The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana says it welcomes Gov. Bobby Jindal’s announcement that a legislative package is being produced to clarify the sweeping ethics reforms laws passed shortly after the governor began his first term — reforms that have since been widely criticized for making ethics enforcement toothless and creating confusion as to which agencies are responsible for investigating and enforcing ethics laws and penalizing scofflaws. “These proposals could be a productive step forward by adding clarity and better administration to the process of handling cases,” says Robert Travis Scott, left, president of the non-partisan policy group. PAR staff members are completing an examination of existing laws and will soon release a report with findings and recommendations. According to The Times-Picayune, the ethics-reform reforms will enhance enforcement of campaign finance laws by clearly delegating authority among the Board of Ethics and Ethics Adjudicatory Board.
The majority of state workers will not be impacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plans to reform the state’s indebted pension system, which leaves the 33 percent of state employees who would have to cut their benefits and wait longer to retire wondering why they’re the ones being targeted over others. Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte notes in a recent analysis that lawmakers are largely to blame for the $18 billion debt within the pension system due to increased pensions for political allies and essentially rubber-stamping pension measures without looking at potential costs down the road. Under Jindal’s plan to reform the system, the past mistakes of former governors and legislators would be shifted to the backs of state workers — but not all state workers would be affected. Deslatte points out that teachers and public K-12 school employees, state troopers, prison guards and other law enforcement workers would be exempt from scaled back benefits and a push back in the age of retirement, leaving rank-and-file retirees to suffer the brunt of the cuts.
Nothing exhorts a team to victory like fans in the stands, so it’s a wonder the Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team is within sniffing distance of first place in the Sun Belt Conference’s Western Division. Head coach Bob Marlin has publicly expressed his frustration and mystification with the lackluster attendance, especially during the home stretch to the Sun Belt tournament. The Cajuns averaged 6,100 fans per game during last February’s sizzling win streak — and that’s as the team battled to get to .500 — but have fallen way off that pace. In fact, the Cajuns haven’t drawn as many fans this season as Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky (8-16 and on its second coach this year), North Texas and Denver. Yes, Denver, a school with almost zero basketball tradition and one that’s leaving the Sun Belt after this year, is outdrawing UL by nearly 2,000 fans a night. So who’s the couillon? All of us who are sitting home on our rumps while the players are busting theirs.
Ethics Board attorneys say recovering all of Gachassin’s financial gains, plus additional fines, is the only way to deter bad behavior.
According to Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Vice President Gifford Briggs, at least one member of the Acadiana legislative delegation will be going to bat for Big Oil during this year’s session.
“Louisiana should strive for a campaign finance reporting and enforcement system that promotes compliance, sets a high ethical standard and provides clear procedures that are practical, consistent and transparent.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration wants to use Gulf oil spill recovery money to help refill the state's "rainy day" fund and settle a pending lawsuit over its use.
Lafayette Police say two men have submitted themselves to custody in connection with the harrowing caper of last week.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Sunday tradition welcomes spring
Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter were among the 72 senators voting Thursday to send the bill to the president; 22 senators voted against it.
It's never too early
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 14, 2014:
Kevin Naquin — yeah, the Lafayette City-Parish Council chairman — and his Ossun Playboys will celebrate the release of their latest record Saturday night at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The popular bistro-slash-music venue is set to appear Thursday before the state’s office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control to prove it’s a restaurant and not a bar.
"If you're a guy on defense and you know a team is able to get leads on people, that bodes well for guys like me who want to get turnovers and create turnovers because it makes another team one dimensional."
The financing plan would pay for the operations of 69 public school districts for the 2014-15 school year.
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints on Thursday for a fifth-round draft pick.
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is offering a pretty sweet deal, the only catch is you’ve gotta sit through their spiel about how “greedy trial lawyers” are killing the industry and forcing companies out of the state with their “frivolous” lawsuits.
Elephants and exotic tea glasses
The owner of a Youngsville-based oil and gas company pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of negligent discharge of pollutants.
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
The illustrious Ragin' Cajun alumni will receive the university's prestigious SPARK Award as part of the 10-day arts celebration.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Newsy tidbits for the fam
Irish style is smiling