Monday, 31 January 2011 20:08

Louisiana Politics And News: Court Strikes Down Health Care Law, Tea Party, BP Claims

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Focus: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, BP oil spill claims, Tea Party and The GOP, and other  Louisiana politcal news


It is becomming the battle of the US courts as a federal judge in Florida has found struck down, as unconstitutional, key parts of the health care reform bill pushed by the Democratic Congress and by President Barack Obama. Louisiana is one of 25 other states which are  challenging sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  One of the major components of the legislation under attack is an "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance in four years or face stiff penalties.

To some political observers, it came as little surprise that the Florida court found the law unconstitutional as it was the state leading the charge in filing litigation.

Experts believe the issue ultimately will be decided by the US Supreme Court as various federal courts have taken different positions on the constitutionality of the federal legislation.


Appeals ruling mixed on La. lawyer ad rules

From (Below)

GALLUP POLL: Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Tell GOP To Heed The 'Tea Party'
by Andrew Malcolm (excerpt)


Remember that Constitution-citing "tea party" rabble that puzzled the media so terribly last year and helped dump so many deaf Democrats from the House of Representatives in November? Turns out, an overwhelming percentage of adult Americans think Republicans should take heed of the upstart movement's positions and concerns as they plot to dump President Obama and even more Democrats come the 2012 election, now just 645 days away.

A new Gallup Poll out this morning finds that 71% of Americans, even many who do not think highly of the "tea party," say it's important that Republicans should take its positions into account. Gallup appears puzzled by its findings: While only 6% of Democrats call themselves "tea party" supporters and only 11% hold a favorable view of it, more than half of Democrats still...

...think it's important the GOP work the movement's views into Republican programs. Perhaps some hope the tea party will help weaken the GOP, despite increasing support for the tea party's fiscal conservatism as deficit fears mount. Among Republicans, not surprisingly, 88% say including the tea party is at least somewhat important, while a majority (53%) say it's very important.

An earlier post-speech Gallup Poll found the president's assertion that the troubled economy is "poised for progress" was rejected by a majority of Americans, who say the economy is actually still worsening. Contrary to the Obama administration's offshore drilling moratoriums, two-thirds of Americans favor a new energy bill to expand domestic exploration and drilling. The president outlined a vast new program to rebuild what he called a "crumbling" infrastructure. Americans oppose more stimulus spending and think reducing the deficit is much more important. Americans oppose giving existing illegal immigrants "a path to legal status" and prefer halting the flow of illegal immigrants before addressing the problems of those already here. And on Obama's proudest achievement, his signature healthcare legislation, only 13% like the idea of keeping it as is. Everyone else favors minor changes, major changes or tossing out the entire thing.

Everybody Loves Reagan (Even Democrats!)
by Ryan L. Cole (excerpt)


The arrival of Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday will be accompanied by a chorus of fond reminiscences and misty-eyed appreciations. In fact, the tributes are already underway. And, they are not just coming from Dutch's ideological descendants. President Barack Obama, writing in USA Today, gushed about the 40th president's fondness for change and compromise.

There was a time when a love letter from a liberal leader to Reagan would be surprising. No longer. Death, the hindsight of history, a sympathetic public, and a handful of dedicated historians and opportunistic politicians have turned this once divisive and controversial leader into a bipartisan reminder of our better angels. This may cause Reaganites to rejoice, but as Gipper-appreciation goes mainstream there is a real risk that his accomplishments, beliefs, and importance will be obscured. And, perhaps worse, appropriated.

The growing consensus on Reagan's greatness, the direct result of the fall of the Soviet Union and the lifting of the national funk brought on by the painful sequence of Vietnam, Watergate, and Jimmy Carter, is warranted.

2010 census results due this week will show Hurricane Katrina impact
by Michelle Krupa - Times-Picayune (excerpt)

For political leaders, demographers and others keeping close tabs on the Hurricane Katrina recovery, this week will finally bring the answer to perhaps the most fundamental question hanging over the New Orleans area since the long slog back from the storm began: How many people actually live here? While experts have tried to pin down the number using a variety of data -- building permits, active U.S. Post Office addresses, birth and death rates, school enrollment, electricity usage and other measures -- the gold standard remains the block-by-block 2010 Census population tallies that are set for release this week. The results finally will provide a definitive picture of how the region has changed since it was virtually emptied by the disaster.

Lawmakers set to discuss security, census numbers, jobs program
by Jeremy Alford - Daily Report (excerpt)

The House Homeland Security Committee meets Tuesday morning to receive a status update on efforts to restrict rear access to the Capitol and to discuss "recent protest rallies held at the Capitol." While it's not slated as a topic on the agenda, it will be the first time the panel has gathered since the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 8. The incident has served as a catalyst for security reviews nationwide. The House committee will also discuss crime in nearby Spanish Town and updates to video surveillance equipment.

On Wednesday, legislative officials are expected to get their hands on the 2010 U.S. census results. The data included will ignite the redistricting debate in earnest. Louisiana has already been notified that it will lose a congressional seat.

