Politics Column for Sunday, May 19, 2013

capitol news bureau

Treasurer forwards check to agency

The state health agency recently got a half-a-million dollar shot in the arm courtesy of state Treasurer John Kennedy.

The treasurer’s office forwarded to the state Department of Health and Hospitals a check for $502,158.66 ‑— representing unclaimed property due the agency.

Deputy state treasurer Jason Redmond said the money came from multiple sources.

“Like most unclaimed property, it’s not the fault of the person or entities owed the money that it gets lost and turned over to us,” Redmond said.

Redmond said the treasurer’s office has an on-going effort in its unclaimed property division to identify money that is owed to government entities and “giving it back to them as soon as possible. “That was the case here,” he said.

Redmond reminded that anyone can search the unclaimed property database 24 hours a day, seven days a week at
http://www.LATreasury.com.

Legislator criticizes using children at rally

State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb chastised those who brought hundreds of children to the State Capitol last week as part of efforts to lobby legislators for private school voucher funding.

“We made a big thing last year about teachers are here, not in school” when the teachers were in Baton Rouge lobbying against vouchers, Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, said.

She said the same people who were “screaming” last year brought “little children here” wearing “Legislators You Promised” T-shirts.

“They were not in school learning something. They were here as lobbyists,” Dorsey-Colomb said.

The pro-voucher rally was sponsored by the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

Gov. Jindal endorses candidate in Va. race

Gov. Bobby Jindal went to Richmond, Va., on Friday for a fundraiser and to speak at the state’s Republican State Convention, according to a statement released late Friday afternoon.

At a speech before 14,000 delegates, Jindal endorsed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is the only candidate to qualify as a Republican in the state’s gubernatorial race and was officially nominated Saturday by the state’s GOP, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.

“We live in a time where too many elected officials stick their finger up in the air to see where the wind is blowing,” the newspaper reported Jindal as saying. “I’m tired of these kinds of politicians. I’d rather have a principled, articulate conservative leader. We need Ken to be your next governor because we need that kind of man with courage and convictions.”

Cuccinelli, 44, opposes abortion and was the first state attorney general to challenge the federal law that came from President Barack Obama’s efforts to revamp healthcare.

Cuccinelli faces former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe in the Nov. 5 election to become Virginia’s 72nd governor.

Jindal was scheduled to return Saturday to Baton Rouge, according to his press office.

Peacock ushers in Shreveport visitors

State Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Shreveport, introduced some guests visiting the Senate chamber last week from the Chamber of Commerce in Shreveport.

Peacock noted that one of the visitors was a cousin of Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego. He was the only senator voting against Alario to be president last year.

“That’s a way to get some capital outlay for Shreveport. Put an Alario up there,” quipped Alario, who is known for possessing the sway to get projects for his district.

Musings of Basile and swine fest dignitaries

In welcoming students from Basile to the State Capitol Thursday, state Sen. Eric LaFleur offered colleagues a history of his ties to the town.

Basile is a small town in Acadia and Evangeline parishes.

LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, said his sister was queen of the town’s swine festival in 1976. He paused to allow the state Senate Finance Committee to applaud before adding another footnote.

“I was also the king last year of the swine festival,” LaFleur said.

At that point, state Sen. Jack Donahue stopped the musings on the LaFleur family.

“I am now turning the microphone off,” joked Donahue, R-Mandeville.

Group hangs ‘F’ on La. for disclosures

Louisiana was among 24 states with a failing grade, according to a new 50-state analysis by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

The survey, released Friday, was done with the Washington, D.C. Center for Public Integrity. It graded the states on disclosure requirements for political action committees, or super PACs, nonprofits and other outside spending groups.

States were graded on how much information is provided to the public about non-candidate organizations that buy ads, often negative and misleading, just before an election. Louisiana scored 50 out of a possible 100 points for an ‘F’ grade.

Ethics Board: Laws ban Morrish from post

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has decided conflict of interest laws would ban state Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish from being the executive director of Citizens Property Insurance Corportation’s board.

Morrish sought the advice, saying he was considering applying for the job and would resign from both the Citizens board and the state Senate if he got the job.

Citizens executive director Richard Robertson submitted his resignation effective June 1. Robertson’s salary is $240,000.

Morrish, R-Jennings, is chairman of the Senate Committee on Insurance and a member of the Citizens board. He told ethics officials that the executive director is hired by the commissioner of insurance and not appointed to or employed by the Citizens’ board.

Ethics Board OK with George’s dual roles

Dr. John George, of Shreveport, can lead a group that wants to take over operation of LSU’s Shreveport hospital and still serve on the LSU Board of Supervisors without running afoul of state ethics laws.

The state Ethics Board signed off on an advisory opinion clearing the way. The board said George would serve in an uncompensated capacity as CEO of the Biomedical Research Foundation, negating a conflict of interest. In addition, the Board noted that George could recuse himself from LSU Board decision-making when it relates to LSU Shreveport, and thus avoid any problem with participation prohibitions.

Student Woodard elected to LSU panel

LSU junior John Woodard has been elected the new student member of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

The Covington native was elected to a one-year term on the governing board at a meeting of LSU System student body presidents. The term begins June 1. He succeeds Justin Mannino, of Baton Rouge, whose term expired.

A finance major with a minor in leadership development, Woodard was recently elected as the new LSU Student Government president, and was sworn in April 17.

Bray to serve on SU’s Board of Supervisors

Southern University Junior and Student Government Association President Simone Bray will serve as the next student member on the Southern University Board of Supervisors.

The Baton Rouge native was selected from among SGA presidents at Southern’s Law Center and New Orleans, Shreveport and Baton Rouge campuses. She will take her seat on the board at its June meeting.

The graduate of McKinley Senior High School is a mass communications major.

Bogalusa senator
to speak at Press Club

State Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, will speak at Monday’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge about his private sector-based Medicaid expansion plan.

Nevers is the sponsor of the Louisiana Health Care Independence Program which is pending consideration in the Senate.

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

Crime coverage topic at Press Club luncheon

Covering High-Profile Crimes will be the topic as the Acadiana Press Club hosts two Lafayette public information officers at its Newsmaker Forum Monday at 11:45 a.m.

Corporal Paul Mouton with the Lafayette Police Department and Trooper Stephen Hammons with Louisiana State Police will discuss the case of 21-year-old Mickey Shunick was murdered in Lafayette. Hammons will speak on another recent case of a police officer who was killed responding to a 911 call in St. Mary Parish.

The Acadiana Press Club meets at Ardoin Building at South Louisiana Community College, 1101 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette.

Pachyderms group
to focus on federal suit

Secretary of State, Tom Schedler will be the guest speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Pachyderms of Greater Baton Rouge.

Schedler will focus on the Department of Justice’s suit against the state of Louisiana and a number of Louisiana state agencies and officials alleging that Louisiana’s governmental agencies were not registering the recipients of state benefits to vote with sufficient vigor.

The 6:30 p.m. meeting will be at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, 3084 College Drive, Baton Rouge.

Cost for the buffet is $13. Pachyderm meetings are open to the public and guests are welcome. Reservations are requested. RSVP: 225-644-5728 or e-mail: info@pachydermsofgbr.org For more information, visit the Pachyderms on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PachydermsofGBR.

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