Our Views: Fair play for loans

Amid a deluge of lobbying from national payday lending operations, the Legislature in both chambers has shown a reluctance to tighten the sky-high interest rates and fees paid by customers of the short-term loan outlets. But there remains a sensible reform that can be adopted, and it is before the Senate. We urge lawmakers to strengthen … Continue reading →

Our Views: Wait for federal wage

That key votes on a proposed increase in Louisiana’s minimum wage were so close shows how politically popular the issue is. The House’s labor committee voted 10-6 against a proposal by Alexandria Rep. Herbert Dixon to make $8.25 per hour the minimum wage by next year. Then, lawmakers voted 9-5 to reject New Orleans Rep. Jared … Continue reading →

Letter: Legislators should read Bible on poor

In a Legislature that’s considering making the Holy Bible Louisiana’s official book, it seems legislators have yet to learn what the good book says about treatment of the poor and usury. Echoing God’s message in Exodus 3: 7-8, “I hear the cry of my people,” Representative James urged his colleagues to hear the cry of … Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Jindal at odds with education leader White

Superintendent of Education John White got his job with the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, but two years later, the men are increasingly at odds and appear to be drifting further apart on education policy. The rift centers on Louisiana’s shift to Common Core standards, and comes largely because Jindal did an about-face, moving from strident supporter … Continue reading →

Our Views: Easter offers world hope

The Easter story, the happy ending in a tale of brutal crucifixion, suggests that there’s a powerful answer to the pain and evil that have touched the world throughout human history. That’s why the Easter narrative can resonate not only with Christians, but in secular society, too. Any story of hope is needed now more than ever, as … Continue reading →

Our Views: Avoid lines at airports

If ever there was a case of Louisiana lawmakers being stuck on stupid, it is in the bizarre opposition to a new driver’s license that will meet federal standards. Why stupid? Because Louisiana has refused to adopt a standard license, current licenses will eventually not be accepted for airline travel. That is an unacceptable economic cost, … Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Common Core support aligns with election bids

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Stephanie Grace

One way to gauge how quickly the politics surrounding Common Core have changed is to track Gov. Bobby Jindal’s journey from full support to abandonment to opposition so strong that he’s willing to entertain an end-run around his own allies in the Legislature, on the state education board and in the education department. Another entirely … Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Don’t fall for Obamacare’s Medicaid bait

Quin Hillyer

Louisiana’s editorial boards and other opinion leaders all seem to agree that Gov. Bobby Jindal is wrong to reject the Medicaid expansion offered by Obamacare. But Jindal is right. Obamacare’s Medicaid offerings glitter like fool’s gold. Before doing the math, let’s study some history. It’s not just that President Barack Obama has broken almost every … Continue reading →

Our Views: High life in politics

Politicians are human beings, and surely some of them can be forgiven if they cling to their offices in the state House and Senate as much for the fine dining and high life of Baton Rouge compared with, say, Shongaloo. Terrible, then, what has happened over the past few years to those politicians who treasure the … Continue reading →

Letter: Let river return to natural state

I received the trial lawyers’ “Big Oil Bailout” slick flier in the mail about 12 days ago. My response was simply, “bovine excrement.” The coastal erosion is occurring in the Mississippi Delta, while new islands are forming in Vermilion Bay, and the coast is growing. The difference is the Mississippi River is being dredged … Continue reading →

Letter: McAllister squandered good will

A screen grab from a surveillance video shows U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister in a passionate embrace with a woman identified as an aide.

I do hope that Vince Bowers had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he wrote his recent letter. If so, I have to agree with him that “infidelity” and “asking for forgiveness,” if not valued in our Louisiana politicians, are at least expected. It is unfortunate that what most shake their heads … Continue reading →

Our Views: On rights and sense

Maybe it’s a trifle early, but can we declare something of an outbreak of common sense on the issue of gun rights in Louisiana? We say that because of two sensible decisions recently in the Legislature, which has, too often, shown a desire for guns galore in places where firearms are dangerous. The Senate rightly … Continue reading →

Our Views: An old idea, still wrong

It’s back-to-the-future time in the Legislature again, with lawmakers debating a proposal to undo a key goal of education reformers of a generation ago: appointment of a professionally qualified state superintendent of education. That was a major battle after years of scandals involving superintendents of education who were elected statewide. As Louisiana faced the challenge of … Continue reading →

Letter: Lafayette chamber providing leadership on key issues

In the past few months, leaders of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce have spoken with hundreds of business leaders throughout Acadiana and asked what role they envisioned the chamber playing in our community and region. The answer was clear: an organization that can provide intelligent leadership on key business issues. This desire for more impactful … Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Bill eliminates board’s independence

