Louisiana residents, beginning at the stroke of midnight Sunday, became subject to 660 new laws ranging from a prohibition on texting (and “sexting”) while driving, smoking “incense” products that mimic the effects of marijuana, keeping our dogs on short chains and attending cockfights. Other laws increase penalties for infractions that were already on the books, including tagging historic buildings with graffiti. A bill by our own Rep. Rickey Hardy doubles the drug-free zone around schools to 2,000 feet.
Two laws designed to make abortions less likely, as we’ve previously reported, are on hold pending court challenges: One requires abortion patients to obtain an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy; the other bars physicians who perform abortions from participating in the state’s medical malpractice program.
Lawmakers also voted in the spring session to remove from the criminal and civil codes some measures deemed out-of-date by today’s standards. Among them, a law passed in 1961 during the depths of the Cold War requiring the state Department of Education to host seminars for select teachers and high-school upperclassmen delineating the “evils of socialism, and the basic philosophy of communism and the strategy and tactics used by communists in their efforts to achieve world domination.” You’d think with the apoplexy occasioned by the Obama presidency, that law would be more requisite than ever.
For an overview of the new laws now in effect, read an article published Sunday in The Advocate. And see Wednesday’s print issue of The Independent for more.
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AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 This post on the Morning Joe program's blog runs down Bobby Jindal's recent work to "raise his profile nationally." (Yeah? No kidding.) The best part of the story about the governor who coyly declines to say he's running for president? His long-time consultant who poo-poos the memory of his cringe-worthy response to the 2009 State of the Union by saying you can tell he's doing a good job on the current campaign trail. What campaign trail?
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
AUG 28 Scott Rogers, a television host who had a self-produced weekend morning show on WAFB, died in a shooting at his house, this story on the Baton Rouge television station tells us. He died in his St. Gabriel home, apparently at the hand of his son-in-law, who then turned the gun on himself, the story reports.
AUG 28 If you're one of those LSU football fans who think there is no greater sin than to fail as the school's football coach, this bad luck might make you happy. The son of former LSU Coach Gerry DiNardo was booked on drug and weapon charges, this post on the Picayune tells us.
AUG 28 If you lose in state court to your own constituents, the thing to do is sue the President. Right? Bayou Buzz takes a look at Bobby Jindal's legal "strategy," which basically seems aimed at getting his name in the papers. Hey -- looks like it's working!
AUG 28 Columnist Jeremy Alford takes a look at how the GOP and the Dems are approaching the Senate race in Louisiana. One study predicts a ho-hum outcome from this fall's elections, but in Louisiana the race is a focus for both parties, he says.
AUG 27 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about those bosom buddies (not), Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, in this post. On the one hand, the two politicians have so much in common, it's hard to tell them apart, she says. But Vitter has taken pains to distance himself from the governor, she says.
AUG 27 State retirees who get their health coverage through the state can look forward to paying more for premiums, drugs and out of pocket costs, blogger Tom Aswell tells us in this post. The problem is that Bobby Jindal's plan to privatize the system has resulted in a monthly $16 million deficit, Aswell says, so Bobby's trying to price retirees out of the system.
AUG 27 Blogger CB Forgotston is bumping up against shrill in this post, when he's talking about the taxpayer-funded house where State Police Commander Mike Edmonson lives on your dime. For instance, CB's complaining about the "servants," but the story he links to here reports that a convict cleans the house. CB also calls it a "mansion" but it sure looks more like a standard brick suburban house.
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