capitol news bureau
July 06, 2012
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 41st birthday gave his children an opportunity to flex their creativity.
The governor’s spokesman, Kyle Plotkin, said Jindal celebrated June 10 with a quiet family dinner at home, followed by a cookie cake.
Jindal and his wife, Supriya, have three children: daughter Selia and sons Shaan and Slade.
Plotkin said Selia created an “I love you” sign on heart-shaped paper for her father. He said the boys made the governor a pencil holder out of a tissue box and a pop-up card.
tricks shorter foes
State Rep. Hunter Greene, who is tall and lanky, joked to Baton Rouge Republicans Tuesday that he likes to play a trick on shorter opponents to his legislation.
A podium on the Louisiana House floor is equipped with a button to mechanically raise and lower the microphone. Legislators go to the podium to advocate for or against bills.
Greene, R-Baton Rouge, said he always raises the microphone just before a shorter opponent speaks, forcing them to struggle to be heard.
He revealed his trick during a speaking engagement at a local restaurant. When Greene finished, the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish’s Richie Edmonds grabbed the restaurant microphone to introduce the next speaker.
Edmonds, who is shorter than Greene, had to stand on the tips of his toes to reach the microphone, which Greene had adjusted to suit his tall stature.
“Does this mean something?” he asked Greene.
“Yeah,” Greene joked.
During that same Tuesday luncheon meeting with the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish, Dan Richey, a former state senator who now is the “Action Grass Roots coordinator” for the Louisiana Family Forum, asked state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, to compare Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential candidate.
Romney reportedly has not been embraced fully by the GOP’s most-conservative members.
Geymann said he thought Jindal was conservative on social issues, such as abortion. “I disagree with him on fiscal issues,” Geymann said.
to take new job
Former Louisiana House Speaker Joe Salter is leaving his job as director of governmental affairs for the state Department of Education.
His departure takes effect on Friday.
“I am voluntarily leaving,” Salter said Saturday.
“I am going to do something else (but) I am not ready to announce what it is yet,” he said.
Salter, who is paid $125,000 per year, has held the job since 2008, when he was named by former state Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek.
The ex-lawmaker represented the department at the Legislature, where he served for 21 years.
Salter, a Democrat, was also liaison to Louisiana’s congression delegation and local school boards.
Salter was elected speaker in 2004 under then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who asked him to seek the job.
He was House sponsor of a key bill that that set up Louisiana’s public school classes for 4-year-olds.
Salter is a former principal and assistant school superintendent.
He is from Florien, a small town about 90 miles southwest of Shreveport.
to leave position
Catherine Pozniak, executive director of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is leaving her job.
Pozniak, 33, who began her duties about 16 months ago, said she is joining the effort to upgrade several troubled public schools in north Baton Rouge.
BESE sets policies for about 700,000 students statewide.
The executive director is responsible for administrative and fiscal operations of the board office.
Pozniak, who is paid $115,000 per year, is former executive director of Teach for America in South Dakota.
She said she will remain as BESE’s executive director until a successor is hired.
SU board member gets OK for job
The Louisiana Board of Ethics has given Southern University Board of Supervisors student member Demetrius Sumner the clearance to take a job on Southern’s main campus.
Sumner graduated May 18 and his service on the board ended May 31.
Sumner asked if he could run afoul of state ethics laws if he took a $40,000 a year position as special assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.
The job appointment did not require approval of the Southern System president nor the board of supervisors.
Ethics Board delays
decision on TFA case
Kira Orange-Jones wants to know if she can continue to be executive director of Teach for America-Greater New Orleans while she serves as a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
TFA has contracts with the state Department of Education and the Recovery School District that exceed $50,000. According to ethics documents, the contracts are signed by BESE, indicating its approval of expenditure of the funds. Any contracts over $50,000 require BESE approval.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics on Friday postponed a decision until next month on the question.
Orange-Jones’ attorney argues that she can recuse herself from voting and “refrain from rendering assistance to TFA, with respect to transactions in which TFA has a substantial economic interest.”
unhappy with Jindal
Louisiana Hospital Association president John Matessino took Gov. Bobby Jindal to task last week in the wake of the governor’s veto of “the Coordinated Care Network Transparency Bill.”
The bill would have required the state health agency to file annual reports with the legislature related to implementation of the administration’s Bayou Health and Behavioral Health Partnership programs.
Under the programs, private companies took over coordination of the medical and mental care of a majority of the state’s Medicaid recipients.
Jindal pushed it as a way to cut costs and improve health outcomes.
“In a time when transparency is key and private providers are voluntarily reporting pricing and quality data, I don’t think it is too much to expect the state to be transparent as well,” Matessino wrote in the association’s newsletter.
Donelon to speak
to Press Club
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon will address the Press Club at noon Monday.
Donelon will discuss hurricane season and the latest developments regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the national health-care law and its insurance requirement.
The Press Club meets on Mondays at the De La Ronde Hall in downtown Baton Rouge at 320 Third St. 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 members of the news media are allowed to ask questions during the question-and-answer portion of the program.
to speak in Ascension
Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta will be the featured speaker for Thursday’s Ascension GOP Roundtable meeting sponsored by Ascension Republican Women.
The Roundtable is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Plantation Room at SNO’s Seafood and Steak Restaurant, 13131 Airline Highway, Gonzales.
Skrmetta, an attorney from New Orleans, was elected in 2008 to a six-year term on the Public Service Commission from District 1, which includes all or a portion of 12 parishes.
His address will include how the United Nation’s Agenda 21 EPA rule impacts consumers.
Cost for the lunch is $18.
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.
Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org.