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Toxic chemical bill backed by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, picks up more Democratic support

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.

Washington — A deal on a toxic-chemcial regulation bill promoted by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., brings more Democratic senators on board with the measure, Vitter’s Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation said Monday, on the eve of committee action on the proposal.

The update of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act is scheduled to come up Tuesday before the… Continue reading →

Gubernatorial candidates all tout commitment to transparency during PAR forum

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- John Bel Edwards, left, chats with moderator Robert Travis Scott, President of PAR, center, as Jay Dardenne, right shakes hands with a well wisher, prior to the start. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana hosted the four major candidates for governor in a forum at the Crowne Plaza. The candidates are: Scott Angelle, Public Service Commissioner (R), Jay Dardenne, Lt. Governor (R), John Bel Edwards, State Representative (D) and David Vitter, U.S. Senator (R) who was not in attendance and had his answers to the questions prerecorded and shown on a projection screen.

The four major candidates running for Louisiana governor this year say, if elected, their administrations would be more open than Gov. Bobby Jindal’s has been. Jindal, who can’t seek re-election because of a term limit, also campaigned on a transparency platform in 2007, but Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne,… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal: Budget plan still 'a lot of moving parts,' TOPS continues to be a priority

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answers media questions in an informal setting in his office Thursday.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal threatened to veto the entire state budget if it relies on what he views as a “tax increase” — including one that depends on a temporary suspension of some tax credits. “I’ve told the Legislature that I will veto the budget if it is balanced using revenues from tax increases,” he told reporters… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal's New York Times editorial: Opposes gay marriage, seeks to protect businesses from forced ceremonies

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., shakes hands after speaking at the Republican Leadership Summit Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Bobby Jindal reaffirms his stance on same-sex marriage and urges corporations opposing him to "Save your breath," in an editorial he wrote for the New York Times. Jindal clarifies what the 2010 Religious Freedom Restoration Act was for and plans to push forward in this legislative session with the "Marriage and Conscience Act".… Continue reading →

Steve Gleason bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. David Vitter advances in Senate

Steve Gleason, right, a former Saints special teams standout who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, demonstrates the newest technology for Team Gleason House, a residence he is creating for people with ALS and multiple sclerosis on Jan. 17. A former Baltimore Ravens player, O.J. Brigance, is also battling ALS.

Washington — The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and named for former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason that liberalizes federal funding for speech-generating devices for the disabled.

In January 2011, Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative nerve condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease for the New York… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal throws New Hampshire audience a curve ball to set up Hillary Clinton zinger

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal almost left those in attendance at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit wondering if they walked into the right convention Saturday in New Hampshire, opening his speech with a line straight from Hillary Clinton’s playbook, according to a report at the conservative Independent Journal Review website. “I want to… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, in face of budget cuts: No one should be surprised I still oppose tax increases

Advocate Photo by ELIZABETH CRISP -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answered questions Thursday from Louisiana reporters in his office at the State Capitol.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says people shouldn’t be surprised that, even as the state faces a potentially devastating budget crisis, he won’t consider revenue-generating proposals he sees as tax hikes. “I was very clear when I ran for office that I was not going to raise taxes,” Jindal said Thursday during a 30-minute meeting with Louisiana reporters at… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal continues to build potential 2016 team

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s American Future Project has hired two new staffers that could become a part of a 2016 presidential campaign team. Politico.com reported this morning reported that Team Jindal has scooped up Bradley Engle, who has worked on campaigns for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Governors Association, and Blaise Hazelwood, a GOP digital veteran. American Future… Continue reading →

‘Religious freedom’ bill sponsor, defender: 'Threats to religious freedom are not hypothetical'

Advocate staff photo by MARK BALLARD -- State Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, addresses the Louisiana House on April 14, 2015, on his religious freedom bill.

State Rep. Mike Johnson said his religious freedom bill, which seeks to carve out protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage, has been misrepresented and misunderstood and has been unfairly linked to controversial measures in Indiana and Arkansas. Johnson, a first-term Bossier City Republican, got a rare opportunity on Tuesday to make an early case for his… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal won’t release work-related emails

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Homeschool Iowa's Capitol Day, Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gov. Bobby Jindal will not release any work-related emails that he has sent during his two terms in office. The Advocate requested copies of his emails last month, as controversy swirled over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for work. Jindal has been flirting with a run for the… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Council curse lives: No sitting councilmember to run for higher office has won since '90s

Political hopefuls may see the Baton Rouge Metro Council as a stepping stone for a higher state or parish office. But in recent years, the local seat has proven to be an impediment. At least 16 sitting council members since 1999 have consecutively lost their elections seeking higher officers. The last sitting council member to run for a higher office and… Continue reading →

Louisiana legislator plans to amend ‘religious freedom’ bill

The Louisiana legislator who drafted a bill that has been linked to controversial “religious freedom” measures in Indiana and Arkansas said he plans to alter his proposal amid concerns. “I have had productive conversations with some very thoughtful people who have expressed concern about the specific language of that subsection,” state Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier… Continue reading →

Louisiana survey finds residents more accepting of same-sex marriage, legal pot; however majority still opposes

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Texas plaintiffs and married couple Vic Holmes, U.S. Air Force Major retired, and Mark Phariss hold hands at a celebration event with the plaintiffs and legal teams before oral arguments were heard in gay marriage cases for Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on Jan. 8, 2015.

