stuff and have insatiable appetites. But newspapers around the state have been picking up on another pest. Researchers from Brown and Louisiana State universities, according to The Times-Picayune, have discovered millions of marble-sized periwinkle snails chomping their way through wetlands buffering the Gulf of Mexico. And destruction on hurricane protection layers is not confined to nutria and snails. A 1.6-mile stretch of levee along Bayou Segnette in Jefferson Parish had to be repaired in 1995 ' due to burrowing armadillos. ' JA
ROUTES TO RETURN TO N.O.
Last week, Nick Spitzer, host of the nationally syndicated radio program American Routes, announced that his radio program and its staff would be returning to New Orleans after finding shelter in Lafayette with KRVS 88.7 FM since Hurricane Katrina ("Re-Routed," Oct.19). In an e-mail, Spitzer wrote: "I think we all felt that we had to return to our New Orleans home(s) to help with the rebuilding effort, fulfill our professional commitments, and see what the future holds. It's the appropriate place for us now to continue our conversation about music and culture from and to this region ... and to the nation as a whole." The show will move back to New Orleans after the first of the year to Basin Street Station. ' R. Reese Fuller
The New Orleans Bowl drew more than 18,000 college football fans to Lafayette last week and gave the Hub City some nice national exposure on ESPN. In a different kind of bowl game, Cajundome officials put out the call for volunteers for "The Great Cajundome Flush-off," a test of the Dome's 200 toilets and urinals. ' Scott Jordan
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
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.