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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MAR 11 Two (allegedly) newsworthy things happened on Monday: Bobby Jindal laid out his plan for the legislative session, and Lil Boosie gave his first interview after being sprung from the joint. (Who's Lil Boosie, you say? Click here.) To celebrate these equally fascinating monologues, the Picayune posts this story asking you to determine which luminary uttered which pearl of wisdom.
MAR 11 Blogger Lamar White Jr. posts here about Katrina Jackson's bill which would mirror the Texas law that shut down abortion clinics. It also, according to Lamar's reading, would require the state to set up a database of patients who had been given the morning-after pill. Lamar then engaged in a Twitter conversation with Jackson, in which she said she'd have to look at the law again to be sure what it says. Huh?
MAR 11 Here's a link to Gambit's digital edition -- the Louweedsiana version. You can read about a new organization seeking to legalize marijuana in Louisiana, take a nostalgic look back to the days of Reefer Madness, even peruse a list of "high end" munchies.
MAR 11 Columnist John Maginnis writes here of Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent streak of meanness toward the President. Since it is having no effect on his national profile, and Bobby's not delusional (oh, OK - thanks for the update on that) Maginnis opines that Jindal is possibly auditioning to be someone's (anyone's?) vice president. Impressing higher-ups is one of Jindal's abilities, Maginnis reminds us.
MAR 11 Blogger Jason Berry gives us an update on the continuing activity connected to BP oil spill claims. For some time on the American Zombie blog, he's been keeping up with the "shenanigans" at a level not even contemplated by Louisiana's media. (You know, kind of like he did with Ray Nagin. So probably the Picayune will be taking credit for this in a couple years, too.) There are links to his previous posts, as well, so if you're curious this is a good place to start.
MAR 11 Blogger Ian McGibboney is sad to see them go, too. You know, the Saints veterans who got their walking papers recently. The team seems to be cutting everybody he ever heard of to keep a couple of top-dollar players who can't win a game alone, McGibboney says. And, he says what a lot of Saints fans are thinking -- it better be worth it!
MAR 11 Blogger CB Forgotston takes aim at another Jindal appointee in this post. This time, we're talking about the governor's "assistant director of constituent services" who also has been hired by the state Department of Children and Family as a "legislative liaison." If all reports are accurate, the guy's violating two laws, CB argues.
MAR 10 Here's a post by Meredith King about the ongoing discussion in New Orleans about the carpetbaggers who want to sanitize the city. King, a native New Orleanian, makes an elegant point here about how complex New Orleans is, and how that very complexity is what so often escapes those hipsters who (among other things) live in the Bywater and call it "the ninth."
MAR 10 Blogger Tom Aswell is peeking under the skirt of the state dental board, and what he's seeing ain't pretty. In this post, which he says is the first of several, he touches on the board's power, some of its rules and where its funding comes from. This promises to be an interesting series.
MAR 10 Mr. Bill, the former star of Saturday Night Live, has thrown in his two cents on the Big Oil lawsuit. In this YouTube video, Mr. Bill tries to talk to the governor about it, and doesn't come out ahead. (But really, those can't be Bobby's shoes. Aswell says he wears lifts.) The creator of the clay figure, Walter Williams, is a NOLA resident.
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