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 →

Louisiana Spotlight: Questions on La. hospital deals linger

A year after Gov. Bobby Jindal started turning over the operations of Louisiana’s university-run hospital system to outside companies, lawmakers are complaining that they have unanswered questions about the deals. Over the past week, state senators have asked why federal officials haven’t signed off on the financing arrangements, what happens if federal approval never comes and how … Continue reading →

In Toon With Walt contest winner for April 14, 2014

Results are in for the latest In Toon With Walt contest. Headline: Common Core was the common theme! I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since this cartoon involved a school-aged kid and a legislator. But with more than half of the contest entries mentioning Common Core this kinda turned into an unscientific survey of the raw … Continue reading →

Political Horizons: Chances of expanding Medicaid slim

Last year, the Louisiana Legislature’s Democrats systematically threw themselves against different parts of the Republican majority’s electric fence — looking, unsuccessfully, for weaknesses in the GOP opposition to the federal Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare. Democrats tried several bills with different variables; they trotted out a variety of parliamentary strategies; they held rallies — everything … Continue reading →

Our Views: Quick checks for colleges

Legislators are right to worry about the looming problems of the state budget, even if lawmakers themselves are highly complicit in the bad fiscal policies that have plagued the state in the past five years. But legislators should not put off funding some urgent programs, including the WISE Fund proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. … Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Hypocrisy on McAllister predictable

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Stephanie Grace

U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister earned himself a prominent spot in the annals of Louisiana scoundrels last week, but before that, he was just a rookie trying to figure out the ways of high-level politics. And while he clearly relished all the attention that came with his unlikely victory over the GOP establishment — not to … Continue reading →

James Gill: McAllister has plenty of company with scandal issue

James Gill

Two of our Republican congressmen have been vying for our attention recently, but Vance McAllister, of Swartz, beat Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, hands down. They started off in tandem, co-authoring a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. McAllister and Cassidy professed themselves alarmed over plans to shut down the American Midstream pipeline, which … Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: These lawsuits are all wet

Advocate columnist Quin Hillyer

Some well-motivated people working for a good cause have filed a lawsuit almost absurd in its contentions, without authority to file such a suit, while hurting, in both political and practical terms, the very cause they intend to advance. These lawsuits should sink into the swamp from which they came. At issue is the dreadful loss … Continue reading →

Our Views: Repeal old sodomy law

Louisiana drew unwelcome national attention when some Baton Rouge men were arrested for violating the state’s anti-sodomy law, even though the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down such laws a decade before. We urge the Legislature to follow the lead of the House Criminal Justice Committee and take the discriminatory laws off the books. In the … Continue reading →

Our Views: Deal still leaves questions

In authorizing West Jefferson Medical Center to negotiate with LCMC Health over a lease agreement that would put Children’s Hospital in charge of the medical center’s operations, the Jefferson Parish Council has addressed some questions about the future of health care in the parish but left other big issues unresolved. That continuing uncertainty underscores the problems … Continue reading →

Letter: Lawsuit fought as erosion persists

With Gov. Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the coastal lawsuit, it has the appearance of him being bought and paid for by the oil and gas industry. So now it’s the legislators’ turn to see how they will appear. But with all of this going on, our coast keeps eroding. When will the state finally do something? … Continue reading →