Government & Politics
Fiscal Hawks, Democrats working to cut one-time revenue from Jindal’s budget — The Lens | Don’t miss this story about unexpected political alliances forming in the Legislature to tackle state budget challenges. Democrats who supported Jindal’s budget last year may find common cause with the conservative Fiscal Hawks faction this time around, and force Gov. Bobby Jindal to balance the budget with recurring revenues rather than one-time money. The unpopular Jindal administration doesn’t seem to have an abundance of friends in the Legislature right now. To what extent will it have to compromise? The Lens political reporter Tyler Bridges lists the key players to watch.
Medicaid expansion set for a vote Wednesday – SFGate | “Nearly a year after Gov. Bobby Jindal declared that Louisiana wouldn’t tap into billions of federal dollars to expand Louisiana’s Medicaid program, lawmakers will take their first vote on whether to challenge his stance.” For his part, Jindal still argues that a Medicaid expansion is the wrong move.
Targeting Banks Too Big to Fail – Barrons.com | Wall Street is nervous about banking reform legislation — sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, R-Ohio — that would force “too big to fail” investment banks to either carry larger cash reserves or break up into smaller entities.
“Based on discussion drafts, the Brown-Vitter bill probably will call for 15% minimum capital for banks with assets of $400 billion or more. There are seven of those [JPMorgan Chase , Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and GE Capital]. The bill is apt to seek 10% minimum capital for the roughly 30 banks with assets between $50 billion and $499 billion. Banks now are required to hold roughly 3%. “
Firm linked to Municipal Court Judge Paul Sens was hired to help oversee construction of temporary Orleans jail — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | More suspiciously cozy links uncovered between Sens’ extended family and contracts for the Orleans Parish Prison:
DRC, the embattled disaster-recovery company that is in the crosshairs of a sprawling federal probe, hired a firm in 2010 with close links to Municipal Court Judge Paul Sens to help it manage the construction of a $9.6 million temporary jail it was building for Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, according to sources familiar with the arrangement. Sens is one of Gusman’s closest friends and the brother of John Sens, the sheriff’s former purchasing director, who has pleaded guilty in a kickback and bid-rigging scheme and is now cooperating with federal authorities. The company DRC tapped for help, Crowley Consulting LLC, was founded in March of that year, just three months before the sheriff’s office hired DRC. Its lone officer is Dan Crowley, a nephew-in-law of Sens’ who doubles as a minute clerk in Sens’ court.
For more background on the Sens and Gusman saga, see this recap of Lens stories.
Are ‘Lockdowns’ the New Standard? – The Atlantic Cities | Overreaction, or new security trend? The implications of the unprecedented (and largely voluntary) lockdown in Boston during the hunt for bombing suspects are worth some reflection. “Each and every U.S. mayor and governor is now asking themselves the same question: If and when this happens in my city or state, is the ‘lock down’ approach now the only politically palatable option?” Also recommended: Atlantic Cities writer Emily Badger’s piece titled “The Psychology of a Citywide Lockdown.”
Corps to divert more of Miss. River to Basin — The Advocate |
“A decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to send more water into the Atchafalaya Basin could be a boon for crawfishermen, and some state officials are hoping it’s a sign the federal agency might be more open to future requests to manage water levels in the massive swamp.”
The Wild Side: Allain’s bill to protect reef funds — Columnists — The Advocate | The Louisiana Artificial Reef Fund was supposed to be constitutionally protected from being raided during lean times. However, that’s just what happened in 2010 and 2011, and the Jindal administration reportedly wants to raid it again this year. State senator Bret Allain, R-Franklin, has filed legislation to protect the fund. This recent NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune story has more background on the fund, which appears to be a rare “win-win” arrangement between big oil, commercial fisherman and recreational anglers.
Backup S&WB turbine blamed for oily sheen over west Carrollton homes; relief may be a year away — Uptown Messenger | For the next year, west Carrollton may have to tolerate supposedly safe gear oil mist emanating from an ancient Sewerage and Water Board turbine.
Louisiana school head pulling student info from nonprofit’s database — The Town Talk | Two days after he gave assurances that a nonprofit database holding student information was secure, Louisiana Department of Education Superintendent John White has decided to withdraw the digital records. “’I’m confused,’ BESE member Lottie Beebe said early Friday after reading an email from White about the change. ‘The other day (he said) it was the best thing since mom’s apple pie!'”
New Orleans students find shortcomings in language services — The Advocate | According to a recent survey of Asian and Latino students, over two-thirds “said they were placed in an [English as a Second Language] class that they did not feel was appropriate for their level of language development.”
New standardized tests feature plugs for commercial products — The Answer Sheet — The Washington Post | Are we teaching kids to be problem-solving citizens, or brand-identifying consumers? “New high-stakes standardized tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards are featuring plugs for commercial products.”
Convention Center officials envision iconic sculpture on former World Trade Center site — The Lens | In case you missed our big story over the weekend, click now to read about redevelopment and expansion plans for the World Trade Center and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in advance of the city’s tricentennial in 2018. Among the proposals: a huge sculpture, a people mover, and a development district.
Food Fight — NOLA DEFENDER | An in-depth recap of the City Council’s deliberations and vote on food truck legislation last week.