Bill would forbid suspension of students for violating school-uniform rules — The Lens | “The measure is in part a response to criticisms that ‘zero tolerance’ discipline policies do little to keep kids in school; instead, they lubricate a school-to-prison pipeline that can be hard to escape.”
Community college underfunding— MoneyBox — Slate | Blogger Matthew Yglesias shows that over the past decade, per-pupil spending has jumped at higher-end public research universities, despite lower funding from state governments. Community colleges don’t have the same financial resources to weather the cuts, so they have had to reduce staff and programs even while raising tuition.
Community college students have the greatest level of need, but they receive the least resources and they’re increasingly pressed but tend to get overlooked in media accounts of funding arguments that instead focus on exclusive schools with a much more affluent client base.
Louisiana Senate kills Tea Party-backed resolution against Common Core — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Louisiana Tea Party spokesman Bob Reid, who supported the measure, says, “We’re going to have federalized curriculum jammed down, all the way to our children.”
Government & Politics
LSU hospitals privatization cost more than budget — The Advocate | “The total operating expense associated with the privatization of nine LSU hospitals will hit $1 billion during the new fiscal year, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said Thursday. That’s more than is in the current year’s budget — $955 million — for the state to operate the charity hospitals. And more than the $626 million Gov. Bobby Jindal proposed for private companies to operate the public hospitals in the fiscal year that begins July 1.”
Grand jury to look into $200M Medicaid contract awarded by Jindal administration – Associated Press | “The Louisiana attorney general’s office said a special grand jury was selected Thursday to look into possible criminal activity involving a $200 million Medicaid contract awarded by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.”
LA GOP seeing “black helicopters” — forgotston.com | C.B. Forgotston surgically dissects a brouhaha over document requests from the Legislative Auditor. Democrats had no problem with the inquiry, but the state GOP initially called it “an unprecedented government intrusion” and wondered if it was retaliation for opposing a budget legislation from Democrats and the Fiscal Hawks.
American Zombie: “Complaints” — American Zombie | Blogger Jason Berry resumes his investigation into the tangled affair over quasi-public Wisner Fund, which owns land in and around Port Fourchon. He raises new questions about the legal counsel involved in various city claims against BP, and recommends reading this recap of his findings for those who need to get up to speed on the story.
Extremely active hurricane season possible, acting NOAA administrator says — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | This is unsettling news a week before hurricane season begins: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts “13 to 20 named storms, including 7 to 11 hurricanes. Of those, 3 to 6 could be major hurricanes, Category 3 and above, with winds above 111 mph.”
Lake Peigneur bill defeated in Senate — The Advocate
For his initial pitch on legislation aimed at curtailing oil and gas activity at Lake Peigneur, state Sen. Fred Mills turned the Senate chamber into a movie theater. Mills, R-St. Martinville, showed grainy, decades-old news footage of the water draining in a violent whirlpool after a drilling accident in 1980. The images failed to convince the state Senate to embrace Mills’ Senate Bill 200 to stop the expansion of natural gas storage underneath the lake. … He [Mills] asked legislators to side with the lake’s residents instead of the dozen lobbyists hired by the “oil and gas boys.”
For those who have not seen it, here is video of the 1980 drilling disaster in Lake Peigneur.
Congressional hearings look at fracking — The Advocate | In the article, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., says that the growth of the natural gas industry is creating a “manufacturing renaissance” in southern Louisiana related to liquified natural gas exports.
How David Vitter and Frank Lautenberg struck a deal on chemical safety legislation — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The nuts and bolts of the political compromise are interesting, but this is a helpful summary of the details of the bill:
The proposed legislation creates a clear path for getting new chemicals on the market, while protecting trade secrets and intellectual property. It also allows for regulation of chemicals that are now off-limits to regulators — mainly those introduced before 1976 when the Toxic Substances Control Act was enacted.
Under the compromise, all active chemicals in commerce must be evaluated for safety and labeled as either “high” or “low” priority based on the potential risk to human health and the environment. It imposes tighter scrutiny for the higher-risk chemicals.
It mandates that the regulatory process be done with transparency, something Vitter said is missing from many current Environmental Protection Agency regulatory systems.
New Orleans’ murder problem is its crime problem: Jarvis DeBerry — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | DeBerry is understandably skeptical of “our officials who say New Orleans is safe, notwithstanding its status as America’s most murderous city.”
Our Views: Carjacking raises issues — The Advocate | The editorial says the carjacking of Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Frank Marullo renews questions about a revolving-door justice system in New Orleans, considering the alleged perpetrators’ recent arrest record.
Port of New Orleans opposes proposal to tear down Claiborne Avenue elevated expressway | NOLA.com – Port officials claim that tearing it down would would slow trucks hauling freight in the New Orleans area, which means higher costs for cargo operators.
The Case for Caution When It Comes to Building Streetcars – The Atlantic Cities | The article names nine cities that are looking to add new streetcar lines. Atlanta plans to debut a new streetcar line next spring. However, the line stretches 1.3 miles, with pickups every 15 minutes. The question arises: Why not just walk?