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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
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Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
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Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
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Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.