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House member set to leave hospital today

State Rep. Jack Montoucet,  D-Crowley, is scheduled to leave Baton Rouge General Medical Center today, House officials announced Thursday morning.

Montoucet, who was taken to the hospital Wednesday after suffering chest pains, did not experience  a heart attack, officials said.

The lawmaker, who is 68, suffered a heart attack 12 years ago.

Montoucet said Wednesday he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

“Jack will monitor his heart  with his local doctor,” according to the statement released by the House public information office.

The lawmaker also conveyed his thanks to  those who called and sent text messages.

The Legislature is in its second  special session of the year because of state financial problems, including a $600 million shortfall starting July 1.

 

Louisiana House member taken to hospital

State Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley, an ally of Gov. John Bel Edwards, was taken to Baton Rouge General Medical Center on Picardy Avenue  Wednesday afternoon after complaining of chest pains.

“I am doing good,” Montoucet said in a brief telephone interview.

“They have me on monitors. I was having some chest pains. They brought me in.”

The lawmaker said he had a heart attack 12 years ago.

Montoucet, 68,  said it is unclear whether he will be hospitalized overnight.

The Legislature is in a special session until June 23 grappling  with a $600 million shortfall starting July 1.

 

Boustany staffers talk about GOP opponents

U.S. Senate candidate Charles Boustany staffers criticized his two of his fellow GOP opponents in what appears to be an accidentally broadcast Facebook posting. It’s hit the national media.

Talking about state Treasurer John N. Kennedy, an unidentified staffer opined, “You can’t knock Kennedy off message. He’s dogged. We’re not going to win even with gaffes.”

charles boustany gop

Boustany

The other staffer said that verbal mistakes may help Boustany’s chances with another Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. John Fleming, of Minden.

“Well, Fleming has made some big ones,” a staffer said.

Fleming’s campaign spokesman  Matt Beynon responded, “It is very disappointing that Congressman Boustany would break congressional ethics rules by mixing his taxpayer-funded office with his political operation.  Congressman Boustany has a lot of explaining to do.”

Kennedy said, “I agree with whoever said I am dogged when it comes to doing my job and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

The conversation was broadcast over Facebook Live.

Calls, texts and emails to Boustany’s congressional office and campaign went unanswered.

But Roll Call, The Hill, and The Blaze have picked up the story that began with a Dallas Morning News reporter happened upon the live broadcast and tipped off nola.com, which reported the incident this morning.

Boustany is vying to replace U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who is stepping down at the end of his term. In addition to Fleming and Kennedy, the Lafayette congressman faces fellow Republicans Rob Maness, of Madisonville; Joseph Cao, of New Orleans; and Abhay Patel, of New Orleans. The Democratic Party contenders include Foster Campbell, of Bossier Parish; Caroline Fayard, of New Orleans; Josh Pellerin, of Lafayette; and Peter Williams, of Lettsworth. Troy Hebert, of Baton Rouge, has also said he would run without party affiliation.

 

Campbell aims at lobbying by former elected officials

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Foster Campbell released a commercial Tuesday reaffirming the governor’s support and continuing to mine his call for a 10-year ban on lobbying after a senator leaves office.

Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell addresses weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon.

Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell addresses weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon.

“The current system is a joke that doesn’t protect the public interest. It’s wrong when a Democrat does it and it’s wrong when a Republican does it,” said Campbell, one of five elected Public Service Commissioners.

Fellow Democrat, Gov. John Bel Edwards is shown three times in the 1-minute spot. Edwards is backing Cambell’s candidacy.

“I think they should be outright banned from lobbying any branch of the federal or state government without exception. Let them come home and get a job and work like everybody else,” Campbell said in a press release.

Current law allows former senators to get paid by lobbying firms for providing “strategic advice” while waiting out the current two year ban on directly lobbying their former colleagues.

Campbell’s issue, which he released earlier in the campaign and repeats in his commercial, targets Louisiana’s two most recent U.S. Senators.

Mary Landrieu took a job with a D.C. lobbying firm in May 2015 after losing a reelection bid the previous fall.

And Campbell also pointed to a report citing an unnamed source who said Sen. David Vitter “has had talks about working on K Street,” where many of the lobbyists have offices. (Vitter’s staff won’t comment on the validity of the claim but states that the senior senator “continues to be absolutely focused on actively pushing his legislative priorities during his final year in the Senate.”)

But a post-elective office lobbying sinecure has long been a career path for Louisiana politicians. John Breaux and J. Bennett Johnston are two long-time senators who eased into retirement through the highly paid field of government lobbying. Over on the U.S. House side, former congressmen Bob Livingston, Billy Tauzin, Richard Baker, Chris John, Rodney Alexander and others have taken jobs representing special interests in their relationships with state and federal governmental agencies.

“Our people go to Washington, they come back and they work for all the firms that they’ve been voting on all their special bills for and they wind up millionaires,” Campbell said in the spot.

Qualifying for the Nov. 8 election begins July 20, but the race to replace Vitter is already crowded with announced candidates, including Democrats Caroline Fayard, of New Orleans; Josh Pellerin, of Lafayette; and Peter Williams, of Lettsworth. Among the Republicans are John Fleming, of Minden; Charles Boustany Jr., of Lafayette; Rob Maness, of Madisonville; Joseph Cao, of New Orleans; John N. Kennedy, of Madisonville; and Abhay Patel, of New Orleans. Troy Hebert, of Baton Rouge, has also said he would run without party affiliation.

