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American Family Association defends Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's prayer rally at LSU: Prayer is the sole purpose

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answers questions after signing SB667 concerning legacy law suits into law on the last day of legislative session.

Following the lead of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the group sponsoring a controversial prayer rally at LSU in January said the event is solely about prayer. On Thursday, Jindal defended the event, saying "it's no a political event. It's a religious event." American Family Association president Tim Wildmon released a statement early Friday morning. "As our nation faces unprecedented crises—culturally, socially,… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on criticized prayer rally: 'It's not a political event; it's a religious event'

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Gov. Bobby Jindal announces his administration's move to pull out of Common Core during a press conference on Wednesday at the Louisiana State Capitol.

. NEW ORLEANS -- Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday defended his role as headline speaker at a prayer rally on Louisiana State University's campus next month that has drawn the ire of protesters who say the group hosting the event promotes discrimination and an anti-gay agenda. The Jan. 24 prayer rally is expected to draw thousands of people… Continue reading →

Emails show LSU board member helped set up Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's controversial prayer rally at PMAC

Bobby Jindal

A member of the LSU Board of Supervisors played a key role in helping select the university’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center as the site of a prayer rally that will feature Gov. Bobby Jindal next month. Emails obtained by The Advocate through a public records request show that Rolfe McCollister Jr., an LSU board member… Continue reading →

Documents: New details emerge in Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's prayer rally; LSU Board of Supervisors member Rolfe McColliser involved in planning

Associated Press photo by Parker Michels-Boyce -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the keynote speech May 10 at the Liberty University commencement ceremony in Lynchburg, Va.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's much-publicized prayer rally "The Response" began with talks of having the event in the fall, according to public records obtained by The Advocate. The records also show LSU Board of Supervisors member Rolfe McColliser has been involved in the plans. Continue reading →

Backlash brewing over prayer rally Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal planning at LSU; religious group planning event opposes gay marriage, other rights efforts

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Governor Bobby Jindal takes questions from reporters after announcing that Enquero Inc. has selected Lafayette as the site of it's new technology center on Monday at the Lafayette Economic Develpment Authority offices. The Agile Delivery Center will create 350 new technology oriented jobs in Lafayette.

A backlash is brewing over a prayer rally featuring Gov. Bobby Jindal, scheduled for LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center next month. LSU students, faculty and other activists have come out against the event, called “The Response,” largely because it’s being paid for by the American Family Association, a controversial conservative religious group that opposes gay marriage and… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy gets committee assignments for incoming Congress

Associated Press file photo GERALD HEBERT -- Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy

U.S. Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy has has been named to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by the Senate Republican leadership, his office announced Monday. See story here.… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Before heading to Iowa on Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: If I run for president, I know I won't be insiders' favorite

Associated Press file photo -- Gov. Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be in Iowa on Tuesday, making his fourth trip to the state as he ponders a run for president. Ahead of the visit, Jindal joined an Iowa-based Christian radio show and discussed several topics, including his potential run for president, Common Core and other key topics. Check out our… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Legislators head to BR for party, meetings

’Tis the season, and Louisiana legislators from across the state are headed to Baton Rouge for their annual Christmas party. Coincidentally, nine hearings involving legislators have been scheduled for Thursday, the day of the party, one for Friday and three more on Wednesday. Legislators collect $150 per diem when they come to… Continue reading →

New York Post editorial shines light on U.S. Sen. David Vitter's stance on Obamacare

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- U.S. Senator David Vitter speaks at a town hall meeting Aug. 15, 2013, at Baton Rouge's Jones Creek Regional Branch LIbrary.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter was commended by the New York Post on Thursday for his belief that members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate should be required to have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. On Wednesday, Vitter ralled his Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote yes on a… Continue reading →

Landrieu offers a definitive ‘no’ that she would run again for office

Associated Press file photo -- U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unseated by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy in a runoff election last week, dismissed queries that she would run for governor, the Senate or any other public office. “Oh Lord, no,” the Louisiana Democrat said on Wednesday. Continue reading full story in Politico.comContinue reading →

Grace: All evidence points to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal putting his presidential hopes ahead of dealing with Louisiana's tax-incentive issues

Associated Press photo by Molly Riley -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the keynote address June 21 during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington.  Jindal was the last of several prospective Republican presidential candidates to address more than 1,000 evangelical Christians attending the event.

Advocate staff writer Gordon Russell and columnist Stephanie Grace answered readers' questions Monday about the eight-part "Giving Away Louisiana" series.

Here are a few questions and answers from the chat.

