Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries — NOAA Fisheries | Good news: Overfishing is on the decline and fishing stocks are being replenished. “These results show the clear benefit of science-based management in U.S. fisheries.”
The government is spending way more on disaster relief than anybody thought — Wonkblog | A recent study shows that disaster expenses are putting increasing strain on the federal purse. “The most striking part of the report? No one in the government even knew the full amount that Congress had been spending on disaster relief — not the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nor the Office of Management and Budget.”
Florida lawmakers wrap up work on Everglades bill — Associated Press
Florida lawmakers completed work Thursday on a new plan to help pay for Everglades restoration, drawing praise from environmental activists and the sugar industry after years of squabbling over ways to protect the famed River of Grass.
Government & Politics
House speaker changes course on budget negotiation — American Press
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley reversed course Thursday and threw his support to bipartisan budget negotiations in the House between Democratic leaders and a group of conservative Republicans. Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, had been supporting a plan that involved simply maneuvering the budget through the House and working with the Senate on a final budget that includes patchwork financing sought by Gov. Bobby Jindal but that is opposed by a bloc of conservative GOP House members. That approach ran into widespread opposition from House lawmakers, who say they should have a hand in crafting the more than $24 billion budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Seventy-one members of the House earlier this week used a procedural move to stall Kleckley’s approach.
For background, read this Lens story on Kleckley’s recent assertions of independence from the Jindal administration.
La. House panel rejects red-light camera bill — The Advocate | A bill to ban traffic cameras that haven’t been approved in local elections failed to get out of committee. Recently, the Plaquemines Parish Council deferred a decision on a traffic camera system manufactured by Redflex, which is under increased scrutiny after being implicated in one of the biggest bribery scandals in Chicago history. (My strong belief is that most localities would reject any traffic camera ballot measure.)
Gun arrests made on parade routes result in no convictions — WWLTV.com | A poorly-designed law prohibiting the possession or use of guns during parades has never been used to prosecute a case.
A Libertarian Case for Resurrecting the Manchin-Toomey Compromise – The New York Times | An opinion piece on the merits of gun control legislation, which recently lost a key vote in the U.S. Senate. The op-ed writer argues: “Gun-rights advocates should use this interval to refine their priorities and support this measure, with a few modest changes. If they don’t, they will be opening themselves to accusations from President Obama and others that they are merely obstructionists, zealots who will not agree to common-sense gun legislation.” A new poll shows that 71 percent of Louisiana voters support background checks; Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu supported the legislation; Republican Sen. David Vitter opposed it.
Stacy Head Issues Stripped-Down Food Truck Ordinance After Veto — NOLA DEFENDER | After Mayor Mitch Landrieu vetoed a food truck ordinance crafted by Councilwoman Stacy Head, she will offer a scaled-down legislation as a compromise. “The latest draft contains only an increase in the number of permits available for mobile vendors, leaving aside other reforms.”
How to Manage Smart Decline: Should We Demolish Vacant Buildings? — Land Use Prof Blog | Buffalo is abandoning “smart growth” for “smart decline.” Is that realistic or defeatist? Law school professor Jessica Owley writes: “Instead of thinking we’re going to suddenly grow Buffalo, let’s think about how we can grow smaller gracefully. Smart decline policies include things like land banks, urban farming, and green infrastructures.”
As New Orleans nears 90 percent of its pre-Katrina population, one wonders what would have happened if the Crescent City had embraced “smart decline” after the flood. As a counterpoint to Owley’s post, see this recent Atlantic Cities article: “16 Rules for ‘Smarter’ Smart Growth.”
School districts move forward with merit pay plans despite constitutional challenge — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
School districts statewide are moving forward with plans to tie teacher salary bonuses to the results of proposed new evaluations despite a constitutional challenge to the law that mandates both those evaluations and the bonus system itself.
Mays projects pool of red ink as it folds; records forwarded to families, new teachers — The Lens | Soaring transportation costs contribute to a projected $270,000 deficit as Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School prepares for closure.
BESE President Chas Roemer Knows Nothing — deutsch29— Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog | In a post that criticizes Roemer and state schools Superintendent John White, Schneider reveals that she helped compile a statistical analysis that questions the calibration of state school performance scores, which math teacher Herb Grayson referred to in recent testimony before the Legislature.