Jindal takes possible digs at Christie

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent remarks to Time.com are being seen as an apparent dig at potential rivals for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Jindal, who has been steadily positioning himself for a possible presidential run, told Time he’s sticking to policy because he doesn’t believe big elections should be “about personalities or just about slogans.”

Time.com caught up with Jindal over the weekend before a fundraising event in Tennessee and asked him specifically about fellow Republican governor — and potential foe for the party’s nomination — Chris Christie, of New Jersey.

“Rather than focus on what other people may or may not be doing, I’ll just say I’ve always been a policy guy,” the publication quotes Jindal as responding. “The next big elections can’t be ones about personalities or just about slogans. … I think it’s incumbent upon our Republican Party to earn our way back to the majority. Let’s provide those specific answers.”

As Time notes, Christie and Jindal squared off in a testy behind-the-scenes battle to head the Republican Governors Association in 2012 — a fight that Christie ultimately won.

In its post on Jindal’s remarks in Franklin, Tennessee, before Sunday’s fundraiser, Time also points out that Jindal “looks and acts a lot like a presidential candidate these days, with a policy-focused agenda and clear strategy for distinguishing him from some of his Republican rivals.”

Insurance refunds to begin rolling in Oct. 1

Homeowners will start receiving refunds Oct. 1 of their past flood-insurance premium payments if they paid higher rates under a 2012 law that subsequently were rolled back by legislation passed earlier this year, the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Friday.

In 2012, Congress sought to put the debt-riddled federal flood insurance program on firmer financial ground by passing a law that resulted in sharply increased insurance premiums for some property owners. The resulting outcry prompted Congress to alter the 2012 law in a measure passed this spring that capped annual rate increases, reversed some increases imposed by the 2012 law and eliminated rate increases triggered by property sales.

Rep. Whitney enters immigration debate

State Rep. Lenar Whitney, who is seeking the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District seat, is diving into the border crisis and immigration debate.

Whitney, who recently drew attention with remarks that climate change is “perhaps the greatest deception in the history of mankind,” is urging supporters to sign a “petition” that refers to a “growing tide of illegals” and President Barack Obama’s “incompetence.”

It reads: “The deteriorating situation at our border is being fueled by Obama’s incompetence and his unwillingness to enforce our immigration laws. We cannot stem this growing tide of illegals with more empty, hollow rhetoric. Tell me if you agree: We must secure the border immediately and halt the flood of illegals at once.”

The New York Times reports that tens of thousands of Central American youths — unaccompanied minors — have been caught crossing the U.S. border since October.

Whitney’s petition asks signers to provide their names, email addresses and ZIP codes but doesn’t say where it will go and is likely to have no impact on its own. Such petitions frequently are used as a way for campaigns to collect information on potential supporters.

Whitney is one of eight Republican candidates running in the Nov. 4 election to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate.

No progress in meeting on Common Core

State Superintendent of Education John White’s meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal on Common Core differences failed to produce any progress.

Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, was not even allowed to join the gathering.

But White said the session was more than just Jindal telling him that his agency has to follow state procurement laws when developing standardized tests.

“We definitely had an exchange, as we often do,” White said.

Nichols injured during triathlon training

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols suffered a cracked rib, head injury and cuts and bruises during a bicycle fall while training for a triathlon.

Nichols, who was at work last week, took the spill during a cycle training day July 12 at Alligator Bayou.

La. lawmaker named top national legislator

The conservative, business-driven American Legislative Exchange Council has named state Rep. Joe Harrison as its national legislator of the year.

Harrison, a Napoleonville Republican who serves on ALEC’s board of directors, will receive the honor in Dallas on July 31.

“It is an honor to be recognized by my peers as Legislator of the Year,” Harrison said in a news release on the designation. “I’ll continue to represent Louisiana to the best of my abilities and uphold these values while working with my fellow members of the legislature to meet the needs of our citizens.”