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Stephanie Grace

Picture, if you will, a hypothetical Louisiana governor. He or she might be a good, responsible, public steward. Or the person could be a corrupt hack, determined to sell the state out to the highest bidder. Or maybe, just maybe, the governor in question is driven far more by his or her national ambitions than … Continue reading →

Inside Report: Commissioner pay in question

There’s a bill winding its way through the Legislature right now that could go a long way in determining how strong a candidate Louisiana is able to attract to oversee the state’s higher education institutions. It comes down to money. More specifically, how far the state Board of Regents, Louisiana’s higher education policy … Continue reading →

Our Views: Stick with the cause

What could be stranger than Gov. Bobby Jindal throwing in with teacher unions to oppose one of the primary conservative goals in education policy over the past two decades? Strange but true, and bad for the state and its children’s futures. The flash point has been the so-called Common Core academic standards, and the tests … Continue reading →

Letter: Lawmakers failed to help state’s poor

Poor people have no representation in the Louisiana Legislature as evidenced by its failure to place a cap on the cost of payday loans. The Legislature would prefer to spend time debating “high” priority issues such as whether the American paint or the Shaggy mane pony should be named the official state horse. Most … Continue reading →

James Gill: Fair Grounds not what it used to be

James Gill

Horseracing people tend to look on the bright side, else they wouldn’t stay in the game, but not one of them has a good word for the Fair Grounds in New Orleans these days. Owners, trainers and railbirds are deserting what was supposed to become the premier winter racetrack when Churchill Downs bought it in 2004, but … Continue reading →

Our Views: A government closed to you

Perhaps the most famous of President Barack Obama’s misleading promises was about health insurance, but he also promised the most open government in history. Turns out, according to a national expert who recently spoke in Louisiana, we haven’t even kept the old level of open government we used to have. Across a broad range of … Continue reading →

Letter: Sen. Mary Landrieu should let coastal erosion lawsuit go

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is just trying to carefully negotiate a political tightrope when she says that lawsuits won’t save the Louisiana coast as she did April 7 before the -->

Letter: Legislation unfairly targets tobacco users

With so many people looking for jobs in this economy, it’s appalling that the Louisiana Legislature would consider a bill that has the potential to put countless hospital employees out of work. Senate Bill 492 would create an exception to an existing anti-discrimination law that would allow hospitals and their affiliates to disqualify a job … Continue reading →

Inside Report: Port Allen reconsiders trash expense

Soon it’s going to cost a little more money to put the trash out in Port Allen. Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere revealed recently at a City Council meeting that the city spends approximately $90,000 annually to subsidize residential trash pickup for 2,003 households within the city limits. And … Continue reading →

Our Views: Flash point on standards

While political rhetoric in the State Capitol swells to a volume that would fill the Norton Anthology of Literature, a prominent Southern Republican pricks the bubble of criticism of Common Core, the new and higher academic standards that Louisiana and most other states are pursuing. “Put simply, Common Core does not allow the federal government to … Continue reading →

Letter: Tax renewal reinforces BREC’s expansion

I would like to thank the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish for supporting our parks with the recent approval of BREC’s tax renewal. As you know, this funding will provide about half of our operating and maintenance budget and all of our construction funding for the next 10 years. I look at this renewal as … Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Bills aim to short-circuit judicial system

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Stephanie Grace

Critics of the lawsuits seeking restitution for the oil and gas industry’s damage to the state’s coast — particularly the suit filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against 97 companies — have focused largely on the message the litigation sends to the state’s most important industry. Gov. Bobby Jindal, apparently … Continue reading →

Our Views: After winter, a rebound

Winter is only gradually loosening its grip on the country, with some wintry days in the Northeast and Midwestern states, and even unseasonably cool days in late March in our region. Yet winter’s grip remains reflected in the economic data, as business activity earlier this year was down in key economic reports. The good news: Old … Continue reading →

Our Views: Second win in geology

Lafayette is at the center of the oil patch, and that reputation is enhanced by a group of students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The UL-Lafayette geology students won an international competition for determining where to drill — and the university is the first school to win the Imperial Barrel Award for a second … Continue reading →

Letter: Nominee sensitive to La. needs

As an LSU graduate and someone with deep Louisiana ties, I care a great deal for the prosperity of the Pelican State. I write to express my support for Ms. Rhea Suh, nominee for assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior. When I served as the assistant secretary for … Continue reading →