Legislation that would revamp the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission is only one step away from final passage and becoming official state law. It is currently pending action on the Senate floor and could be debated as soon as Tuesday afternoon.
House Bill 684 by Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley, would rename the existing commission to the Regional Expressway Commission and make it a Lafayette-Iberia partnership. Local officials hope the change will serve as a catalyst to moving along the I-49 South project, investigating funding sources like tolls and bringing in more stakeholders.
Pending passage on the House floor, meanwhile, is Senate Bill 800, which would reorganize and change the membership structure of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana. Authored by Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, the bill allows the council and its executive director to remain in Lafayette.
However, the council's membership would be decreased from 50 to 23 in an effort to save money and streamline operations. The proposed legislation also provides for a goal of establishing at least one French immersion school no later than Sept. 1, 2015, in each of the 22 parishes of the Acadiana legislative region. Five of these parishes already have at least one such school taking students.
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SEP 20 Jim Brown is blogging about ISIS and the Middle East in this week's post. Mostly, he's posing questions about our involvement there, now and over the past 10 years. Should we be there? Why are we considering involvement now? All good questions - and most without easy answers.
SEP 20 Louisiana is once again winning a race nobody is running, by topping the nation in the gap between what women and men are paid for the same work, WWL reports here. Women here are paid about two-thirds of what men are paid, the story reports. Great.
SEP 20 This isn't the first story, and it won't be the last, written about the apparent conflict between Bobby Jindal's biology degree from Brown and the far right evangelicals who (he perceives) hold the key to his burning, blinding desire to be President. But this one's on ThinkProgress.org, a left-leaning blog, and gives an interesting view of how his dilemma might be attacked in a campaign.
SEP 20 The Lens updates us on the continuing saga of the levee board that dared to challenge Big Oil. The terms of two members of the board have expired, and the committee recommending replacements voted Thursday. The vote, which was narrow, would preserve the suit's majority on the board, Bob Marshall writes.
SEP 20 This post on the Dads Gone Wild blog is an ode to the education bloggers who have been akin to voices crying in the wilderness on the subject of "reform." He compares his experience, listening to the "reformers" and wondering why anybody gave them any weight, with loving punk rock in the 1970s. It's an interesting read.
SEP 19 Here's an interesting post from the Advocate's Mark Ballard about some of the maneuvering that preceded a court ruling this week on the so-called Edmonson Amendment. It seems that some weirdness did occur on the eve of the hearing, and when this was written, Ballard wasn't even sure the ruling would occur.
SEP 20 Jeremy Alford examines the Family Forum's influence on the Legislature in this post. The ultra conservative lobby's annual "report card" keeps up with how well our elected officials are following its dictates, he reports, but also shows us how conservative our Legislature has become.
SEP 20 This post on NOLA Defender details the current discussion in New Orleans about accommodating bicycles in the CBD. Unfortunately, the catalyst was the terrible death of a bike rider, the post reports. Adding space for bikes sounds good - but it means the loss of travel lanes and parking spaces already at a premium in the city, the debate goes.
SEP 18 Here's a story in the New York Times about a New Iberia man who is trying to save his own little corner of Louisiana. A lot of people spend their spare time clearing their land, but Matt Conn works to restore the natural state of his property. It's a fascinating story.
SEP 18 This post on Howard Fineman's Political Read blog takes a look at the fine line that Bobby Jindal will have to walk if he wants to be the guy who can unite the creationists who don't believe in evolution with the Christians and others who do. On paper, Jindal could be the guy to do it, Fineman says, but politically, he'll have to start with the far right if he wants to get anywhere in the GOP.
SEP 18 Sure, Louisiana Congressional candidate Lenar Whitney made the first page of Politifact's "Pants on Fire" statements section, and of course that's always entertaining. But really you need to go check out the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website, which is run by former Lafayette journalist Angie Drobnic Holan, because it has a great new design.
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