Legislative session to celebrate 200th
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will be master of ceremonies at a joint session of the Louisiana Legislature on Monday celebrating Louisiana’s Bicentennial.
The joint session will be held in the House Chamber of the State Capitol at 1:30 p.m.
Special celebrity guests will participate in Louisiana’s 200th birthday ceremony including musicians Zachary Richard, Deacon John, Jay Chevalier and Irma Thomas; political strategist James Carville; actress Faith Ford; chef Paul Prudhomme; and filmmakers William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg.
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Louisiana State Supreme Court Chief Justice Kitty Kimball will be in attendance as well as Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting will broadcast the joint session live on LaTV. Additional Bicentennial events are scheduled through 2012. Visit www.LouisianaBicentennial2012.com for more information on programs and events.
Officer recovering from skin cancer
State Police Col. Mike Edmonson is recovering from outpatient surgery to remove skin cancer from his nose.
Edmonson told legislators that he now wears sunscreen to protect his face.
He said the cancer probably stems from his younger days when he often neglected to wear a hat while out in the sun.
“I was never a sun worshiper. But I was in the sun quite a bit,” Edmonson said.
He said he felt pain and noticed a bump on his nose but delayed having it checked. He said he now knows the importance of paying attention to warning signs.
Martiny comments on compensation
State Sen. Danny Martiny said he was surprised to read an article in his local newspaper that legislators’ pay was $38,000.
“No one has yet to come up and thank me for the pay raise,” said Martiny, R-Metairie.
Martiny had railed against legislation that would have stopped him and four other senators from continuing membership in the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, if they move into state government jobs when they leave the Legislature.
The practice leads to higher pension benefits for the legislators because they are based on final average compensation. Legislative compensation is between $30,000 and $38,000 while former legislators in state jobs today are making six-figure salaries.
Martiny noted that legislative pay is $16,800 and legislators get an unvouchered expense allowance and per diem too. All the payments are considered compensation for tax purposes.
Martiny received $36,328 in compensation in the last budget year that ended June 30, 2011, according to legislative records.
CABL: Amendment on guns a bad idea
The Council for a Better Louisiana has entered the debate over a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with gun rights.
CABL has no problem with protection of the right to bear arms, according to a policy brief. “National groups have already recognized Louisiana as one of the states where gun rights have some of the greatest protections. But CABL believes this legislation goes too far,” CABL said.
CABL said Louisiana has more than 80 laws that in some way limit the right to carry firearms, including restrictions on convicted felons and minors and bans on carrying guns in such places as the State Capitol, various government buildings, airports, bars and school campuses.
All would be subject to court challenge because the proposed amendment subjects any law restricting gun rights to “strict scrutiny,” a difficult standard to overcome, CABL said.
“The potential impact on our colleges is undeniable and the threat of protracted litigation involving our university systems is yet another distraction we don’t need,” CABL said. “Higher education in Louisiana faces many critical issues. Having to deal with the added problems that could be created by guns on campus should not be one of them.”
Jindal aide jokes about resemblance
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief of staff, Stephen Waguespack, brought a spark of laughter to an otherwise gloomy night at the State Capitol following dips in state revenue projections.
Told that he strongly resembles a state Senate aide, the slightly built Waguespack joked that his “twin” must be muscular.
Waguespack added, in jest, that he often gets mistaken for former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The comments prompted a burst of laughter from Jindal shortly before he began a press conference to discuss possible budget cuts that could impact public colleges and hospitals.
GOP director slams health-care exchange
State Republican Party executive director Jason Doré emailed “fellow conservatives” trying to generate opposition to legislation under which Louisiana would create a health insurance exchange.
The exchange helps people identify health insurance providers as the federal healthcare overhaul goes into full effect. A state Senate panel approved the legislation last week over the objections of the Jindal administration. It is pending for a vote by the full state Senate.
Doré wrote that the legislation is “designed not only to begin implementing Obamacare in Louisiana, but also to force Louisiana to pay for it.”
Obamacare is how critics refer to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010 and requires states to either create their own informational center where consumers can go to shop and compare health-care policies or join a federal exchange that does the same thing nationally.
“It is critical that we get engaged now and stop this legislation,” wrote Doré .
His missive included a link to look up senators, their contact information and the Senate’s switchboard number.
Lawson: Team eats like no tomorrow
Southern University Board of Supervisors board member Myron Lawson teased members of the women’s tennis team Friday for their appetite.
Lawson told fellow board members during a meeting that he expected the women to prefer healthy food. Instead, he said, they went for the fried food at a gathering.
“I love these young ladies, but they eat like they’re going to the electric chair,” Lawson said.
Restaurateur named to Lottery directors
Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed Larry Katz, owner of Dot’s Diner in Metairie, to the board of directors of the Louisiana State Lottery Corp.
Katz will make $15,000 a year for serving on the nine-member board.
Jindal also announced the reappointment of George Rodrigue of New Orleans as Louisiana’s Artist Laureate. Rodrigue is known for his “Blue Dog” paintings.
Political consultant Fletcher honored
The American Association of Political Consultants recently recognized Baton Rouge political consultant Roy Fletcher’s work.
Fletcher received the silver and bronze Pollie Awards for his work on a public affairs campaign.
According to the association, Fletcher helped bring lawmakers from “both sides of the aisle together in defense of swipe fee reform.”
Founded in 1969, the American Association of Political Consultants is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy.
RSD superintendent to address Press Club
Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard will address the Press Club at noon Monday.
Dobard will discuss the launch of the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone, a model to address the needs of children currently attending low-performing schools in the parish by working collaboratively with parents and engaging community and business partners.
Press Club meets on Mondays at the De La Ronde Hall in downtown Baton Rouge at 320 Third St. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
Family group head’s wife meeting’s guest
The Livingston Parish Republican Women will hold its monthly meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Hampton Inn, 201 Rushing Road, in Denham Springs.
The guest speaker will be Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ wife, Lawana.
Lunch will be served at 11:15 a.m. and catered by Don’s Seafood Hut. Reservations are required and there will be a charge of $15. Call Terri Day at (225) 931-9206 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Tea Party members to meet on Thursday
The Baton Rouge Tea Party will hold a monthly membership meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lake Sherwood Club House, 3831 Lake Sherwood Ave. East. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the meeting starting at 6:30 p.m.
Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact email is mballard@the