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Cassidy speaks on dyslexia

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

Amid an under-the-klieg-lights campaign for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., took some time Thursday to address an issue that for him is far more personal than political: dyslexia. In an informational hearing before the U.S. House Science Committee, Cassidy spoke about his experience as a father when he and his wife, Laura, learned a… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal touts national energy policy plan in Washington D.C.

Associated Press file photo J. Scott Applewhite -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal says America is hurting its economy through efforts that curb domestic energy production. In back-to-back events in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jindal touted a new national energy policy that focuses on increasing domestic and cheaper energy, which he says will stimulate jobs and the economy. The policy paper, released through Jindal’s America Next… Continue reading →

U.S. Sen. David Vitter target of campaign finance complaint

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Sen. David Vitter speaks at the weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon recently concerning policies he's working on in the U.S. Senate and his candidacy for Governor.

A Democrat-leaning group filed a complaint accusing U.S. Sen. David Vitter of violating a state campaign finance law. The American Democracy Legal Fund accused Republican Vitter and his Senate campaign of impropriety in contributing $100,000 to a group supporting his 2015 governor’s race bid. The complaint was filed Friday with the Louisiana Board of Ethics, which… Continue reading →

Treasurer: Discipline a factor in graduation

Suzy Sonnier, Sec. Department of Children & Family Services

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who serves as a substitute teacher about three times per year, said one reason that nearly one in four students in Louisiana public high schools fails to graduate in four years is lack of discipline. “Too often there are one or two kids in every class who constantly interrupt and disrupt the learning… Continue reading →

Tenure law appeal goes before Supreme Court

Judge Mike Caldwell

The Jindal administration’s appeal of a lower court decision that his signature 2012 teacher tenure law is unconstitutional goes before the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday. Oral arguments in the case will be streamed online via the Supreme Court’s website. Go to and click the “Oral Arguments” link on the right side of the… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate debate set

Mary Landrieu; Bill Cassidy; Rob Maness

The three major candidates in the upcoming U.S. Senate race will participate in a televised forum Oct. 14, event organizers announced Monday. It is the first announced forum featuring all three major candidates — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and two Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness — in… Continue reading →

2 Louisiana benefits office staffers added to roster

Thomas Groves

The Jindal administration has two new six-figure salary employees, hired to help with state Office of Group Benefits changes. Thomas Groves has been hired as an assistant commissioner at $220,000 a year and Elise Cazes as a $106,512-a-year group benefits administrator. Group Benefits will be part of Groves’ duties. He’ll also lead risk management, technology services,… Continue reading →

State GOP postpones endorsement debate

With important federal fall elections approaching, the state Republican Party on Saturday sidestepped the controversial issue of candidate endorsements and refused to consider a “party unity” resolution. The party executive committee’s June endorsement of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu irked some supporters of retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Beebe lashes out at White

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

During a lengthy meeting last week of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, one member lashed out at state Superintendent of Education John White. “I am sure you can read,” BESE member Lottie Beebe said to White, eliciting groans from the audience. White, who graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a graduate degree at New… Continue reading →

Roemer ‘not in love with politics’

Chas Roemer, 44, is no stranger to politics. “I’ve been around politics all my life, literally all my life,” he said. He has been on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for seven years and president for the past two. His grandfather Charles served as commissioner of administration. His father, Buddy, spent… Continue reading →

Jindal politicking in Iowa

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Iowa for several political events and will return to Baton Rouge on Sunday, according to his administration. Jindal, who has been considered a potential contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, was in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday night to speak to writers at the “RedState Gathering.” He flew to… Continue reading →

Jindal visits border

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

Gov. Bobby Jindal and other Louisiana leaders traveled to the Texas-Mexico border on Monday to get a closer look at the nation’s immigration crisis. “In at least three locations, we saw where people were trying to make their way into Texas in an unimpeded manner,” State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said after an afternoon boat ride… Continue reading →

Jindal, Holden to attend AgCenter opening

Photo provided -- Sam Irwin

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden are scheduled to attend the dedication of a new $14 million LSU AgCenter building that the Louisiana Legislature funded through direct allocation. The ceremony marking the opening of the two-story, 49,000-square-foot Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building will be at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to an AgCenter news… Continue reading →

Funding sought to preserve invention

Leonard Julien invented a mechanical way to plant sugar cane, developing technology still in use today.

Leonard Julien tickled the ivories at night, teaching himself how to play the piano. By day, Julien farmed sugar cane, lamenting the slowness of planting the stalks by hand. Julien — a Modeste farmer who died in 1994 — liked music and he liked to tinker. He figured out an easier, simpler way to plant sugar… Continue reading →

Jindal: Details needed on immigrant children in La.