The Rundown: June 10, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate
Today in The Rundown: House signs off on $200M+ in tax revenues; Capital outlay bill heads to the Senate; stripper age bill gets governor’s OK; and more.

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Countdown…
Days until second special session ends: 13

The News 

Capital Outlay: The House signed off on the latest version of the construction budget on Thursday, sending it to the Senate. http://bit.ly/1TYkouS

LA Lege: State Rep. Katrina Jackson is helping organize Amite veledictorian who was banned from his high school’s ceremony because of his facial hair. http://bit.ly/1UpWVT2

History: The state Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places 38 years ago. Check out the nomination forms. http://bit.ly/1UpVQKV

Strippers: Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed legislation that will require dancers at strip clubs be at least 21 years old in Louisiana. http://bit.ly/1RYG4oh

See all of our coverage of the Louisiana Legislature: http://bit.ly/AdvLALege

Today at the Capitol

Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy meets at 9 a.m. in Room 1.

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Tips, comments or suggestions? Send your feedback to ecrisp@theadvocate.com or @elizabethcrisp on Twitter.

June 9 marks anniversary of Louisiana Capitol’s inclusion on National Register; Read the nominating forms

louisiana state capitol

Louisiana State Capitol. Advocate file photo

Thirty eight years ago today, the Louisiana State Capitol was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Read the documents that helped secure its place in history below.)

The Capitol, constructed in the 1930s under the direction of then-Gov. Huey Long at a cost of $5 million, is the tallest Capitol building in the country at 34 stories and remains the tallest building in Baton Rouge.

The nomination form that secured the Capitol’s place on the National Register plays up Long’s biography and its intersections with the Capitol building that’s now seen as a monument to him.

“He caused the building to be constructed, he was killed within it, and he is buried on its grounds,” the nomination document reads. “For Long the building was a symbol of his goals and a monument to his achievement.”

It also provides in-depth details about the building’s architectural significance.

Read more about the Louisiana Capitol in the nominating forms:  Continue reading

The Rundown: June 9, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: House committee blocks key tax proposal; Medicaid expansion hits nearly 200K in first week; Edwards signs ‘ban the box’ legislation; and more.

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Countdown…
Days until second special session ends: 14

The News  Continue reading

Languishing magnolias slated to be moved from Capitol to Governor’s Mansion

A pair of magnolia trees will be planted at the Governor’s Mansion after languishing at the Capitol for nearly five months.

The trees, which were brought in in large black nursery pots for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ inaugural ceremony on Jan. 11, were moved to a side yard at the Capitol after the festivities and have remained in there since.

A photo of the trees, dried out, still in the temporary pots and growing increasingly barren, drew attention to them Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for the Governor said on Wednesday that the trees have been evaluated and will be planted at the Governor’s Mansion.

The Rundown: June 8, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: The second special session is underway; House and Senate work to repair relationship; Common Core saga comes to a close — for now; and more.

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Countdown…
Days until second special session ends: 15

The News  Continue reading

Gov. John Bel Edwards spars with north Louisiana state rep over criticism of the state budget: ‘He sat on the sidelines’

seabaughUpdate 5:30 p.m.:

Refusing to let the governor have the last word, Rep. Alan Seabaugh wrote his own editorial submitted to conservative blog “The Hayride.”

Seabaugh argued the adage that Louisiana doesn’t have a “revenue problem, it has a spending problem.”

He argued that a state Louisiana’s size has a budget that’s a one-third too large.

“If managed in a fiscally responsible manner, the amount of revenue currently generated by the state of Louisiana should lead to a massive budget surplus,” he wrote. “Why no surplus this year? The answer is simple. Governor Edwards and his allies in the legislature don’t want one.”

He promised to continue voting against all taxes.

Read Seabaugh’s column here.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is engaged in a war of words with a North Louisiana state representative over the state budget.

This past weekend, State Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, took to Facebook to criticize Edwards for a state budget — passed Sunday by the Legislature — which did not include proper funding for TOPS and the Shreveport medical school.

seabaugh“The Louisiana House of Representatives just passed Governor Edward’s (sic) budget that cuts TOPS by half and closes the LSU Medical School in Shreveport by underfunding it by $38 million. Both undebatable violations of promises Governor ‘Honor Code’ made during the campaign. Nothing that he says can be trusted or should EVER be believed,” Seabaugh’s post stated.

Edwards, a Democrat, responded to Seabaugh’s post in his own sharply worded editorial submitted to The Shreveport Times where he said Seabaugh’s voting record contributed to the very reason TOPS and LSU Medical were shorted in the state budget.

Edwards called a second special session which started Monday, intended for legislators to find funding for TOPS, the hospitals and other areas of critical need that make up the $600 million shortfall.

Edwards called Seabaugh’s comments a “bitter, partisan attack.”

“When he had the chance to do his part, he sat on the sidelines. He would neither identify cuts to make to stabilize the budget, nor would he support raising additional revenue. He said ‘no’ to every single possible solution without offering any of his own,” Edwards wrote in the Tuesday editorial.

“Rep. Seabaugh needs to look no further than his own voting record when he decides to place blame for the continuation of these problems and the lack of funding for critical programs in this area, like TOPS and the medical school, and I will not let him distract from the work that so many other bold leaders, in both parties, from this region are willing to do,” Edwards continued.

Read the full editorial by clicking here.

MORE COVERAGE:

Senate approves drastically different state budget than House