Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The state House committee tasked with spending Louisiana’s money got an extra voice from Lafayette last week when Speaker Jim Tucker named Rep. Rickey Hardy to the House Appropriations Committee. Hardy had to resign from the House Commerce Committee to accept the assignment, which he happily did; widely regarded as the most powerful committee in the House, Appropriations deals with the state budget and other fiscal matters. The north Lafayette Democrat joins south-side Republican Page Cortez on the committee. (Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, rounds out an Acadiana trifecta.) This newspaper has given Hardy the business in the past over his sponsorship and co-sponsorship of some questionable legislation — barring senior citizens from seeking office, for one; forcing welfare recipients to pass drug tests, for another — but we’ve never doubted that Hardy is a straight shooter with the best interests of his district at heart.
Louisiana lawmakers proved yet again that deference to industry lobbyists over protecting public health is de rigueur in state politics. A bill that would have banned smoking in bars in Louisiana went up in smoke in the state Senate last week by a 22-15 vote, with Acadiana Sens. Elbert Guillory and Fred Mills joining the pro-carcinogen contingent. (Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, was absent for the vote.) It was the third such attempt to ban smoking in bars by state Sen. Rob Marionneaux Jr., D-Livonia. The bill originally included casinos in the ban — the legislation aimed to protect bartenders, waitresses, musicians and others who work in bars and casinos from the deleterious effects of second-hand smoke — but that component was stripped from the bill in a House committee. The ban on smoking in bars, however, did clear the full House. Opponents of the bill argued it would drive smokers and their tax revenue to other states. There may be a tendril of truth to that argument for establishments skirting state lines, although the ban on smoking in restaurants in Lafayette Parish doesn’t seem to have driven diners away. They adapted. The net result of this stupid failure by the Senate is that employees in Louisiana bars and casinos are virtually the only workers not protected by law from a proven environmental carcinogen.
We get the feeling Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, is just trying too hard to out-conservative Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, Landry’s presumptive opponent in the election next year for the new 3rd Congressional District. Landry’s D.C. press hack, the curiously named Millard Mulé, has been firing off chest-thumping press releases on the freshman congressman’s behalf since Landry took the oath of office in January. One of the most recent, however, raised eyebrows across the political spectrum: a braggadocios bulletin announcing the rep’s refusal to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the budget impasse. Roughly 200 House Republicans, it’s worth noting, did accept the president’s invitation. The Times-Picayune reported the story last Wednesday, quoting Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who pursed his lips at Landry’s petty posturing: “It is more than a little arrogant,” Ornstein told the Times-Pic. “It belittles the office of the presidency and shows that Landry has little understanding of the political process, the role of the constitutional institutions, much less basic politeness.”
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Two bedroom town home or three bedroom contemporary home
Let the party begin
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
Rachel Hector returns home to cultivate a generation of yoga instructors.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
It is distinctly possible control of the U.S. Senate will hinge on Louisiana, which is why, during the last several months, outside groups have made this the most expensive election in Louisiana history.
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Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.