Louisiana lawmakers convened the two-month regular session at noon Monday and will consider hundreds of bills, none more pressing than HB1, the state’s roughly $25 billion budget. With a $1.6 billion budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, legislators will consider a wide variety of budget-plugging measures including a controversial plan by Gov. Bobby Jindal to sell some of the state’s prisons to private corporations.
Because we’re in an odd-numbered year, this is technically a “fiscal” session in which state finances are at the fore. But each lawmaker is allowed to file a handful of non-fiscal and locally focused bills, and this year’s session has its typical share of oddball legislation on tap. Among them, a so-called “birther” bill that would require presidential candidates to present an official birth certificate in order to be on the ballot in Louisiana — part of the feeding frenzy of tacit racism attendant to the opposition to President Barack Obama and a bill which Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he will sign if it clears the Legislature. Lawmakers will also consider a bill co-sponsored by Lafayette Democrat Rickey Hardy that would require recipients of state welfare to submit to random drug tests. Other bills would place greater restrictions on abortions and address illegal immigration — the usual red meat legislation popular in red state capitols.
For more, The Times-Picayune has a clearinghouse of stories and opinion pieces from other media sources related to the session. Read it here.
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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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