Lafayette Republican state Reps. Nancy Landry and Joel Robideaux, winner of this year's "Gentleman Award" from his fellow legislators
There are a lot of hurt feelings and maybe even a touch of regret this morning among the Legislature’s 144 members, part of their shared post-session hangover. Sure, they passed a balanced budget with hours to spare before adjournment Thursday, but it took an untraditional and highly controversial union of conservative fiscal hawks and the Black and Democratic caucuses to get there.
Some mainline Republicans remain furious that the hawks teamed up with Democrats and, as they label it, turned against their own. There’s also a sprinkling of Democrats who were put off by the Black Caucus’ approach to the budget compromise, which included independently pushing its own priorities, like funding for Southern and Grambling universities.
There are those who say the turmoil and rancor represent the true face of compromise. And those folks are only partly correct. The face of compromise this year was worn best by Ways and Means Chairman Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette. He kicked off the session by booting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax swap plan. He was the author of the lead legislation and refused to move it out of his committee.
Unpopular with business and everyone else who’s not part of rightwing think-tanks, the plan was feared by lawmakers, who were in turn grateful to Robideaux. As the session came to a close, the body presented him with the annual “Gentleman Award,” which may have had as much to do with Robideaux’s role in bringing all of the factions together for the budget compromise as it did with stopping Jindal’s tax plan.
Term limited, Robideaux is leaving the Legislature as his influence peaks, begging important questions. What’s next for Robideaux and how will he factor into next year’s session? I’ll be writing more about that in the next IND Monthy and ABiz.
Look for the following in ABiz, which publishes June 17:
— Local tax revenues connected to tourism and hotels became a hot issue this session. In one part of the parish, a new levy could be going on the books. In Lafayette proper, the Cajundome and Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission got dragged into a fight that pit north Lafayette boosters against practically everyone else. And it did not end well, nor was it resolved in a meaningful way.
— Commercial and recreational seafood interests had something to lose and gain this session. In trying to revamp a marketing board with a multi-million dollar budget, one freshman from the Lafayette Parish delegation took on coastal lawmakers and lost. But some big local names appointed to the board by Gov. Bobby Jindal helped level the blow. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry fits in on another front, teaming with conservationists to help protect important underwater habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.
— While a local senator explained the value of witch doctors and switched parties, drawing surprise from no one, the Legislature switched focus on education by promising one campus in the region new dollars for construction and promising another nothing.
— Finally, it was the Year of the Acadian Bill. There were probably more Cajun- and French-themed bills in this single session than we've seen in a very long time. And many of them were introduced for one reason only.
Check back and I'll fill in the gaps. Plus, I'll bring you a few more tales from "The Session That Everyone Was Happy To See End."
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AUG 19 Crazy Crawfish gives us a primer here on how the state Department of Education, the Recovery School District, drop-out numbers and graduation rates. It's a long post, but it has a lot of data in it, and a lot of explanations, plus a couple of photoshoped pictures of Paul Pastorek thrown in for fun.
AUG 19 Here's the statement Ray Mouton sent to the Advertiser (at their request) to balance a story quoting the Bishop about why he won't release the name of 15 priests accused of molesting children. Mouton also gives us some background: The paper "ignored" the statement, Mouton says, adding that the paper was acting as a 'publicist' for the bishop, instead of as a newspaper for this community.
AUG 19 If Rick Perry needs support (from someone other than his optometrist, that is) he found it this weekend from Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal, Time Magazine reports in this post. Bobby said he supports Rick in his fight against "this partisan suit." (Hey, Bobby! Call up your brother the lawyer and ask him the diff between an indictment and a suit. Hint: there's a big one.)
AUG 19 Although his name is not on the ballot, the upcoming Senate rate is an important one for Bobby Jindal, Jeremy Alford writes here on LaPolitics. Nationally, the GOP is looking to him to "deliver" the seat, but lately his endorsements haven't been good luck, Jeremy says, "more like kiss of death."
AUG 19 Blogger CB Forgotston has some more info on the never-ending saga of the so-called Edmonson Amendment. Two legislators, one of whom helped write the thing, have proposed a "legislative solution" for the situation. This is in lieu of a lawsuit to determine the legality of the thing. So, if these guys wrote the bill that they really, really, really don't want a judge looking at, how are they qualified to "fix" it?
AUG 19 This post on Silicon Bayou News is a hoot. The unfortunate author recently attended a New Orleans City Council meeting, and describes it as "theatrical." This particular meeting was about Uber, which is another discussion altogether; the author also gets into that issue.
AUG 19 Here's an interesting story from the Advocate about a group of ghost hunters who recently visited T'Frere's Bed and Breakfast, hoping to catch up with the resident ghost. (At least these guys didn't burn the place down, right?)
AUG 19 OK, so this is a story in the Picayune about the state's Tea Party being bent out of shape because David Vitter says he supports Common Core. Blah, blah, blah. You really need to click through and read the last two paragraphs of this story -- because THAT is where the real entertainment is here.
AUG 19 A competition show, Master Chef, is holding an audition in NOLA next month, the NOLA Defender blog reports here. The show, hosted by screaming ginger Gordon Ramsay, requires that applicants fill out a 10-page application and cook a dish that they are required to plate on-set for the audition.
AUG 18 This post by blogger CB Forgotston is pretty appalling. He's telling us of special "services" provided to legislators by State Police, including giving rides and acting as a messenger service. So when you saw that State Police car speeding down the Interstate, it's possible he was just delivering something to a legislator. Great, right?
AUG 18 Blogger Jason Brad Berry is writing about the BP oil spill claims process again - and as usual he's the only one who is watching these guys. This particular post is looking at how the stories have changed in response to his questions about conflicts of interest among the committee members who are processing the claims.
AUG 18 Author and attorney Ray Mouton has posted more information about sexually abusive priests and the current bishop of the local diocese. Apparently cash settlements were made to victims as recently as 2008, Mouton tells us, and the priest in question now lives in Englewood, Calif.
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