During the annual legislative session that ended Thursday, the Fiscal Hawks emerged as a powerful group – powerful enough to force [Gov. Bobby] Jindal and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, to back down and accept key changes in how the state will spend its money next year and years to come. Those changes, the Fiscal Hawks say, will produce more honest budgets and lessen the likelihood that the state will continue having to make debilitating spending cuts midway through the fiscal year, something that has happened during each of Jindal’s five years in office.
Taking aim at years of violence, rapes, suicides and poor conditions at Orleans Parish Prison, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk on Thursday approved a federal consent decree mandating sweeping changes at the jail complex to bring it up to constitutional standards. …
By coincidence, New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux on Thursday issued a report saying that his investigation of the prison shows the city has been adequately funding its operations and problems there cannot be blamed on a lack of money, as Sheriff Marlin Gusman has claimed.
Public school teachers will see pay raises of about $500 under a budget compromise that won final approval less than an hour before adjournment Thursday, officials said. The salary increase would stem from a surprising boost of $69 million in state aid to public schools, which was a key part of the late-session agreement on Louisiana’s $25.4 billion operating budget.
As the city has concentrated on blight hearings, other code violations — such as illegal short-term rentals, excessive front-yard paving and unpermitted construction — have gotten short shrift, with hearings slowing from a trickle to a standstill.