The state Senate on Sunday passed House Bill 1, Louisiana’s $25 billion budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, restoring some cuts made in the House including $5.5 million for nonpublic early childhood programs.
With a deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday looming for the session to end, the bill now returns to the House for concurrence. If House members object to changes made in the Senate, a joint legislative committee will be appointed to iron out the differences.
Newly minted state Sen. Fred Mills of Breaux Bridge, who recently switched from Democrat to Republican before winning a special election, was unsuccessful in amending HB 1 to ensure $1.2 million in funding for the Louisiana Poison Control Center. According to an account in The Advocate, the appropriation could have meant an equal amount of funding being siphoned from the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, which raised the hackles of veteran GOP lawmaker Sen. Robert Adley of Benton.
According to The Advocate, Adley, emphasizing the geographic gap between Breaux Bridge — Mills’ turf — and Shreveport, asked Mills “what possessed him to think he knew how to manage money better than the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.” Mills withdrew the amendment.
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DEC 10 The state's tax amnesty program paid off in a big way, with more money collected than expected, Jeremy Alford writes in LaPolitics. There are laws that govern how that money is supposed to be spent -- but surely the leges will find a way around that, Alford predicts. After all, it has happened before: if there's one thing we're good at, it's robbing Peter to pay Paul.
DEC 10 Tom Aswell continues his coverage of the New Bethany Home for Girls in this post. Although the school shut down years ago, the story has been revived -- especially after several former residents returned to Arcadia last week to file sexual assault complaints against the man who ran the school. Only two of the women filed complaints; the others came (from other states) to lend support. It's a compelling story Tom tells here.
DEC 10 Blogger CB Forgotston isn't buying what the legislature's selling (to itself) regarding Louisiana's fiscal outlook. Leges are telling everybody they don't need to worry about mid-year budget cuts. The Legislative Fiscal Office's predictions aren't being questioned like they should -- except by reporters, CB says.
DEC 10 The Picayune's Jarvis DeBerry writes about Nelson Mandela in this post. The former President of South Africa, who died last week, was not the simple, sanitized "cuddly" guy being portrayed in the simple-minded, easily-distracted American pop media, he says. He's hoping that Mandela's legacy will not receive the same "whitewash" that has been perpetrated against MLK.
DEC 10 Sen. David Vitter's continued efforts to force a vote on lawmakers' health care doesn't pass the "moral high ground test," columnist Stephanie Grace writes in this post. There's no "real policy argument" here and the vote he's trying to force (in true Vitter style, by embarrassing his colleagues) will accomplish "almost nothing" except hurting people, she says. So if he runs for guv and wins, we can look forward to more pointless, empty political posturing? Great.
DEC 10 So who is behind David Vitter's SuperPAC? Blogger Bucktown Pirate takes a look in this post on the Kingfish. With "the internets" and "a modicum of free time," Pirate has done some digging and it's pretty interesting stuff. So why should citizens have to do this much digging to find out who is behind organizations that raise tons of money then spent to influence elections? Good question.
DEC 10 Bob Marley's children and widow have sued Raising Cane's for use of the words "One Love," this blog post on Spin says. The words were registered by the chicken chain years ago, but the family says they're owed damages, attorney fees and all profits attributed to the use because it also was the name of a song recorded by Bob Marley with the Wailers.
DEC 10 Here's Gambit's take on Gov. Jindal's refusal (so far) to take the Medicaid expansion money. He's done this before, the editorial post says: posture and pose for the cameras, then show up in a dark alley to take the money anyway. That time, he handed out the money using big goofy checks with his name as the payer, the post reminds us. So he's not "entirely allergic" to federal bucks after all, the post says.
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