In a legislative gambit House Speaker Jim Tucker referred to as “brilliant,” state Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Bogalusa, revived his 4-cent cigarette tax renewal Monday by tacking it onto a constitutional amendment championed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who last week vetoed the renewal and survived a House override attempt by 12 votes.
Ritchie’s amendment to Senate Bill 53, which dedicates a share of tobacco settlement money to the TOPS scholarship program, passed the House by a 59-40 vote; it needed 53 to pass. Once the amendment was affixed to SB 53, the House voted overwhelmingly — 90-12 — to pass the bill. If SB 53 clears the Senate with Ritchie’s barnacle still attached, it will go to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has signalled he will sign it; Jindal cannot veto the amendment to the bill.
The governor expressed chagrin with Ritchie’s end run, but his support for the TOPS program via SB 53, according to a statement released by his office, trumps his distaste for the tax renewal: “While we are disappointed that the House amended the TOPS bill to include the cigarette tax, we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. TOPS is too important to our children and to the future of our state.”
News of Rep. Harold Ritchie's maneuver to revive the cigarette tax renewal comes on the same day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released nine new graphic images that cigarette manufacturers will be required to place on packs by mid-2013.
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JUL 29 Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, who clearly is no slouch at public relations, countered any worries about his age by commenting from training camp that he'd like to play another 10 years on Friday. For the next two days, he says, he was subjected to "random" drug tests, this post on the Picayune says. Really?
JUL 29 This story in the Washington Post says Louisiana is in the top five of dog-loving states. According to this post, we have 1.27 dogs for every cat. Unfortunately, a whole lot of them are used for fighting or end up in shelters - left there by their owners. So maybe WaPo needs to reconsider that premise, because ownership doesn't necessarily equate with love.
JUL 29 Here's yet another "lady left her kids in a hot car" story, but this one is a little more ridiculous than most. KPLC reports that this lady (a Princess, no less!) Left her little kids unattended in a parking lot while she went to her boyfriend's car so she could provide him with some oral support. Hey, she left the windows down!
JUL 29 Environmental activist Wilma Subra made the Los Angeles Times this week, the star of this piece by Julie Cart in the "Great Reads" section. One interesting thing is the reference to Wilma as a "diminutive grandmother." Only someone who doesn't know her could possibly refer to her as "diminutive"!
JUL 29 Remember that "execution" in Arizona last week, the one where it took the inmate two gasping hours to die? Arizona uses the same drugs to kill its citizens as we do, this post on The Lens tells us. But hey, nothing to worry about, because state officials are "reviewing the protocol." OK!
JUL 29 Somebody over at LaPolitics is a big fan of the infographic! Here's another one, this time looking at the income of former governor, former reality TV star, and current Congressional candidate Edwin W. Edwards.
JUL 29 Blogger Crazy Crawfish got a tip that the state Department of Education was promoting a lot of people, and so he did some digging. Instead of asking a question to which he knew he would receive no answer, he just asked for payroll records. And, he found some pretty interesting stuff there.
JUL 29 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the NRA in this post, and the absurdity of requiring people to follow one group's narrow philosophies. The NRA currently is floating the idea that children be required to demonstrate firearm proficiency in order to be promoted in school, and some other kinda nutty stuff. (Really?) Spoiler alert: Ian's not a fan.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
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