Politics Column for March 31, 2013

Schroder makes call for efficiency tips

State Rep. John Schroder wants state employees’ ideas on how to make state government more efficient.

Schroder, R-Covington, created an email address, suggestionbox@legis.la.gov, for employees to submit ideas.

“These are the people who are doing the job. No one could possibly give us more insight than them,” Schroder said in a prepared statement.

He added that workers should submit ideas on their own time and from their own computers.

Woman rams
gate at mansion

The day before Gov. Bobby Jindal flew to Washington, D.C., for the Gridiron Club dinner, a woman allegedly rammed the gate at the Governor’s Mansion with her vehicle.

According to a State Police report, Cheryl F. Aljuwani, 51, turned into the mansion’s east driveway at 5:41 p.m. March 8, slammed into the gate and tried to force her way onto the property, causing $5,000 in damage.

Aljuwani, 2252 Tecumseh St., Baton Rouge, was booked with reckless operation, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace and public intimidation.

On the report, her condition is described as mental impairment.

State Police Capt. Doug Cain said the governor was not home at the time.

George recuses from discussion

LSU Board of Supervisors member Dr. John George walked out before the board took up discussion of a potential deal with a private, nonprofit foundation to manage LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe.

The reason: George is the incoming chairman of the Biomedical Research Foundation, the entity involved in the discussions.

George said he consulted with the LSU board’s attorney and sought an ethics opinion whether a potential conflict of interest exists. He excused himself from discussions.

The board voted to move forward with a memorandum of understanding that could lead to a cooperative endeavor agreement between LSU and the foundation.

Ethics administrator Kathleen Allen said the agency received a request for an opinion March 15.

She said there was no request for an expedited review, so the issue will be scheduled for the board’s May meeting.

Social media ranks high for travel site

Louisiana Travel social media efforts improved from 12th to an eighth-place ranking among state tourism agencies in a study released by Think! Social Media.

The study uses a 16-point system to rank tourism marketing groups’ use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Flickr.

“We take our social media marketing efforts as seriously as our traditional marketing efforts,” said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne as his office announced the designation.

“More people than ever before are using online forums such as Facebook and Twitter to make their travel decisions.”

The Louisiana Travel Facebook and Twitter page has more than 126,000 likes and more than 13,000 followers, respectively.

Egan named to Board of Regents

Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed Pamela Egan, of Covington, to the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state’s higher education management board.

Egan is the co-owner of Egan Wellness Clinic, where she is a nurse practitioner. She is also the co-owner of Egan Healthcare Services. She will serve as a representative of the 1st Congressional District replacing Robert Bruno, also of Covington, who resigned last week.

Robideaux to speak on legislative session

State Rep. Joel Robideaux will speak Monday at the Press Club of Baton Rouge about the upcoming legislative session, which begins April 8.

Robideaux, R-Lafayette, is chairman of the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee, which will consider Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax swap proposal. He is also chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay, and a member of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and the State Bond Commission.

The Press Club meets Mondays at De La Ronde Hall, 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, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Rep. James to host
town hall meeting

State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, is holding a town hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Greenwell Springs Road Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge.

The public is invited.

LSU to seek layoff approval from state

LSU will seek state Civil Service Commission approval Tuesday to lay off several hundred employees of Earl K. Long Medical Center and its clinics.

The hospital, in north Baton Rouge, is scheduled to close April 15.

Inpatient care and medical education programs move to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. The Lake also takes over management of four clinics.

The commission meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the Louisiana Purchase Room of the Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third St. People wanting to speak about the layoff plan can begin signing up at 12:15 p.m. outside the meeting room doors.

The commission also will be briefed on proposed outsourcing of five other LSU Health Care Service Division hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Bogalusa and Lake Charles.

Interim HCSD Chief Executive Officer Dr. Michael Kaiser is expected to be present to answer questions.

Governor’s tax plan discussion set

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is holding a seminar Tuesday on how the governor’s proposed tax plan to eliminate Louisiana’s corporate and personal incomes taxes affects nonprofts.

The presentation will be by the Louisiana Budget Project.

The seminar is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Ashe Cultural Center, 1712 Oretha C. Blvd., New Orleans.

RSVP to oe@gnof.org or call Elizabeth Beier at (504) 598-4663.

Dardenne to speak at lunch meeting

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will be the guest speaker at the Livingston Parish Republican Women monthly meeting Wednesday.

The meeting begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Wholly Grounds, 27988 Walker S. Road, which is on La. 447 just north of Interstate 12 in Walker.

The public is invited to attend.

There is a charge for lunch, reservations are required and may be made by contacting Terri Day at 931-9206 or email terriday@eatel.net

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