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

Gov. Bobby Jindal demanded further details from the White House Thursday about 1,071 unaccompanied immigrant children living with sponsors in Louisiana. Jindal wants to know where the children are living, the timeline for determining their ultimate status and whether the federal government plans to kick in dollars for their education and health care. He also wants to know… Continue reading →

Strain whittles down ag department debt

Advocate staff photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLONState Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Monday that agriculture remains Louisiana's largest industry.

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain inherited a $98 million debt load from his predecessor when he took office in 2008. Over the course of two terms, he’s whittled the debt down to $34 million. “My whole goal has been to get this agency out of debt. I’ve been at it seven years,” Strain said Monday… Continue reading →

State eyeing tax service fraud

State officials contend Maletica V. Ferguson opened The Best Tax Service in Baton Rouge and offered patrons a deal that couldn’t be beat: She guaranteed they would receive a tax refund. How did she do it? By reporting business losses. The problem? Some of her clients didn’t own businesses. Ferguson is just… Continue reading →

Jindal takes possible digs at Christie

State Rep. Joe Harrison

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent remarks to are being seen as an apparent dig at potential rivals for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. Jindal, who has been steadily positioning himself for a possible presidential run, told Time he’s sticking to policy because he doesn’t believe big elections should be “about personalities or just about slogans.”… Continue reading →

State Rep. Hollis exits Senate race

Rep. Paul B. Hollis

State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, announced Monday that he is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race. In a statement issued by his campaign, Hollis said: “After prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana. I am thankful for the outpouring of support from voters throughout the state… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Lawmakers urge calm cooperation for Core

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--American political commentator and media personality James Carville is all smiles as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wins reelection for a second term at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

More than three dozen state House and Senate members signed a statement urging “calm and a spirit of cooperation” in the debate over Common Core. “The extreme rhetoric and negative tone that has come to dominate the debate over Common Core is counterproductive to a successful resolution of the issue in the best interest of Louisiana students,”… Continue reading →

Juban Crossing, old Woman’s Hospital plans sail through bond commission

With little discussion Thursday, state officials gave final approval to more than $13 million in borrowing for Juban Crossing in Livingston Parish and the old Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. The state Bond Commission zipped through the items without calling the projects’ backers up for questioning. The bond resolution for the Juban Crossing… Continue reading →

Vitter: Governor’s office isn’t a stepping stone

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Sen. David Vitter speaks at the weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon recently concerning policies he's working on in the U.S. Senate and his candidacy for Governor.

From Common Core to Medicaid expansion, U.S. Sen. David Vitter tackled political hot-button topics Monday in his first wide-ranging remarks since announcing his run for governor. Vitter, R-La., spoke largely in broad strokes. He thinks the TOPS program is a runaway spending train, but he offered no specifics on how to slow it down. He’s looking carefully… Continue reading →

Gregory Roberts: Senate has its own intrigues

The U.S. House drew most of the attention in Congress this past week, with the stunning defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary Tuesday, setting off a scramble for the resulting openings in the Republican leadership. But the Senate quietly went about its business, too, and in a way that illustrates how legislating… Continue reading →

Gov. Jindal cameo not a hit with viewers

Photo provided by GOVERNOR'S OFFICE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal watches his appearance on 'Duck Dynasty' on Wednesday night with daughter Selia, from left, wife Supriya, and sons Shaan and Slade.

The numbers are in, and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cameo on “Duck Dynasty” didn’t cause ratings to take flight and soar. The West Monroe-filmed reality TV show continued its steady slide in viewership Wednesday night, despite a visit from Jindal. In six months, “Duck Dynasty” has lost nearly 4 million viewers. Popular culture experts now can… Continue reading →

Together Louisiana to push feds for payday loan changes

Advocate staff photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- Broderick Bagert, a leader with Together Louisiana, center, gives instructions Wednesday for an upcoming meeting with the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on payday lending regulations.

After striking out with the Legislature, a community organization hopes to convince a federal official that limits are needed on payday loans. The Rev. Errol Domingue, pastor of Baton Rouge’s Elm Grove Baptist Church, said Wednesday that changes are needed, even if Louisiana’s legislators disagreed. The only bill to emerge from the legislative session was… Continue reading →

Jindal makes reality TV debut on A&E's 'Duck Dynasty'

For a guy who renamed himself after a “Brady Bunch” character, perhaps the oddest thing about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s blockbuster TV debut is that it took him 43 years. Jindal has checked off some pretty big boxes on his bucket list in less than five decades. He’s a Rhodes scholar. He’s a governor. He delivered his… Continue reading →