Politics Column for Feb. 3, 2013

Gov. Jindal dodges
Super Bowl pick

Gov. Bobby Jindal cleverly ducked the issue of which team he will be pulling for Super Bowl Sunday.

Jindal said through a spokesman that he likes the team coached “by Harbaugh.”

The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are coached by brothers, both named Harbaugh.

“With the Saints not playing, I’m just hoping for a good game,” the governor said, according to his Press Office.

Edmonson upbeat about school safety

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said he feels good about school safety in Louisiana after meeting with other law enforcement officials in Washington, D.C.

Edmonson was in the nation’s capital for one day last week to look at gun violence proposals in the wake of the shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn.

Twenty children and six adults died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 when Adam Lanza opened fire. Lanza later took his own life.

“I really like where we are in Louisiana. We are ahead of the curve,” Edmonson said.

Hodges meets up with La. delegation

State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to urge Louisiana’s U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to oppose the nomination Chuck Hagel as the new U.S. Secretary of Defense. Hagel’s confirmation hearings began last week.

Hodges also met with Tony Perkins, a former state representative who now is president of Family Research Council, which lobbies the federal government on what it calls traditional family values. Perkins also has been critical of the Hagel nomination.

Hagel’s confirmation would send a signal to the Middle East that the U.S. will be softer on Iranian sanctions and is no longer willing to stand with Israel as we have in the past, Hodges said.

Hodges co-authored a resolution with state Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River, in the 2012 Legislative Session urged support of the state of Israel.

Georges appreciates Jindal’s patronage

New Orleans businessman John Georges said he is thrilled that his former political rival, Gov. Bobby Jindal, will be at Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge on Feb. 20.

Georges is co-proprietor of the bistro. He and Jindal ran against each other in the 2007 governor’s race.

The Republican Party of Louisiana hopes political supporters will pay $5,000 to $10,000 per couple to meet Jindal at a general reception held at the restaurant.

“Nice to have him in the state spending money in my business,” Georges said by email.

Governor lines up trip to Washington

Gov. Bobby Jindal is skipping Washington Mardi Gras this year, but he will be in the nation’s capital next month.

Jindal is slated to speak at the Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner on March 9.

The governor’s spokesman, Sean Lansing, confirmed Jindal will represent Republicans at the annual dinner.

The president occasionally speaks at the dinner.

Cuts directed at LSU hospitals now moot

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office weighed in on the issue of whether the Jindal administration directed cuts at LSU hospitals that exceeded the administration’s legal authority.

But last week’s opinion came after the administration rescinded the deep cuts and moved to a plan to partner the public facilities with private hospitals in many communities.

“It’s a moot point unless they change their mind again,” said state Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro, who had sought the opinion.

Ortego and others asked whether expenditures could be reduced at any hospital greater than 35 percent from the prior fiscal year.

The Attorney General’s opinion said all expenditures must be taken into account, not just those paid with state funds. It offered no opinion on whether the administration had exceeded its authority.

Former governor’s reality show slated

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ reality show will premiere in March instead of February.

Publicist LaurĂ©n Bienvenue said “The Governor’s Wife” will debut at 9 p.m. March 13 on A&E.

“Just a scheduling change, happens all the time,” she said by email.

The show will feature Edwards and his wife, Trina, who are juggling a blended family of six children and hope to welcome a baby of their own.

Edwards program applies for tax credits

An application is pending with the state Department of Economic Development for tax credits tied to former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ upcoming reality show.

Chad Alan Productions LLC submitted paperwork for a 30 percent credit on Louisiana expenditures and a 5 percent credit on Louisiana-based payroll for “The Governor’s Wife.”

In-state expenditures were estimated at $693,468 for 13 episodes featuring Edwards and his wife, Trina. The estimated Louisiana payroll was $366,443. The overall budget is $3.7 million.

Chad Alan Productions predicted on the application that “show will continue for a long time.”

Chris Stelly, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development, said the application is in the initial certification process.

“They still have to make the money and film the show,” he said.

Jindal makes further staff replacements

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced more changes in his communications staff Friday.

The governor’s deputy communications director, Aaron Baer, is leaving for other, unspecified opportunities.

Replacing him is Michael Reed, who was research director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. Reed’s resume also includes a stint in the research department of former Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Sean Lansing, the governor’s spokesman, said Baer provided a verbal resignation.

He said Baer made $72,000 a year and Reed will make $80,000 a year.

Gatlin named head
of communications

Anna Gatlin is the new director of communications for the state Department of Education.

Gatlin, who is being paid $90,000 per year, served as a domestic policy adviser in Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Brodrick Hampton, who is the new communications manager for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is paid $70,000 per year.

Group applauds Caldwell for brief

Louisiana Family Forum asked its supporters to send kudos to state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell for sending a “friend of the court” brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case challenges a California law banning gay marriages and questions whether a state government can define marriage as between one man and one woman only.

Arguments are scheduled before the high court on March 26-27, according to the Louisiana Family Forum, a Baton Rouge-based lobbying group that says it promotes traditional family values.

Ethics Board files charges against Grace

The Louisiana Board of Ethics filed charges against former St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace for failing to file campaign finance reports in connection with his 2011 bid for state Senate.

The board said Grace missed four required reports showing contributions and spending to the Senate District 2 campaign and pay appropriate fines.

The primary election was Oct. 22, 2011.

Grace was sentenced Aug. 27 to 22 years in federal prison on seven charges that included racketeering, bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud.

La. ‘app’ getting attention nationwide

Louisiana’s GeauxVote Mobile app is receiving recognition from the National Association of Secretaries of State.

The app allows voters to check their registration status, review a sample ballot and retrieve turn-by-turn directions to their polling place.

The project of Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office is one of four finalists for the NASS IDEAS Award. The application launched in September 2011.

BR lawyer Unglesby
to address Press Club

Baton Rouge attorney Lewis Unglesby will address the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

Unglesby will discuss gun rights in Louisiana and the United States.

Press Club meets on Mondays at De La Ronde Hall, which is located at 320 Third St. in downtown Baton Rouge.

Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers. The public is invited.

Compiled by the Capitol news bureau. Contact email address is cnb@theadvocate.com.