CRAVINS JR. WEIGHS PARTY SWITCH, CONGRESSIONAL RUN State Sen. Don Cravins Jr. is considering a run for Congress in the 7th District — possibly as an independent. “Right now, my wife and I are talking about it,” he says. “I’m being contacted by the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]. People are still approaching me — even some Republicans in the district, asking me to consider running. I’m considering it.” No candidate has emerged to face off against Republican Congressman Charles Boustany, who is up for re-election this fall.
Cravins is also considering the possibly of running as an independent, which would allow him to go directly on the November ballot, bypassing a possible party primary in October. The 35-year-old state senator says he has considered switching his party affiliation for some time now because of his more conservative pro-life, pro-gun views. Cravins says conservative Democrats have the issue of getting labeled with a more liberal national party, especially in a Congressional race. “When you’re a Democratic candidate for Congress during a presidential election,” Cravins adds, “you get the baggage of the national party.” Also weighing on Cravins’ mind is a history of lackluster Democratic Party support for African-American candidates in major state elections. In 2004, Cravins Jr. watched as his father’s run for the 7th District seat failed to generate much backing from the Democratic Party establishment, which favored his white Democratic rival, state Sen. Willie Mount.
DIM-WITTED HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES GUNS ON CAMPUS In what will likely go down as one of the most boneheaded moves of the newly-constituted Legislature, the House Criminal Justice Committee voted 11-3 to allow college students to carry guns on campus. The committee members voting against House Bill 199 by Republican Rep. Ernest Wooten of Belle Chasse (chairman of the committee) were Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport; Roy Burrell D-Shreveport; and Republican Frank Howard, a retired Vernon Parish sheriff. Acadiana legislators voting for it were Elbert Guillory of Opelousas and Mickey Guillory of Eunice, both Democrats.
The measure now moves to the full House for debate, where cooler heads are likely to prevail.
The issue of allowing students to carry licensed, concealed handguns on campuses comes in the wake of college shootings across the country, including recent incidents at LSU, where two international students were murdered, and Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge, where the shooter killed two classmates before turning the gun on herself.
While the majority of college students who testified at the three-hour committee hearing spoke against the legislation, committee members did hear from students who support it. According to The Advocate, Southeastern Louisiana University student Geoffrey Green said he wants to be able to defend his friends if necessary. “I feel defenseless,” he said. “It’s not fair that we’re not able to defend ourselves.”
In approving the measure, the committee members dismissed a litany of arguments laid out by law enforcement and school officials, including Commissioner of Higher Education (and incoming UL president) T-Joe Savoie, who, according to The Advocate, said permitted gun carriers would be bringing guns from classrooms to LSU’s Tiger Stadium — where, like most college stadiums, raucous students gather and tempers often flare. “That gives new meaning to Death Valley,” Savoie said.
SEN. MCPHERSON GETS “CUTESY” WITH TAX-REPEAL VOTE There are lots of adjectives to describe the qualities that voters hope for in politicians. Committed. Principled. Decisive. But when there’s $302 million in annual tax reductions for Louisiana taxpayers at stake, Democratic state Sen. Joe McPherson can leave you speechless.
Senate Bill 87 started out as legislation proposed by Shreveport Republican Sen. Buddy Shaw to repeal income tax increases included in the 2002 Stelly Plan. Abbeville Democratic Sen. Nick Gautreaux upped the ante with an amendment that calls for a full repeal of Louisiana personal income taxes, to be phased in over 10 years. Pretty heady stuff — it’ll reportedly cost the treasury $4 billion if it passes. Gautreaux’s amendment passed 19-18. The Times-Picayune noted:
“Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, apologized to his colleagues for voting in favor of Gautreaux’s amendment, providing the winning margin. He said he voted for the amendment in the expectation that it would fail and would have switched his vote to ‘no’ had he realized it was the winning margin.
“‘I can count, and I saw it was going to lose and I wanted to be on the record as doing away with income taxes,’ said McPherson, who acknowledged that he was trying to be ‘cutesy’ with his vote.”
How comforting. Potentially historic legislation that would impact the finances of every Louisiana taxpayer and prompt a major overhaul of the state budget, and McPherson thinks it’s time to be “cutesy.”
Contributors: Nathan Stubbs, Leslie Turk and Scott Jordan
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Prince George turns 1 today; crash victims' bodies headed home; homeless attacked in New Mexico and more national and international news for Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."
State police have arrested a 42-year-old Kaplan man in the July 7 hit and run fatality crash that killed a bicyclist on Louisiana Highway 92 near Milton.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.
Lisa Hargis Smith lived a mysterious life as seen with her death earlier this month and its impact on the community of those who knew her, whether as a star student in Lafayette High’s class of ‘69, or later as a woman struggling with homelessness and mental illness.
Attorney Valerie Gotch Garrett will announce on Tuesday that she plans to run for the Division E seat of the 15th Judicial District Court.
Back in 2012, three Baton Rouge attorneys came to the aid of several disgruntled police officers with a high-profile lawsuit against the Lafayette Police chief and a number of higher-ups in city-parish government, but in a federal courtroom Thursday, their claims of conspiracy coupled with a lack of evidence backfired and the case was dismissed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration intends to rework how it pays the private managed care networks that provide health services to two-thirds of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is raising health insurance rates and cutting benefits for state employees and retirees, to keep their insurance program solvent.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials spent much of Thursday reviewing their reaction to this week’s bomb threat, which led to the closure and evacuation of UL Lafayette and Girard Park, and a massive search Wednesday for two alleged explosive devices.
"We're not in a better place from the policy perspective than we were two weeks ago," says Education Superintendent John White, commenting on Thursday's face-to-face meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss their dispute over Common Core.
Gov. Bobby Jindal appears to remain unmoved by offers of a compromise on procuring testing materials tied to the Common Core based on a terse statement his office released following a meeting Thursday with Superintendent John White.
Wednesday's Senate vote on contraception legislation is the latest example of Democrats' win-by-losing strategy, which forces Republicans to vote on sensitive matters that might rile women this fall.
A benefit will be held tonight at Romacelli Bistro in Youngsville to raise money for the family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas.
After weeks of public disagreement, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Education Superintendent John White are sitting down to talk about standardized testing for the upcoming school year.
Two members of the Lafayette Parish law enforcement community who also serve on the Lafayette Parish Communications District will not be allowed to apply for the paid position of director of the agency.
After determining that the two reported bomb-like devices at Girard Park and UL Lafayette this morning were non-explosive, authorities have lifted the barricades, and an investigation into who was responsible is now under way.