Harrison, who this session sponsored legislation to create an office of elderly affairs if voters approve the proposal in November, has been an active member of the group, which pitches and pushes conservative bills at state capitols.

The award honors legislators in good standing with ALEC who demonstrate himself or herself as “a leader in advancing, introducing or enacting policies based on fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty. ”

Executive director of teachers’ group resigns

Michael Walker-Jones, who spent four years as executive director of the Louisiana Association of Educators, is no longer with the group.

A spokeswoman for the LAE said the group does not publicly discuss personnel moves.

Walker-Jones could not be reached for comment.

In 2012, Gov. Bobby Jindal called for Walker-Jones’ resignation after he was quoted as saying that some parents in poverty may not have the time or information to make a decision on their child’s education.

The LAE official said at the time that he tried to convey that parents were owed more information about schools than they were getting.

The dispute surfaced during controversy over the governor’s push to make vouchers a statewide program, which the LAE opposed.

The expansion plan won final approval.

Group: Common Core fight a ‘charade’

The Council for a Better Louisiana, which backs Common Core, said the fight between the Jindal administration, and Superintendent of Education John White and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is a “charade” that should stop.

“This whole matter needs to be decided by the courts,” CABL said in a commentary issued on Friday.

The group also criticized the push by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s team to have officials of the Governor’s Office, Division of Administration and others on a procurement support team help write the request for proposals to get a new state test contract.

CABL said the PST includes “various bureaucrats” that do not meet in public, offers no avenue for public input and amounts to an “opaque black hole.”

Gubernatorial hopeful to address Press Club

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, who is running for governor, will speak at Monday’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

The Press Club meets in the Iberville Room at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. 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.

Acadiana Press Club to focus on Horse Farm

Lafayette Central Park Inc. Executive Director David Calhoun and Director of Planning and Design E.B. Brooks will discuss fundraising efforts and outline next steps for the Horse Farm Monday at the Acadiana Press Club’s Newsmaker Forum Monday at 11:30 a.m. in the Community Room at The Daily Advertiser on Bertrand Drive. Planners hope to break ground this fall on the community park at the former University of Louisiana at Lafayette Horse Farm property.

Lunch will be available for purchase from The Bus Stop food truck, which will be parked in the Advertiser parking lot during the forum.

Bossier City legislator to run for judge

State Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, plans to run for judge.

Thompson made the announcement Friday morning. He is seeking the district court judgeship for Division B in the 26th Judicial District. The judgeship serves Bossier and Webster parishes.

The office’s judge, Ford Stinson, is retiring.

“After careful thought and consultation with my family, I have decided to declare my candidacy for district court judge. Public service is very important to me, and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement to continue to serve our community as judge,” Thompson said.

Group Benefits board to meet July 30

The Group Benefits Policy and Planning Board will meet July 30 for the first time in almost a year because it will finally have a quorum to operate.

By the meeting date, the board should have 13 of its 16 members in place.

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced late last week the appointment of Barry Blumberg and Harold Williams, both of Baton Rouge. Blumberg is a board member of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Louisiana. Williams is owner and managing agent at 1st Team Realty and Insurance Agency.

The advisory board will get an update on the big changes happening to the health insurance program offerings as the state tries to stabilize Group Benefits finances.

Group Benefits’ reserve fund has been tapped to pay ongoing expenses as insurance claims have surpassed revenues coming in. A not so long ago nearly half-billion-dollar fund is less than half that now.

Mock legislative session to be held at Capitol

The Louisiana Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program is hosting a mock legislative session called Action Legislature on Saturday, Aug. 9, in the House chamber at the State Capitol. Participation is open to all high school students.

Registration will be held between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. outside the House chamber. The program will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Derek Brondum is the chairman of the event.

Email Cindy Bishop at destiny362@aol.com for more information. A registration form can be downloaded at www.louisianahoby.org under the “Action Legislature” tab.

Registration is $25 and includes a boxed lunch and handout materials on the legislative process.

Compiled by The Advocate Capitiol news bureau. For more coverage of the Louisiana Legislature, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.