Jindal to decide on fee increase for public university students in Louisiana — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “House Bill 671 by Rep. Frank Foil, R-Baton Rouge, would allow the boards of supervisors at the four public college systems to assess all students a $48 per-semester fee for campus maintenance, depending on the number of credit hours a student is carrying.”
LSU Board of Stuporvisors gives away store with improbable blank contract for private operation of four state hospitals — Louisiana Voice | Blogger Tom Aswell is troubled, to say the least, by state contracts that include 50 blank pages, approved by board members who have a history of political donations.
Lawmakers approve bill, opening door for RTA to run ferries – FOX 8 WVUE
A bill that opens the door for the Regional Transit Authority to take over control of the Chalmette and Algiers ferries heads to Governor Jindal’s desk for approval. But the bill doesn’t necessarily mean the ferries are saved. … it’s unclear right now whether the RTA wants to take over the Algiers and Gretna ferries.
Silent stimulus — Library Chronicles | Blogger Jeffrey compares the new Whole Foods store planned on North Broad Street to other stores built in troubled areas. “It’s nice that Whole Foods is exploring ‘pilot program’ stores to bring fresh food to these neighborhoods. But it isn’t the invisible hand of enlightened entrepreneurism that’s guiding them to do that. They’re responding to incentives created by deliberate policy decisions backed with grant funds.”
Federal appeals judge in New Orleans faces judicial complaint over racial bias — The Lens | Civil rights groups filed a complaint that alleges 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones claimed “racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime.” Coverage originated in The Texas Tribune, where a copy of the complaint and supporting affidavits can be viewed.
NOPD cops overbilled city vendor $9,000 in traffic camera detail, but prosecutors won’t press charges — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayne | “Nine New Orleans police officers who worked off-duty details reviewing traffic-camera tickets in the fall of 2010 billed a city contractor $9,000 for work they did not do, according to records recently released by the New Orleans inspector general.”
Voices on Violence: A pastor stresses community — NolaVie | St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Don Frampton (my pastor when I lived in Uptown) talks about acclimating to crime risk in New Orleans, without succumbing to a fatalistic acceptance that things are unchangeable.
Government & Politics
State budget still in flux — The Advocate | Funding for schools and the use of one-time money continue to divide the Louisiana House and Senate.
Landrieu threatens to block GOP amendments unless she gets flood insurance vote — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “[U.S.] Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, threatened to block Republican amendments unless she gets a vote on her proposal to delay the increases. Landrieu’s amendment to a pending farm bill would delay flood insurance premium increases until a required affordability study is completed.”
Capitol Views: Hawks and Democrats double up on compromise panel — Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
The Legislature moved into uncharted territory this morning when the House appointed six members to the conference committee on the budget, twice as many as anyone can remember being named from either chamber to work out differences on any bill. Any agreement has to be approved by two-thirds of conferees from both chambers, so the House gains no advantage over the Senate. The difference, however, is that the move shifts the negotiating power on the House side to the alliance of the Republican faction of the so-called fiscal hawks and unified Democrats at the expense of the House leadership—who are closer on budget issues to the Senate and the governor.
Rising sea levels, stronger storms fueled by climate change will threaten us through end of century, coastal panelists say — NOLA.com/The Times/Picayune | “Coastal resiliency” was the key word at a conference in D.C. on ocean matters, though one wonders if there is enough “budget resiliency” to handle the costs of more frequent disasters, which are projected to soar into the trillions.
Coastal restoration urged with BP money — Pensacola News Journal | Escambia County sustained the most oil-spill damage in Florida, and the community met to discuss a local plan for how the Pensacola Bay area will spend its share of BP recovery money.
While many praised the report’s scope, others warned that it may not go far enough to restore an environmentally degraded coast. This includes Pensacola Bay, which has seen a 90 percent loss of sea grass since the 1960s and poor water quality tied to industrial pollution, stormwater runoff and inadequate sewage treatment.
(Via Restore the Mississippi River Delta)