Does this series make it clear that Jindal was pushing his presidential platform at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers?
Grace: Everyone I talk to in Baton Rouge thinks that's… Continue reading →

U.S. Sen. David Vitter also a big winner in the U.S. Senate election

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO  -- U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), right, campaigns with U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA.), a candidate for U.S. Senate at a campaign rally in Metairie, Louisiana, Friday, December 5, 2014. Shown in the background is Sen-elect Joni Ernst (R-IA), who is in Louisiana to campaign with Cassidy. ORG XMIT: BAT1412051725440951

U.S. Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy wasn’t the only winner standing onstage at Baton Rouge’s Crowne Plaza on Saturday night after trouncing three-term incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu. Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter took the podium before Cassidy at Cassidy’s victory party and then was mentioned in Cassidy’s speech even before Cassidy thanked his own wife. Both events illustrate… Continue reading →

Protesters gather at State Capitol to protest against black deaths from police actions in Ferguson, New York City, Louisiana

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- A group protesting police shootings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York gathered Sunday on the steps of the State Capitol.

About 200 people gathered peacefully on the steps of the State Capitol Sunday to protest against the police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, as well as to draw attention to two Louisiana victims. Baton Rouge Organizing, a group that formed out of the frustrations being voiced about the lack of… Continue reading →

Gov. Jindal: Common Core ‘was bait and switch’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this weekend, explained his turnabout on Common Core this weekend, describing plans for the education standards as “a bait and switch.” Appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Jindal was played past comments he made in support of Common Core and asked to explain… Continue reading →

Special report: Facing $1.4B budget deficit, Louisiana governor candidates eye incentive, tax reforms

Staff Photo by LIZ CONDO. Photo shot on 01/14/2008.  Trax no.  00010457A / Huey Long's statue stands at the center of the State Capitol grounds beside the Capitol steps during the Inauguration Ceremony of Governor Bobby Jindal.

"Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. Continue reading →

Special Report: Unlike similar programs, solar energy tax credit ending in 2017, but why?

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Juan Lopez hauls a solar panel to the roof of a house at the New Orleans lakefront Wednesday for an installation by solar system leasing company PosiGen LLC..

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. Continue reading →

Special report: Fast-growing inventory tax program cause of massive hole in Louisiana budget

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --Robert Ricks stocks the shelves at Cliff Boulden and brother Beau Boulden's Bet-R Grocery, a Baton Rouge retailer that pays tax is on its inventory at a given point in time.

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. It’s not always clear the money is well spent, and the giveaways are growing at a much faster rate than the economy, leading to deep cuts in other state services. Continue reading →

U.S. Rep Boustany to head subcommittee of Ways & Means in next Congress

Lafayette Republican Charles Boustany will chair the human resources subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee in the 2015-16 Congress, his office announced Thursday. Boustany previously headed the Ways & Means oversight subcommittee, and he used that position to probe IRS misdeeds, including the targeting of tea-party organizations and other political groups claiming tax exemptions.… Continue reading →

GOP rallies without Cassidy

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus rallied a cheering crowd gathered in a courtyard at a Baton Rouge hotel on Thursday. Behind Priebus hung a purple and god banner demanding: “DEFEAT LANDRIEU.” Three smaller pro-Bill Cassidy signs dotted the lawn in front of his podium. On either side: Larger Cassidy signs. Continue reading story on the… Continue reading →

Special report: Louisiana's fracking tax program criticized; rebates could reach $1 billion per year

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- TMS RA Verberne 5 is a well that Goodrich is drilling horizontally this week in Tangipahoa on LA-1061. Controversy over an exemption to severance taxes for horizontal drilling, which is necessary for fracking. It's about to cause a huge amount of activity in the Florida parishes.

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. It’s not always clear the money is well spent, and the giveaways are growing at a much faster rate than the economy, leading to deep cuts in other state services. Continue reading →

Cassidy won’t appear at rallies with Santorum or Priebus

Associated Press file photo GERALD HEBERT -- Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, will be in Louisiana this week to campaign for Republicans, but Bill Cassidy apparently has changed his mind about appearing with them. Cassidy, who is locked in Louisiana’s most high-profile campaign right now — the battle with incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu… Continue reading →

Louisiana fighting Obama immigration order

Louisiana joined 16 other states Wednesday in filing a constitutional challenge over President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Texas is leading the coalition that filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Southern U.S. District of Texas. The coalition largely includes states that are headed by Republican governors. Obama’s order would protect from deportation nearly… Continue reading →

Landrieu ‘effectively abandoned’ on airwaves, website reports

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing her runoff fight virtually alone — at least on the television airwaves, according to a new analysis from the Center for Public Integrity. CPI has been tracking political TV ads throughout the election cycle. Just days ahead of Saturday’s runoff between Landrieu and Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, CPI found… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Bobby Jindal to talk about foreign policy at forum

