LaPolitics by Maginnis: Trash talking at the Capitol
Loping through the Capitol basement, an ebullient John Kennedy hardly looked like a treasurer who had just been accused of bogus accounting by the governor's office, after he accused the state leader of budgetary scare tactics. "I just want to know, did Jindal call me an ignorant slut today?" he beamed, reprising Dan Aykroyd's running punch line from Saturday Night Live Update. Bemused Democrats stood quietly by this week, trying not to interfere with the state's leading Republicans taking the rhetorical switchblades to each other in the budget fight on the right flank. After Kennedy and Sen. David Vitter praised House Republicans for stripping $268 million in one-time funds from a budget already under stress, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater lashed out at the treasurer's budget-balancing plan as "a magical recipe" with "a list of illusory savings," which "is not responsible or conservative." As for Vitter, Rainwater says he should mind his business in Congress, which has not passed a budget in almost three years. The governor's office and a band of House Republicans shot press releases back and forth over the real-versus-claimed impact on higher education and health care in the current status of the bill. On the House floor Thursday, the intraparty squabble continued as Republican legislators spoke darkly of "exaggerations being told" and threats being made on the capital outlay bill by the governor's camp. The governor's leadership team, combined with unified Democrats, pushed through its vital funds sweep bill in order to make available to the Senate money to restore Republicans' cuts from last week. Yet the legislative week ended with more uncertainty, when Jindal allies, facing a short House and need for a two-thirds majority, pulled back the capital outlay borrowing bill, which might add a new hostage to the budget fight.
—With the Supreme Court vacancy election now set for November, retired Baton Rouge District Attorney Doug Moreau has joined the growing field of declared or interested candidates. "I am seriously thinking about it," the former judge, LSU football star and current radio color commentator for Tiger games tells LaPolitics. With an active campaign season ahead, he said, "The challenge to deal with is trying to get some things in order so I can make a decision" before qualifying in mid-August, though he has set no deadline. Retiring Chief Justice Kitty Kimball officially notified the secretary of state she would retire before the end of the year, which enabled the governor to call the November election to complete her term, which runs through 2018. The race already has started. Court of Appeal Judge John Michael Guidry made his campaign announcement today. Fellow appellate Judge Toni Higginbotham is out campaigning, and appellate Judges Duke Welch and Jeff Hughes say they are running. District Judges Guy Holdridge of Ascension Parish and Bill Morvant of Baton Rouge also are considering jumping in.
They said it: "I'm thinking we'd better change the name from the Hornets to the Bandits." —Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, on a rebate bill for the New Orleans Hornets NBA team
(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)
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