Roemer ‘not in love with politics’

Chas Roemer, 44, is no stranger to politics.

“I’ve been around politics all my life, literally all my life,” he said.

He has been on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for seven years and president for the past two.

His grandfather Charles served as commissioner of administration.

His father, Buddy, spent a term as governor and served in Congress.

Chas Roemer said he remembers walking onto the floor of Congress as a child and sitting with then-U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who explained what was going on.

And the upshot?

“I am not in love with politics,” Roemer said.

Jindal share stories about his faith

Gov. Bobby Jindal shared with a crowd of Christian conservatives in Iowa anecdotes about his faith, including that, as a teen, he would tell his parents he was going to parties so he could sneak away to church, The Des Moines Register reports.

The Iowa Renewal Project’s “Pastors Policy Briefing” was closed to the media, but The Register reports it was given full access.

In addition to talking about Christianity, Jindal, who is considering a run or the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, took some jabs at President Barack Obama.

His speech followed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another potential presidential contender.

The Register reports both men received standing ovations, but more than a dozen attendees surveyed said Huckabee’s speech was better.

“Oh, nobody compares to Mike Huckabee,” audience member Jamie Johnson told The Register. “Huckabee’s likability is through the roof.”

Jindal has shared similar stories about his faith recently in several interviews, including with the Christian Broadcasting Network last weekend.

Group to scope out Common Core options

State Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, and five other state lawmakers plan to travel to Oklahoma City on Aug. 22 to see how that state is replacing Common Core.

The Oklahoma Legislature voted earlier this year to scrap the standards.

“We look forward to learning more about how Oklahoma and other states are working to replace Common Core with better solutions, developed at the state level,” Geymann said in a prepared statement.

Efforts this year by Geymann and others to shelve Common Core and the tests aligned with it failed in the Louisiana Legislature.

Lawsuits for and against the standards are pending in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

Others who plan to make the trip are state Reps. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville, Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville and J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs.

State Police board meeting lawyer

The State Police Retirement System Board of Trustees scheduled a Sept. 4 meeting to hear from the lawyer who is investigating the situation that enhanced the pension of the head of the State Police.

Irwin Felps, the board’s executive director, said the investigation into the circumstances and law surrounding the last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 294, which was signed into law as Act 859, is nearing completion.

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson has said he would not accept the enhanced pension benefits granted as a result of the last-minute law change. But the law that described a situation matching Edmonson’s was passed and the state may be legally required to pay benefits regardless of his wishes.

“Some members of the board have expressed concerns about the propriety of Act 859, and we have an obligation to make certain that we have the best information available for the board’s consideration so they can determine the most appropriate course of action,” Chairman Frank Besson said in a prepared statement.

The Edmonson retirement provision was added to an unrelated bill on June 2, the last day of the legislative session. No hearings had been held on the provision that affected only Edmonson and one other veteran trooper.

State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, has issued a statement saying he sponsored the change at the request of Edmonson’s staff.

Landrieu’s spending gets attention

For the second time in less than a week, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has been singled out for her spendy ways when it comes to drawing taxpayer dollars from her official office expense account.

The more recent citation came Tuesday from the Sunlight Foundation in a blog post touting its work to format the expense data in a more readily accessible form.

To illustrate its efforts, the foundation — a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that promotes open government — mentioned that Landrieu shelled out $14,727.77 for a staff retreat at a hotel in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2012.

On Thursday, an article in USA Today about senators tapping the accounts for charter flights included Landrieu’s tab of $47,000 in 2013.

In response to the USA Today article, a Landrieu spokesman said the charters maximize the time Landrieu can spend meeting with constituents in a state without direct intercity commercial air service.

He said the charter payments represented 1.6 percent of the 2013 allocation for the account, which would set that total at about $2.9 million.

Senators receive allocations from the federal government for the accounts, varying in size depending on the population of a senator’s home state and its distance from Washington.

Senators have considerable discretion in deciding what to spend the money on. Most of Landrieu’s expenses in the most recent six-month reporting period went for her office staff, including salaries, transportation costs and per diem payments.

Texas city names day for Edwin Edwards

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards spent his 87th birthday in Austin, where the Texas city honored him Thursday with “Governor Edwards Day.”

“Edwards reorganized state government and, as an outspoken civil rights leader, appointed more minorities and women to high governmental positions than had any governor in Louisiana history,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell read from the official proclamation.

Edwards responded, according to media reports: “I am humbled to be recognized in this fashion by our neighbors to the west.” A crowd of former Louisiana residents and elected officials from the Texas attended the event.

Edwards, who was Louisiana’s governor for 16 years, also spent nine years in federal prison, two of which were in Fort Worth, on 17 counts including racketeering and wire fraud. He was released in 2011.

He is running as a Democrat for the 6th District seat in the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 4 election.

Leffingwell told The American-Statesman, Austin’s daily newspaper, that he was aware of Edwards’ past, but Thursday was the former governor’s birthday and it made sense to honor him during his trip to the Texas capital city.

“I was impressed with somebody older than me is still in politics,” Leffingwell told the newspaper.

700 Club spotlights Jindal interview

The 700 Club aired a segment on Gov. Bobby Jindal that was introduced by host Pat Robertson gushing over Jindal.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had a president who is a former Hindu from India?” Robertson, a former presidential candidate himself, said on the show, which can be viewed on the 700 Club’s Web archive. “He’s a sharp guy.”

Jindal, the son of immigrants who legally came to the U.S. from India in the 1970s, was born in Baton Rouge and has always been a U.S. citizen. While his parents were Hindu, Jindal converted to Christianity as a teen and ultimately joined the Catholic Church in college.

“He shot into the national spotlight as governor and now the light on Bobby Jindal is even brighter as he considers a possible run for the big one — the White House,” Robertson said leading up to a Christian Broadcasting Network interview with Louisiana’s term-limited Republican governor.

Compiled by the Capitol news bureau. For up-to-the-minute news about the Louisiana Legislature, state and federal government go to http://theadvocate.com/news/politics/ and on Twitter @AdvocateCNB.