Louisiana residents are slowly warming up to the ideas of both same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, but the majority still opposes both proposals, according to the most recent chapter of the 2015 Louisiana Survey, released Tuesday. While the growth in acceptance hasn’t been Earth-shattering — Louisiana still lags significantly behind national rates — younger… Continue reading →

Gov. Jindal backs legislation against ‘revenge porn’

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining the fight against so-called “revenge porn.” The Governor’s Office announced Monday that Jindal is backing state legislation this session that would make it a crime to share sexually explicit photos of someone without permission. “The number of individuals who have been victimized by this very personal form of abuse, often online,… Continue reading →

Decoding Bobby Jindal: Why few potential Republican presidential contenders have courted evangelicals as fervently as he

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during his prayer rally, "The Response", at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Baton Rouge.

When Republican Gov. Mike Pence, of Indiana, drew heavy political fire for signing legislation that was characterized as legitimizing discrimination against homosexuals, a number of Republican presidential contenders leapt to his defense, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The support wasn’t enough. Early last week, Pence announced he would move… Continue reading →

Nearly a dozen bills to take aim at film tax credit program

New Orleans state Sen. J.P. Morrell has filed nearly a dozen bills aimed at revamping the state’s film tax credit program.

The legislation would: modify the cost of the credits, focus the credits to benefit Louisiana, institute better regulation and seek to control fraudulent behavior, according to a news released issued Wednesday by the Senate communications office.

The film tax… Continue reading →

Vitter talks gubernatorial bid at Southern

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, right, a candidate for governor of Louisiana, speaks at Southern University in the Atrium of Higgins Hall on the Baton Rouge campus. Vitter was invited to the campus by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, according to the Dean, Dr. William Arp.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter gave some Southern University students an overview Wednesday of his bid to become Louisiana’s next governor and didn’t shy away from slamming Gov. Bobby Jindal. Dinging Jindal’s apparent presidential aspirations, Vitter told the crowd that Louisiana faces several challenges, but they can be fixed with the right leader. “That’s the reason… Continue reading →

Governor candidates talk tax incentives, budget crisis at forum

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --A packed house listens as Louisiana gubernatorial candidates give their opinions on select topics during "2015 Governor's Race and Small Business: A First Look," Tuesday, sponsored by The National Federation of Independent Business, the Louisiana Restaurant Association and the Louisiana Retailers Association.

The four major candidates for Louisiana governor agree that the state’s in desperate need of tax incentive reform to shore up the budget — and soon. Republicans U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards all touched on the state’s growing budget crisis during… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal shuffles staff, sends top aides to Iowa for possible 2016 run

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

While flirting with a run for president in 2016, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has made another shuffle among his upper staff — just days before the start of the last legislative session of his final term in office here. Leaving the Governor’s Office are Deputy Chief of Staff Taylor Teepell and Legislative Affairs director Matt Parker. Continue reading →

Ex-coastal restoration chief Zeringue running for Louisiana House seat

Coastal protection and restoration advocate Jerome “Zee” Zeringue announced Tuesday he’ll run for the Houma area Louisiana House seat being vacated by Rep. Gordon Dove. Dove, a Republican from Houma, cannot run for re-election to the District 52 seat because of term limits. House District 52 encompasses parts of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish. Zeringue, a Republican, recently served as executive director… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate approves mental-health proposal backed by Bill Cassidy

The U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan proposal to increase access to mental-health treatment that was co-sponsored by Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. The unanimous agreement on the Cassidy-Murphy amendment came during a marathon Thursday might-Friday morning session as the Senate considered a Republican federal budget plan, which passed shortly before dawn Friday. The legislation is not binding, but… Continue reading →

Grover Norquist groups scolded Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2007 over massive, 'unacceptable' bill

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal has gone to a lot of trouble to have an anti-tax group certify that all his dicey plans for next year’s state budget wouldn’t raise taxes. But as a congressman eight years ago, Jindal bucked Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and he was scolded. The Washington, D.C.-based group in Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal's tax policy gets national attention in Washington Post, called 'a very good idea' in Forbes commentary

. Governor Bobby Jindal's tax rebates solution has some lawmakers and political commentators accusing him of selling out Louisiana's tax policy to Grover Norquist, according to an article on the Washington Post. Meanwhile, Forbes commentator David Brunori praises Jindal’s plan, which he says should be emulated by other states. Refundable tax credits “support activities… Continue reading →

Bill Cassidy, other senators continue calling for 'Obamacare' to go as the ACA begins its 5th year

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Sen. Bill Cassidy speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Louisiana Key Academy, a tuition-free charter school specializing in the education of students with dyslexia, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015.

Washington — The Affordable Care Act has not solved the problems of health insurance cost and coverage it was supposed to address, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Monday on the fifth anniversary of the day Democratic President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

Not only that, the ACA is antithetical to Republican principles, Cassidy said at a news conference… Continue reading →

Experts: Decoding why Gov. Bobby Jindal will wait until June to announce whether he'll run for president

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

At nearly the same time Monday that one high-profile Republican, Ted Cruz, officially announced that he’s running for president in 2016, a close political adviser to Gov. Bobby Jindal said the governor won’t declare his own intentions about that race until after the upcoming legislative session ends in June. The difference… Continue reading →

David Vitter holds closed-door meeting on combating corruption

U.S. Sen. David Vitter says Louisiana has a corruption problem — a holdout from the state’s colorful, long-standing culture of political cronyism. “I think it’s a serious problem,” Vitter told reporters Monday. “To change that culture takes a lot of work.” Vitter held a closed-to-the-media “leadership meeting” on the topic with nearly two dozen experts, including… Continue reading →