Associated Press file photo -- Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Washington, D.C., for a Foreign Policy Initiative Forum, where he’s expected to take aim at both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. See the full story here.… Continue reading →

Chat replay: Gordon Russell, Stephanie Grace answer your "Giving Away Louisiana" tax series questions

Staff illustration by Walt Handelsman

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. Continue reading →

Report: Former aide to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu pleads guilty to sexual assault

A former staffer for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual assault of two women in 2010, according to a Washington Post report. Donny Ray Williams, who worked for Landrieu's disaster recovery subcommittee, reportedly pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.… Continue reading →

Special report: Louisiana's film tax incentive program fast-growing but a major money-loser

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- A cable cam glides over 3000 extras while filming a scene of movie

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. It’s not always clear the money is well spent, and the giveaways are growing at a much faster rate than the economy, leading to deep cuts in other state services. Continue reading →

5 items to consider in wake of Landrieu, Cassidy debate in runoff for U.S. Senate

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- ongressman Bill Cassidy and Senator Mary Landrieu prepare for the start of the final debate, Monday, Dec. 1, at WAFB Studios on Government Street in Baton Rouge.

Advocate Capitol news bureau Editor Mark Ballard weighs in on tonight’s final televised U.S. Senate debate. Here are five of Ballard’s big takeaways from the hour-long debate: 1) Cassidy responded to Landrieu’s questions about his part-time job with LSU by criticizing Landrieu’s use of charter planes. He says he has… Continue reading →

State GOP, Democrat leaders discuss parties’ futures in Louisiana

Leaders of the state’s two major political parties say they believe their respective groups have strong futures in Louisiana, though the picture for Republicans appears rosier than that for the state’s Democrats right now. Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason DorĂ© and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, spoke to the Baton… Continue reading →

President Obama endorses Mary Landrieu in U.S. Senate runoff

Associated Press file photo by JACQUELYN MARTIN -- U.S. President Barack Obama.

U.S. President Barack Obama has officially endorsed Sen. Mary Landrieu in her runoff race against Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy. The Washington Examiner reports Obama joined Landrieu on a conference call Monday to officially state his support. Continue reading full story at the Capitol News Bureau’s politics blog.Continue reading →

LSU to investigate Bill Cassidy’s part-time job

Associated Press file photo GERALD HEBERT -- Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy

LSU will investigate the part-time employment of Congressman Bill Cassidy, according to a statement released Monday afternoon. “Based on concerns that have surfaced in the news media, we will review any information we have regarding Dr. Bill Cassidy’s employment with LSU, just as we would any other employee,” according to the statement released by the LSU Press… Continue reading →

Special report: Enterprise Zones drain millions from Louisiana's budget, fail to aid poor areas

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- ENTERPRISE ZONE: series about state tax dollars being given away irresponsibly and missing the target areas in need of stimulus. Obvious disparity in North Baton Rouge Parish areas near Southern University and the more upscale area near Perkins Rowe. PHOTO: Closed stores along Scotlandville Avenue in Scotlandville.

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives the state gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. It’s not always clear the money is well spent, and the giveaways are growing at a much faster rate than the economy, leading to deep cuts in other state services. Continue reading →

Special report: How billions of dollars in tax incentives could endanger Louisiana’s future

Staff illustration by Walt Handelsman

“Giving Away Louisiana” is an eight-part series that examines the tax incentives Louisiana gives to boost a historically sluggish economy. It’s not always clear the money is well spent, and the giveaways are growing at a much faster rate than the economy, leading to deep cuts in other state services. Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Legislator pushes for combination of positions

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, an Amite Democrat who is running for governor next year, attended this month’s Southern University System Board of Supervisors meeting and, largely unprompted, encouraged members to consider joining the system president and Baton Rouge campus chancellor positions. He said that the state Legislature would see the move as an effort to operate more… Continue reading →

Cassidy fundraising outpaces Landrieu in run-up to Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff

Leading in the polls heading into the Dec. 6 runoff for the U.S. Senate, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, also led in fundraising over his Democratic opponent, incumbent Mary Landrieu, in the latest filing period, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Cassidy reported taking in $2.2 million from Oct. 16 through Nov. 16. He… Continue reading →

Presidential primary poll: Bobby Jindal far behind competition, but U.S. News analysis has good news for him

Gov. Bobby Jindal is shown in this June 2, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The good news for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is that, if he decides to run for president, his seat as the state's leader could aid him, according to a new U.S. News and World Report analysis. The bad news, according to a new presidential primary poll, is that Jindal trails Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov.… Continue reading →