The end of the week will be capped off with a meeting of the Senate Committee on Commerce. Officials from the Department of Economic Development are expected to proposed changes to its Quality Jobs program. The initiative offers a cash rebate to employers that create certain types of jobs. Also on Friday, a subcommittee of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee will continue reviewing the state's many boards and commissions for their "efficiency and effectiveness." There are a number of groups up for review this week, including the State Board of Private Investigator Examiners and all of the boards and commissions in the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

Gov. Bobby Jindal to outline higher education agenda
Associated Press (LA)


Aides: Jindal On Course
Associated Press (LA)


Landry On Fox News: Immediately drill domestically amid the Egyptian crisis

Rep Jeff Landry on FOX and Friends talking about the need to immediately drill domestically amid the Egyptian crisis (4:07)



EDITORIAL: Best to keep state revenue expectations low now
Shreveport Times (excerpt)

The decision by the Louisiana Revenue Estimat­ing Conference to keep expectations low regarding state revenue figures was the right move. Even acknowledging some political subtext to deny Gov. Bobby Jindal a little breathing room to avoid more severe cuts, better to have low expectations than face the last-minute budget slashing of last year. Jindal, for instance, is trying to keep higher education cuts below 10 percent after last year's indications the reductions would exceed 30 percent.

The estimating conference is a four-person committee representing both houses of the Legislature, the administration and an economist. Despite improved projections, it was LSU economics professor Jim Richardson who sided with House Speaker Jim Tucker to stand pat on earlier forecasts in the face of a projected $1.6 billion deficit for the 2011-12 budget year. The vote to revise must be unanimous.

Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, who favored a revision, wants another review of revenue in late February or early March — just before the budget is due and well before the Legislature convenes in late April.

Renee Gill Pratt faces feds alone in racketeering trial
by Frank Donze - Times-Picayune (excerpt)

A sprawling federal racketeering indictment that took aim at four members of a formidable New Orleans political dynasty heads to trial today with the most peripheral of the defendants, former City Councilwoman and state Rep. Renee Gill Pratt, facing down the government alone. Prosecutors initially deemed Gill Pratt so tangential to the case that they didn't even indict her. But a lot has changed since charges were first filed more than two-and-a-half years ago in a case that alleges members of then-U.S. Rep. William Jefferson's family looted more than $1 million from sham charities they financed with taxpayer money.

EDITORIAL: Toughen child exploitation laws
The Daily Advertiser (excerpt)

The commercialization of sex sometimes seems to be just another one of those things Louisiana winks at. From Four Corners to Storyville, it's just part of the history. The culture. As we do with organized crime, we tend to joke about it or mythologize it.

Just as with organized crime, by doing so we trivialize the coercive, even violent side of it. But not even the most jaded, amoral person can avoid the truth that when the sex trade involves children. The dark side is the only side there is.

That's why it's good that Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing legislation that would toughen penalties for the sexual exploitation of children, particularly when the crimes involve the Internet. We hope all our lawmakers will agree that the full resources of law enforcement should be brought to bear on this evil. "I want the message to the monsters that prey on our innocent children to be very clear: We will track you down, we will root you out, we will find you online — and when we do we will punish you with every tool we have," Jindal told a meeting of Louisiana sheriffs last week. "We will take away your freedom, your possessions, we will label you as a sex offender and we will do everything we can to keep you away from children."

La.'s unemployment fund ranked among best in nation
by SKIP DESCANT - Advocate (excerpt)

More than half the states in the country are now borrowing money from the federal government so they can keep writing unemployment checks to millions of jobless workers. Louisiana is not one of those states. In fact, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies views Louisiana’s trust fund — the rainy-day stash the state sets aside from taxes on paychecks to pay unemployment benefits — as one of the healthiest in the country, said Richard Hobbie, the association’s executive director.

The U.S. Department of Labor ranks Louisiana’s unemployment trust fund as the third-strongest in the country, said Jay Augustine, deputy director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Those are bragging rights states like California would be happy to boast. That state has borrowed more than $9.8 billion from the federal government to cover its unemployment insurance claims.

Swearing-in event set for Holloway
The Town Talk (excerpt)

Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway will participate in a ceremonial swearing-in at 5 p.m. Monday at Kent House, 3601 Bayou Rapides Road in Alexandria.

Holloway, R-Forest Hill, also will address goals and concerns regarding the PSC.

Holloway, a former congressman, is commissioner of PSC District IV.

Bill would aid slain soldiers' families
Associated Press (LA)


LA Institute of Public Policy & Politics Offers Seminar Series In March

The Louisiana Institute of Public Policy & Politics offers a new seminar series beginning in March.

Topics will include Intergovernmental Relations, the State Budget, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and more.

The classes will be held each Tuesday night in March from 6-9 pm in the Board Room of Business First Bank on Jefferson Highway.

Picture: (Left to Right) Former Governors Buddy Roemer, Mike Foster, Institute Director Pat Bergeron, State Representative Steve Carter at the Institute's Political Campaign School this past fall.

The classes are limited to 50 participants.

For more information email your request to: [email protected]

Bayoubuzz Staff

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