Politics Column for Sunday, May 12, 2013

capitol news bureau

Report released on state job numbers

The State Civil Service reports that 3,999 classified state employees have lost their jobs since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008.

The layoffs occurred as the administration targeted for reduction of 7,275 positions across state government. Some of the positions were vacant. Other employees left for other jobs before the layoff took effect.

Some 1,799 classified employees have lost their jobs in the current fiscal year — the most of any year since Jindal’s been in office. More layoffs are on the horizon with the planned privatization of five more LSU hospitals by the June 30 end of the current fiscal year.

Today, there are 45,736 classified, or rank and file, employees who work for various state government departments and agencies.

The report’s release came at the end of the Jindal proclaimed “Public Service Recognition Week.” His proclamation expresses “appreciation and gratitude to public service employees for their hard work, sacrifices and unselfish spirit of dedication to the citizens of our state.”

Alario updates on Smith’s condition

Senate President John Alario gave senators a status report on Leesville state Sen. John Smith’s condition as he continues to recover from heart surgery.

“He’s in rehab and should be with us in a couple of weeks time,” Alario, R-Westwego, said.

Smith is a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Alario noted Smith’s return would be just in time for Senate consideration of the proposed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. “We will need him,” said Alario.

House, Senate plays hoops for benefit

The state House and Senate members took to the basketball court Wednesday night for a fun charity fundraising game of hoops.

State Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, noted the Senate’s victory in a match that went into overtime at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“The undermanned, often outsized but very determined Senate came away victorious,” said Chabert, who added he was little sore.

The final score: 54-53.

Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, heard Chabert’s comment and jokingly said he understood that Chabert fouled out in the first quarter.

The annual “hoopla” event raised money to renovate a community basketball court and assist local efforts to assist the homeless.

Jindal announces news conference

Word that Gov. Bobby Jindal planned to hold a news conference Monday arrived midway through a Louisiana House Committee on Ways and Means meeting.

The committee advanced bills to create a legislative vehicle for an alternative proposal to the governor’s state spending plan.

Jindal opposed the plan promoted by Democrats and a faction of House Republicans known as the fiscal hawks.

The committee allowed the governor’s aides to give their remarks and leave the meeting so that they could prepare for the news conference.

“I want to free up the governor’s staff to go talk badly about me,” said state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City and a fiscal hawk, jokingly.

“Hey, now,” replied Stafford Palmieri, the governor’s policy director.

Governor appoints
3 to state board

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office announced three appointments to the 24-member state Board of Commerce and Industry.

The new members are Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux, Baton Rouge lawyer Jerry N. Jones and Baton Rouge architect Thomas Holden.

The Board of Commerce and Industry serves to provide benefits and incentives to encourage businesses to locate or expand new or existing operations in Louisiana.

BESE defends absence to review

State Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, noted the absence of any elected member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education during the Senate Finance Committee’s review of its budget Thursday.

“There has always been someone elected from BESE who showed up,” LaFleur said.

Heather Cope, executive director of the panel, was on hand.

BESE President Chas Roemer said Friday that LaFleur’s questions dealt with the Minimum Foundation Program, and that issue was not on the agenda and is handled separately.

“I will be there on Monday as requested by the chairman of the committee and as I would have been had the MFP been on the agenda,” Roemer said in an email response to a question.

The committee is reviewing BESE’s proposed budget as part of its study of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion spending plan for the financial year that starts on July 1.

DHH director to speak at Press Club

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer and medical director for the Department of Health and Hospitals, will be the speaker for Monday’s noon meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Guidry will talk about hurricane preparedness efforts in advance of the June 1 start of the hurricane season.

The Press Club meets 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.

GOP Roundtable
set Thursday

Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry will be the featured speaker at the Ascension GOP Roundtable on Thursday.

The roundtable, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Plantation Room at SNO’s Seafood and Steak Restaurant, 13131 Airline Highway, in Gonzales.

In 2010, Landry was elected to congress on a platform of cutting spending, creating jobs and limiting government’s growth. Landry recently founded and is president of Restore our Republic PAC.

Cost for the lunch is $20. The event is open to the public and guests are welcome. Reservations are requested. RSVP by calling (225) 644-5728 or email arwrus@aol.com.

CCRW to host education forum

Capital City Republican Women is hosting an Education Forum on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Confirmed speakers are:

The forum takes place at BREC Independence, next to tennis court on Independence Boulevard in Baton Rouge.

The public is invited.

For information, call (225) 284-5786 or email hollico1@aol.com

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