Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Even in defeat, Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, made a compelling case for pushing back against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s famed lack of transparency. Adley’s Senate Bill 57 would have undone what Jindal managed to do in his first year in office — shield virtually all the records of Louisiana’s executive branch from the state’s public records law. Candidate Jindal called lawmakers’ claims that some records should be kept from the public “outrageous,” and he went to laudable steps to make rank-and-file state representatives and senators subject to a “gold standard” for ethics. “This is the people’s government. It is not my job to make it more difficult for them to get records — it’s my job to make it easier,” Adley argued on the Senate floor Monday. This was the third consecutive year the north Louisiana Republican has tried to make good for the gander what’s good for the geese. Several of his fellow senators also spoke favorably of the bill and urged a sheepish Senate to get behind it. In the end, the bill failed by a 22-14 vote, with Acadiana-area Sens. Mike Michot, Elbert Guillory and Fred Mills voting on the side of secrecy.
Jindal’s opacity manifests in many ways. The Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee got so fed up with it last week, it voted unanimously to issue a subpoena for a financial analysis on the Office of Group Benefits prepared by a private firm. The OGB is the agency in charge of the health insurance plans for roughly 60,000 state workers — a plan Jindal wants to privatize. It’s also worth noting that the OGB has a $500 million surplus — funds critics charge Jindal wants to get his hands on to plug holes in the budget. Jindal canned the OGB’s former director, who opposed the privatization plan, and his replacement recently resigned following a contentious confirmation hearing that centered on the report at the heart of the subpoena. A national political news site, TPM, has joined the fray by filing a public records request seeking the report, which so far and like so many of Jindal’s official business on behalf of his employers — us taxpayers — remains secret.
On the same day the Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee issued the subpoena for the OGB analysis, it got another primer on secrecy from Bruce Greenstein, secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals. For weeks Greenstein had refused to reveal which private firm had been recommended to win the most lucrative contract issued by the state — for running the Medicaid Management Information System, a contract currently worth $34 million. A least one committee member characterized Greenstein’s refusal to divulge the firm as “stonewalling.” Reminded about the fracas with OGB privatization, Greenstein finally fessed up: The winning firm is none other than his former employer, CNSI. Greenstein insists — and we’ll take him at his word — that he recused himself from the selection process due to the conflict of interest. The committee, nonetheless, voted to issue a subpoena for any records related to Greenstein’s contact with CNSI or its lobbyists.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
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Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
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Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
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The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage