Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bobby Jindal to headline faith group’s ‘family banquet’ in Iowa

Gov. Bobby Jindal will join U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in headlining the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Fall Family Banquet” next month. 

Gov. Bobby Jindal  (June 2014 photo by The Advocate's RICHARD ALAN HANNON)

Gov. Bobby Jindal
(June 2014 photo by The Advocate’s RICHARD ALAN HANNON)


The event, which will be held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, also will feature Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Charles Grassley and Congressman Steve King.

“We are thrilled that Senator Cruz and Governor Jindal are coming to Iowa to have a dialogue with Iowans about the serious challenges that our nation is facing under the current administration,” said coalition president Steve Scheffler said in a news release announcing the Sept. 27 event’s speakers.  “This event will be the launching pad for our voter mobilization and get-out-the-vote efforts in the fall.  We look forward to Cruz and Jindal sharing their views on how to build a better America and Iowa with new leadership at both the federal and state levels.”

Jindal, who is eyeing a run for president in 2016, was in Iowa this month and worked the Iowa Republican Party booth at the state fair. The September trip will be his fourth trip to Iowa in a year.

Next month, he will be heading to New Hampshire for more fundraisers.

$3 million in CCC tolls returned

The  ”Refund The Tolls” program returned more than $3 million in Crescent City Connection toll monies  to the public, state Treasurer John Kennedy announced Tuesday.

The toll refund program, which by state law ended June 30, returned  $3.1 million to 127,359 citizens of the $7.21 million in unclaimed funds available.

Kennedy said refunding the toll money was a top priority for his office’s Unclaimed Property program, with a  dedicated website and two “awareness days” at Oakwood Center in Gretna.

In addition to the Unclaimed Property program’s outreach efforts, electronic verification was used to identify people who qualified for refunds but had not applied for them as the June 30 deadline approached.  Citizens whose information was properly matched were issued checks immediately to their last known address, increasing the amount of toll money returned.

“I wish we could have returned every single penny, but I’m very proud of what we achieved,” Kennedy said in a news release.

Under the “Refund the Tolls” law, the state Department of Transportation and Development transferred $7.2 million in unclaimed CCC toll monies to the treasurer in 2013 for refunding by the state’s Unclaimed Property Program.

Under the law, all toll monies not refunded will be returned to DOTD for dedicated public transportation uses – 70% will be transferred to the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission for lighting on the Crescent City Connection Bridge and 30% will be put toward funding assistance for the New Orleans ferry system.

Jindal travels to Chicago

Gov. Bobby Jindal is headed out of state again.

Jindal’s office announced late Monday that he’s traveling to Chicago to attend meetings of America Next, a conservative policy group he chairs.

Jindal is scheduled to return to Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate forum set

The three major candidates in the upcoming U.S. Senate race will participate in a televised forum Oct. 14, event organizers announced Monday.

The forum will feature Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and two Republican challengers U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness.

Forum organizers are the Council for a Better Louisiana and Louisiana Public Broadasting.

It will air from Centenary College in Shreveport from 7 to 8 p.m. on LPB stations around the state.

CABL based participation on whether candidates had received at least 5 percent support in a recognized nonpartisan or news media polls prior to the debate; or raised and spent at least $250,000 in campaign contributions, established a campaign committee with a treasurer and campaign staff, and filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission prior to the debate.

Broadcast of the debate is underwritten by AARP with additional support provided by the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

Jindal names assistant chief of staff, policy director

Gov. Bobby Jindal has promoted two of his policy staffers.

Stafford Palmieri will serve as assistant chief of staff, and Natalie LaBorde will serve as policy director — Palmieri’s previous position, according to a news release from Jindal’s office.

LaBorde previously served as senior policy adviser to Jindal.

Palmieri, a New York native, has a degree in political science from Yale. She previously worked for the Washington, D.C.-based the Thomas B. Fordham Institute before joining Jindal’s administration as a policy adviser.

LaBorde, who has political science and law degrees from LSU, previously worked in Australia on the The A21 Campaign, an international anti-human trafficking organization.

Jindal Chief of Staff Kyle Plotkin previously held the assistant chief of staff position.

Anti-abortion law challenged

The constitutionality of a new state law requiring abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is being challenged in federal court.

Attorneys for abortion clinics in Metairie, Shreveport and Bossier City and two physicians filed a lawsuit Friday  in U.S. District Court in the Middle District to stop the law from going into effect Sept. 1.

“…if the statute is enforced on its effective date of September 1, 2014, it is not at all clear that any doctor currently providing abortions at a clinic in Louisiana will be able to continue providing those services, thereby eliminating access to legal abortion in Louisiana,” according to the filing.

“As such, the admitting privileges requirement threatens irreparable injury to the Clinic Plaintiffs, their staff, and their patients, including but not limited to, by depriving Plaintiff’s patients’ of their constitutional right to an abortion.”

The law, passed in the 2014 Legislature, was pushed by anti-abortion forces who said it was aimed at protecting the health of women who get abortions.

Similar laws passed in other states such as Texas have resulted in abortion clinic closures and women having to go further distances for services.

The three clinics that sued are among five existing in the state today. Others are located in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, state Department of Health and Hospitals medical director Dr. Jimmy Guidry and Mark Henry Dawson, president of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

EBT maintenance set

Food stamp electronic benefits transactions will be suspended for five minutes for system maintenance on Monday, the state Department of Children and Family Services announced Friday.

The shutdown will occur at 11 p.m. as  Xerox performs the job.

During the routine system maintenance, no transactions will be approved and any cardholders shopping or using an ATM at that time will receive a declined response.

DCFS contracts with Xerox to distribute benefits through EBT for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and cash benefit payments through Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP) and Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP).

The maintenance is not expected to last longer than five minutes. Clients who receive a declined transaction during the maintenance are encouraged to wait several minutes and try the transaction again, DCFS officials said.

In the event the EBT host is unavailable for longer than five minutes, DCFS reminded retailers to follow their established policies and procedures. Retailers who have questions regarding the tests can call 1-866-880-5264.

Landrieu to Cassidy: Gotcha! Well, not quite, but…it’s complicated.

It’s a good thing U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy isn’t a U.S. senator, a least not yet — even though he wants to be one.

If he were a senator, he’d be guilty of breaking a Senate rule — one that his ideological running buddies have mocked his opponent for going out of her way to observe.

Cassidy, a Baton Rouge physician, filed the papers Wednesday to officially declare his candidacy for the Senate in this fall’s election. He’s the best-financed Republican challenger to the incumbent, Democrat Mary Landrieu.

The Louisiana Democratic Party pointed out Thursday that a Cassidy campaign video posted on YouTube in November includes C-Span 2 footage of a Senate floor vote. Senate rules prohibit the political use of TV footage of official Senate proceedings.

That’s true, but the rules apply only to members of the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate said Thursday.

Landrieu knows the rules, possibly because she was dinged by a Republican complaint early this year that one of her campaign videos included footage from a news conference that was arranged with the support of her official Senate staff. When she wanted to include her testimony from a Senate committee hearing in another campaign video, she re-enacted the hearing so she could put her comments out there without committing a violation.

That led Keep Louisiana Working, a conservative political group, to cut a commercial ridiculing Landrieu for her stage-acting.

That’s the same organization that filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last week over Landrieu’s violation of another rule: The one that prohibits the use of her official taxpayer-financed Senate account to pay for charter flights to political events.












Felder criticizes Edwards

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards entry into the 6th Congressional District race brought criticism Thursday from fellow candidate Cassie Felder.

“Regrettably, Mr. Edwards put his ego and his need to bask in the limelight ahead of the interests of our state and our image,” Felder said in a statement issued by her campaign.

“For far too long, Louisianans have elected self-centered politicians like Edwards to public office. This fall, the voters of the 6th District will have an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the nation whether Louisiana has truly turned the corner when it comes to abandoning the corrupt politics of the past.”

Felder had written Edwards asking him to bow out – a request  Edwards dismissed out of hand.

“She just got to the district. She doesn’t know the people or the area,” Edwards said as he qualified Wednesday.

Felder, a Baton Rouge attorney, plans to sign up for the race at the Secretary of State’s office Friday.

Vitter gathers state higher education leaders for closed-door meeting

U.S. Sen. David Vitter is meeting with some of Louisiana’s top higher education leaders in Baton Rouge this morning, but the meeting isn’t open to the public or media.

Vitter, who is running for governor in 2015, will have a press availability to recap the “leadership forum” later today.

(Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD)

(Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD)

Per a news release from Vitter’s campaign, participants in the forum include:

- LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander

- Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan

- University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley

- Tulane University President Michael Fitts

- Xavier University President Norman Francis

- State House Education Committee Chair Steve Carter

- State Senate Education Committee Chair Jack Donahue

- Pennington Biomedical Research Center executive director Dr. William Cefalu

- Patrick F. Taylor Foundation President Phyllis Taylor

- UL System Chairmain E. Gerald Hebert

- LSU Student Government President Clay Tufts

- Council for a Better Louisiana President & CEO Barry Erwin

- Baton Rouge Area Foundation General Counsel Edmund Giering

- Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana President Robert Travis Scott

- Former state House Speaker Jim Tucker

- Entergy Chief Administrative Officer Rod West

Vitter’s campaign emailed details of the meeting — time, location and participants — to the press but wouldn’t allow media in to cover it.

Vitter has scheduled two more similarly publicized meetings in the coming weeks — one on public-private hospital partnerships and Medicaid reform in Monroe and another on infrastructure in Baton Rouge. Two others have been held in August in Shreveport/Bossier and Lafayette.