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King's Options
After The Times-Picayune's July 4 editorial calling for his disbarment from the practice of law, former Civil Court Judge C. Hunter King may not be thinking much about politics. But, as of April 23, King still had $25,474 in his campaign finance account. He has been warned to be careful how he spends it. In 2006, the Louisiana Ethics Commission fined King $5,000 for misappropriating campaign funds and ordered him to reimburse the account. Kathleen Allen, deputy general counsel of the ethics board, says state law requires that King's campaign funds be spent on political campaign activity, returned to his contributors or donated to charity. Although barred from office for now, King can still try to be a kingmaker by using the cash in his campaign account to support or oppose other candidates and propositions in the fall elections. Or, he can save his political money for a future candidacy of his own. Suspended from the bench since 2003, King last month pleaded guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit payroll fraud. He does not have to serve time in prison because he received a six-month suspended sentence. Even though his felony conviction can be expunged, King is still barred by the Louisiana Supreme Court from seeking election to judicial office until Oct. 21, 2008 -- after the next round of judicial elections. After winning re-election to the bench in 2002, King admitted pressuring court employees into selling campaign fundraising tickets and then lying about his misconduct to investigators for more than a year. -- Johnson



Mary, Mary Not Contrary
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu raised an impressive $1.2 million for her 2008 re-election campaign during the second quarter of this year alone. That brings her campaign's estimated cash on hand to more than $2.7 million. "This total exceeds even the goals we had set internally," says Ron Faucheux, Landrieu's chief campaign strategist. "We will continue to accelerate the pace as the election draws near." Not surprisingly, Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger F. Villere isn't impressed. "It's hard to ignore the truth," he says. "Sen. Mary Landrieu has been busy soliciting money from far-Left interest groups while claiming that she is fighting for Louisiana. How can we expect her to do her job and represent our state when she spends so much time pandering to her out-of-state contributors?" Villere cites a laundry list of policy decisions Landrieu allegedly made on behalf of New York recently, including a $150,000 appropriation for the Robert H. Clampitt Foundation in the Big Apple. Villere claims that Landrieu has received $391,545 from residents of New York from 1995 to 2007. Landrieu responded that the national program she helped will spend that money in Louisiana and will help Louisiana children learn critical skills. "[They] appear to have conducted little or no research into the actual program," Landrieu says of the GOP attack. "They tried to make it look like I had secured funding for a program in New York when, in fact, it is for a program in Louisiana. Their partisan attack is both misleading and quite pathetic, really." -- Alford



Term Limits Hit Jefferson
The clock is ticking on the term-limited Louisiana Legislature. Few areas of the state may feel the impact more than Jefferson Parish. Of the 19 lawmakers representing Jefferson, 12 are being forced out by term limits, which kick in for the first time this year. "They're losing a huge amount of experience," says Loyola University pollster Ed Renwick. "It will be interesting to see how much clout the Jefferson Parish delegation has in the new Legislature. I think Jefferson will miss the influence of the people who aren't coming back." In the House, eight veteran lawmakers are vacating seats that will be filled in the fall elections. They are Shirley Bowler, R-Harahan; Daniel Martiny, R-Metairie; Charles Lancaster, R-Metairie; Steve Scalise, R-Harahan; John Alario, D-Westwego; N.J. Damico, D-Marrero; Joe Toomy, R-Gretna; and Glenn Ansardi, D-Kenner. In the Senate, four incumbents must surrender their seats at the end of this year: Francis Heitmeier, D-Algiers; Ken Hollis, R-Metairie; Art Lentini, R-Metairie; and Chris Ullo, D-Harvey. Three state representatives from Jefferson -- Alario, Martiny and Scalise -- are expected to run for state Senate seats. The constitutional provision on term limits allows lawmakers to serve three consecutive four-year terms in one chamber and then 12 years in the other chamber. Legislators can switch back and forth between the House and Senate without limitation. -- Johnson



Swallowing a 'Vitter' Pill
Seven Jefferson Parish legislators are not term-limited this year but may face re-election challenges this fall. In the House, they are Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown; Ernest Wooton, R-Belle Chasse; John Labruzzo, R-Metairie; Terrell Harris, D-Marrero; and Loulan D. Pitre Jr. , R-Cutoff. In the Senate, Julie Quinn, R-Metairie and Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, are seeking re-election and are expected to face stiff competition. Even if term-limited Reps. John Alario, Danny Martiny and Steve Scalise all win the respective Senate seats in the fall, Jefferson Parish will lose some experienced lawmakers to term limits. Ironically, the successful 1995 campaign to impose term limits on Louisiana legislators was led by then-state Rep. David Vitter, R-Metairie. Vitter was elected congress in 1999 and to the United States Senate in 2004 -- where he faces no term limits. -- Johnson



Baggy Pants Law Update
When it comes to cracking down on sagging pants, you could say that Iberia Parish is more than holding up its flank. Delcambre, a small Cajun community just west of New Iberia, passed an ordinance last month making it a crime to wear pants that show off your skivvies. Now a Lafourche Parish councilman, Lindel Toups, plans to introduce his own ordinance in Thibodaux this week, citing the "progress" in Delcambre. Toups' proposal has a litmus test for low-riders: if your trousers fall after a cop tells you to raise your hands, you are busted. Both towns seek to impose fines of up to $100 as well as 16 hours of community service for those convicted of violating the ordinances. State lawmakers balked at the idea two years ago when Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, proposed a droopy-pants ban. Toups says he hopes local governments around the state will be proactive on the saggy-pants front and follow the example of Delcambre -- and possibly Lafourche. "Somebody had to take the reins and run with it," Toups recently told the Thibodaux Daily Comet. "I'm hoping it will run all over the state." -- Alford



Missing Peppi Already
By most accounts, Republican legislators came up on the short end of the recently concluded legislative session. The early loss of state Rep. Peppi Bruneau, R-New Orleans, a key GOP leader in the House, may have been one reason why Republicans fared so poorly. "Republicans were less disciplined without Peppi," one lobbyist told Gambit Weekly. "Under Bruneau, Republicans always got their bills filed first (and) heard first." Not this time. Facing his last year in the legislature under term limits, Bruneau, who was first elected in 1975, announced his resignation in January, saying he wanted to leave public office on his own terms. He backed his son Jeb Bruneau in a special election for his House seat, but the younger Bruneau lost to fellow Republican Nick Lorusso in a March 31 runoff. -- Johnson


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