Government & Politics
Lawmakers shift construction funding to avoid running afoul of IRS rules on bonds | The Lens – The state has sold bonds for construction projects that, in some cases, have not been built. That could run afoul of IRS rules meant to ensure that governments spend bond money rather than invest it. Lawmakers have shifted about $70 million to construction funding to deal with the problem.
Bobby Jindal, raised Hindu, uses Christian conversion to woo GOP base for 2016 run | The Washington Post – In a speech at Liberty University, Jindal described his conversion to Christianity as a young man, and “presented himself as a willing culture warrior.”
More Medicaid woes on horizon for La. | The Advocate – “In a nutshell, Louisiana did many of the things warned against by CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], possibly foreshadowing another pricey unpinning of the state’s financial structures for health care programs.”
Audio: Louisiana teachers to be judged more based on students’ performance on tests | The Lens – A researcher says Louisiana’s system for measuring teacher effectiveness is one of the best in the country.
TOPS standards revamp legislation fails in La. Senate | The Advocate – A bill to raise eligibility requirements for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students was defeated, but discussions about modifying the increasingly expensive tuition program continue.
School vouchers for poor may help middle-class students | The Florida Times-Union — The potential expansion of Florida’s school voucher program, which operates through tax credits, was hailed by some parents and tuition-charging schools. Critics say the expansion might allow middle-class parents to obtain partial voucher awards. (Via Real Clear Education)
House Bill 953: Walt’s Legerdemain? | PE + CO: Louisiana Education Legislation Update – Education consultant Peter Cook explains his opposition to a provision in a bill proposed by Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, that would delay state accountability standards as Common Core is implemented.
Man walks free after 1979 murder case dismissed | The Advocate – Reginald Adams was released from prison after 34 years, “following a stunning admission of intentional abuse decades ago at the hands of prosecutors.” Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro admitted that former prosecutors hid evidence and police officers lied on the witness stand, in order to wrongfully convict Adams. After his release, Adams said, “It’s all good, just some things that happen, and I just gotta live with it.” Adams also said he looked forward to eating some oysters.
The First Amendment argument against lethal-injection secrecy laws | Columbia Journalism Review – An attorney argues that “the press and public may well have a qualified right of access to information about lethal injection drugs protected by the First Amendment.” Last week The Lens revealed that Louisiana officials didn’t turn over key public records about its lethal-injection drugs.
Sen. Bret Allain = hypocrite | Acadiana Business – State senator Allain, who now opposes the local flood authority’s lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies, filed a similar suit against a pipeline company in 2007. It “centered on the violation of drainage servitudes.”
Offshore Regulators Talk Tough But Are Oil Companies Listening? | Forbes – Energy columnist Loren Steffy:
The biggest question, left unanswered, is what will the regulators do when they identify recidivist safety violators? So far, the regulators have shown little desire to boot companies from the gulf for repeated safety infractions.
Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans as Antarctic Ice Melts | The New York Times – If polar ice sheets collapse, sea levels would rise. More potential trouble for Louisiana’s subsiding coast.
OIL AND GAS: Spills up 18 percent in U.S. in 2013 | E & E Publishing – Reported onshore spills rose “even as the rate of drilling activity leveled off.”
An Analysis of Crosswalk Lights in New Orleans | SIMST.IM – To what extent does city infrastructure change citizen behavior? Data journalist Benjamin Eckel lays out how he collected and analyzed data on crosswalk lights in New Orleans.
Officials Want to Plan Train Route Between NOLA, Orlando | NOLA Defender
The Southern Rail Commission recently submitted an application to the feds for grant money to plan a train route between the Crescent City and the City Beautiful. The Commission is asking for about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to plan the rail line, which would bring back service that has been offline since Hurricane Katrina.