Jordan Blum for Feb. 25, 2013

La. delegation ranked low

by jordan blum

Advocate Washington bureau

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

Louisiana’s congressional delegation ranked among the 14 worst on the National Environmental Scorecard released last week by the nonprofit League of Conservation.

Louisiana and 13 other states had overall scores below 20 percent. The average score for a U.S. senator was 56 percent and for a U.S. House member it was 42 percent.

The scorecard rated lawmakers on their votes on environmental-related issues.

All of the Republicans in the Louisiana delegation ranged from 3 percent to 9 percent for 2012.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., came in at 50 percent while Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, had scored 71 percent.

As for the Republicans members for 2012, they rated: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., 7 percent; Reps. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, 3 percent; Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, 3 percent; Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, 6 percent; John Fleming, R-Minden, 9 percent; Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, 9 percent; and former Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, 6 percent.

Landrieu on child’s death

The death of 3-year-old, Russian-born Max Shatto last month in West Texas has created a firestorm in Russia, which banned American adoptions in December, and Landrieu entered the fray last week.

Landrieu, who co-chairs the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, has been pushing for Russia to end its new ban, which critics have argued was done for political reasons.

The death of Shatto is still being investigated, but his body had abdominal bruising and some Russian politicians and media have argued that the child’s death justifies the ban.

Landrieu called Shatto’s death tragic, but argued it should not be politicized.

“Contrary to current Russian opinion, child protection laws in the U.S. protect both biological children as well as adopted children, and this case is no exception,” Landrieu said in a prepared statement. “Neither this case nor others that have so much media attention in Russia recently should provide an excuse for that government to close intercountry adoption and relegate thousands of their own children to vapid lives in institutional care.

“Russia’s step to encourage domestic adoption is commendable, but every child in the world deserves and needs a loving and protective family, including Russian children.”

Landrieu was in Asia most of last week, in part on a congressional delegation trip regarding adoption issues.

Alexander holds open houses

Alexander may be based out of northern Louisiana, but his staff is spending time further south next month to meet with constituents in the southernmost parts of his district.

Staff members working in the district offices can act as liaisons between individuals and federal agencies, which include the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and veterans’ affairs issues.

On March 20, Alexander staffers will be in southwestern Louisiana, first from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Krotz Springs City Hall, 224 Main St.

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, they will meet with people at the Port Barre Town Hall, 504 Saizan Ave.

Then they will move to the Opelousas Courthouse, 118 S. Court St., Suite 113, from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

On March 27, they will start at St. Francisville City Hall, 11936 Ferdinand St., from 11 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

From noon to 12:30 p.m., they will be in Jackson at the office of state Rep. Kenny Havard, 3604 College St., then in Clinton from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Office of the Clerk of Court , 12305 St. Helena St.

From 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. the staffers will be at the Greensburg Police Jury Office, 17911 La. 43, then from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Amite Parish Council Office, 206 Mulberry St.

On March 28, the Alexander staffers will visit Bogalusa City Hall, 202 Arkansas Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., then they will be in Franklinton, at 301 11th St., from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com.