Inside Politics for July 10, 2011

Senator responds to Anthony verdict

A state senator who is running for re-election this fall is already talking about pre-filing a bill for the 2012 regular legislative session.

State Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, said the failure to report the death of a child and the intentional communication of false information regarding a missing child should be felonies.

Crowe said he drafted the legislation in response to the Casey Anthony case verdict in Florida.

Anthony was acquitted of murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee but was found guilty of lying to officials.

Failure to report the death could bring up to a 20-year prison term and providing false information up to five years under Crowe’s proposal.

Plan to privatize insurance opposed

The Retired State Employees Association of Louisiana is opposing any privatization of a state employee health insurance plan.

The organization asked Gov. Bobby Jindal to show compassion and not hire a private company to manage a health plan that covers thousands of state workers, retirees and dependents through the Office of Group Benefits.

The Retired State Employees Association of Louisiana concluded that privatization would result in higher insurance premiums.

“It stands to reason and common sense that any private insurer would have to recoup income taxes, cover their business overhead, make a profit for their shareholders and possibly pay dividends to those shareholders,” the organization said.

The governor is hiring a financial adviser to determine how much money privatization would generate for the state.

Edwards to attend banquet at Hilton

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards is scheduled to make a public appearance Tuesday at a banquet recognizing his biographer.

The Foundation for Historical Louisiana is holding the banquet at the Hilton Capitol House in downtown Baton Rouge at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $75 and $85.

Edwards recently completed his home incarceration on racketeering charges. He is launching a book tour with biographer Leo Honeycutt.

The four-term governor has dined out but has not made an appearance at big public events.

His publisher, Lisburn Press, characterized the banquet as Edwards’ first formal public appearance.

Wristbands needed for book signing

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ book signing Saturday doesn’t start until 2 p.m.

But those wanting to get an autographed copy of Edwards’ authorized biography need to be early arrivals.

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Barnes & Noble officials will start handing out wristbands for those seeking access at 9 a.m. at its 2590 CitiPlace Court location, said Abby Hannie, community relations manager for the store.

Hannie said the bookstore isn’t putting a limit on the number of wristbands that will be distributed. “We’ll try to accommodate everyone we can,” she said.

Joining Edwards will be his biographer, Leo Honeycutt.

Edwards and Honeycutt have another book signing July 17 at the Barnes & Noble at Perkins Rowe.

Downs won’t seek to be re-elected

A leader in efforts to put more money into Louisiana road improvements has decided he won’t run for re-election this fall.

“I’m just ready to move on in life,” said state Rep. Hollis Downs, R-Ruston, vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

“I’ll be 65 this fall and I’m still relatively young and healthy,” Downs said.

Downs is a two-term representative who would not have hit term limits until 2016.

Term limits have caught up to 11 House members, but others are not seeking re-election — opting to run for other offices or, like Downs, going home.

Powers to serve as deputy secretary

The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections has a new deputy secretary.

Sheryl Ranatza is retiring after 30 years as a state employee.

Replacing her is Eugenie “Genie” Powers, who previously served as director of probation and parole.

Powers will retain her annual salary of $120,723.

The agency’s secretary, Jimmy LeBlanc, lauded Powers’ skills and experience.

LSU Shreveport touts affordability

LSU Shreveport is touting being named one of the most affordable colleges in the nation.

A recent U.S. Department of Education report cited LSU Shreveport as among the state’s universities with the lowest net prices. That net price is $4,364.

LSU Shreveport officials said the report means the north Louisiana college is No. 15 on the list of most affordable four-year universities in the United States.

“We have known for some time that LSUS is an outstanding buy for the citizens we serve. We are the 15th best buy nationally among all public four-year universities and the number one best buy in Louisiana,” LSU Shreveport Chancellor Vincent Marsala said in a prepared statement.

Duffy to discuss river dredging

Sean Duffy, executive vice president and maritime advocate for the Mississippi River Maritime Association, will be the speaker at Monday’s noon meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Duffy will discuss his association’s efforts to try and persuade the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend some $95 million to further dredge the mouth of the Mississippi River.

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 non-members.

The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and members of the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Nungesser, Santos to address group

Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish president, and Pat Santos, interim director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, will address Thursday’s meeting of Capital City Republican Women.

The meeting will focus on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — the crisis, overview and pending status.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Bluebonnet Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd. For additional information, please call (225) 284-5786 or send an email to hollico1@aol.com.

Broome to speak at youth seminar

Senate President Pro-tem Sharon Broome will be one of the guest speakers for the 41st annual Louisiana Youth Seminar July 17-22 at LSU.

Broome, D-Baton Rouge, will address some 250 high school students about being an active participant in promoting Louisiana and respecting opinions when working in a group.

Founded in 1971, LYS is a leadership camp for high school juniors and seniors.

Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact address is mballard@theadvocate.com.