Louisiana

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cassidy and Kennedy join Senate in vote to debate repeal of ACA

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 5:25 PM

Demonstrators marched against cuts to the Affordable Care Act in New Orleans earlier this year. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • Demonstrators marched against cuts to the Affordable Care Act in New Orleans earlier this year.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie vote in the U.S. Senate July 25 to begin debate over some form of repeal of the Affordable Care Act, though senators still haven't revealed which version it will ultimately consider. Senators will debate this week and consider a long list of amendments, following a byzantine drafting process that has kept voters in the dark.

Also voting "yes" were Louisiana Sens. John Neely Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, who until today had not publicly committed to a position on any repeal or replace measure, other than his proposed version with Sen. Lindsey Graham. Cassidy — who called today's vote a "first step" — applauded the move in a statement sent after today's Senate vote.

“Nothing changes until the first step is taken," he said in a statement. "There will be many others. But we must replace Obamacare with something which fulfils President Trump’s campaign pledges to maintain coverage, protect those with preexisting conditions, and lower premiums without mandates. Power needs to be returned to the patients and states."

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Y@ Speak: It rained?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Wasn't just me? It rained, right? I didn't just imagine my neighbor sailing to the bar for "provisions"? Cool.

Also this week: Health care, Atlanta Falcons pettiness and no Tales zones.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Editorial: Once again, demagogues taking pot shots at New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 4:01 PM

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U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy was in New Orleans this week — not for a town hall or public constituents’ meeting, which he has yet to hold in the state’s largest city since he took office six months ago. No, he was here to talk with WWL-TV about the city’s crime problem, which he once again said could turn New Orleans into “the next Detroit.”

Kennedy previously used the “Detroit” slur in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of FBI Director Christopher Wray. In that hearing, Kennedy also claimed hyperbolically that the Crescent City was becoming “the murder and armed robbery capital of the Western Hemisphere.”

Since Kennedy has been scarce around these parts after moving to Washington D.C., we thought we’d remind him of a few things.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Louisiana Budget Project hosting health care town halls

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Demonstrators at a March event to support the Affordable Care Act. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • Demonstrators at a March event to support the Affordable Care Act.

With few (if any) public appearances and community meetings held by Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, public policy and fiscal analysis group the Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) will host a series of informational town halls to discuss and answer questions about the U.S. Senate's proposed health bill.

The LBP will host two town halls in the New Orleans area — one in New Orleans East this Thursday, July 13, and another in Metairie at the Jefferson Parish Library on W. Napoleon Avenue on July 18.
The Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act is estimated to cut Medicaid — which has signed on more than 436,000 people in Louisiana since its expansion in 2016 — by more than $770 billion by 2026. Gov. John Bel Edwards estimates the bill would force the state to increase costs to keep the expanded Medicaid program up to $250 million a year by 2022, or "end expansion outright," ending care plans for the anticipated 540,000 Louisianans insured through Medicaid by 2020.

The number of uninsured people in the U.S. will likely climb to 22 million.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Landrieu adopts plan to combat effects of climate change in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 1:30 PM

A March for Science in New Orleans on April 22 brought attention to climate change and other environmental and health issues. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • A March for Science in New Orleans on April 22 brought attention to climate change and other environmental and health issues.

New Orleans will aim to reduce emissions by 50 percent in 2030, as Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials commit to the international agreement on climate change from which President Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S.

After declaring the dramatic effects of climate change on south Louisiana an "existential threat" facing New Orleans, Landrieu unveiled an ambitious "Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans," which proposes 11 strategies and 25 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide. He also signed an executive order committing to the goals as guided by the action plan.

"Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation and world,” Landrieu said in a statement. “In New Orleans, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion and sea level rise. If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will be forced to retreat. This strategy will help us transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth.”

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Three people arrested during demonstration at Sen. Bill Cassidy office

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 2:55 PM

Three people were arrested outside U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office during a sit-in urging Cassidy to vote against the Senate's health bill. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Three people were arrested outside U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office during a sit-in urging Cassidy to vote against the Senate's health bill.

As part of a national demonstration urging Senators to vote against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, three people were arrested July 6 while inside the Causeway Boulevard building that houses U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's Metairie office.

Roughly 20 demonstrators demanding Cassidy vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act joined a nationwide "sit-in" at Senate offices across the U.S., a multi-pronged effort coordinated by Democratic Socialists of America chapters as well as Democracy Spring, Our Revolution, #AllOfUs, Progressive Democrats of America, Ultraviolet, The People's Consortium, ResistHere.org and The Working Families Party. The national Sit-In to #StopTrumpcare also calls for single-payer health care through a Medicare For All platform.

The organizations also called for Senators to protect Medicaid, which likely faces a chopping block if the bill passes. More than 436,000 people in Louisiana have qualified for Medicaid coverage following the state's 2016 expansion of the health program.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Louisiana Sec. of State won't comply with voter info request

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
  • Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
Louisiana joins a growing number of officials across the U.S. refusing to submit detailed voter information to a commission assembled by President Donald Trump.

In a letter from a presidential commission on "election integrity" sent to secretaries of state last week, commission vice-chair Kris Kobach asked states to submit a list of all voter names, addresses, party affiliations, dates of birth, the last four digits of social security numbers, and voting history. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office said staff and attorneys were reviewing the request. Today, Schedler said he doesn't intend to release that information.

"He bases his decision on a long-standing, consistent belief that voter’s private information including social security number, mother’s maiden name and date of birth should be vigorously protected by states," according to a statement from Schedler's office.

“The President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release,” Schedler said in a statement to Gambit. “My response to the Commission is, you're not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office. That’s it.”

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Commentary: Truly honoring our veterans

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 5:10 PM

Ret. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a former U.S. Senate candidate, announced a run for a seat in the state House of Representatives.
  • Ret. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a former U.S. Senate candidate, announced a run for a seat in the state House of Representatives.

Imagine a scenario in which a candidate for U.S. Senate urges people to boycott the largest city in his or her state. That’s what retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who twice lost races for the Senate, did last week by suggesting in a radio interview that American veterans avoid New Orleans in response to the removal of four Confederate-
era statues.

Speaking on the syndicated Lars Larson Show, Maness said veterans should stay away from New Orleans, including those set to attend the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) 118th annual convention here next month. He suggested Kenner would be a better place for them to meet. When Larson mentioned that he and his wife wanted to visit the National World War II Museum in downtown New Orleans, Maness told him, “You can go visit that — but don’t give the hotel taxes and the convention taxes and all that stuff to the city of New Orleans.”

Maness has been an outspoken critic of the monuments’ removal, going so far as to say Mayor Mitch Landrieu “has created his own ISIS.” (Yes, really.) On his WGSO-AM radio show last week (which is broadcast from New Orleans), Maness denied using the word “boycott” and called Gambit’s report on it “fake news.” He then repeated his call for the VFW to move its convention to Kenner. “They [New Orleans] don’t deserve those tax dollars,” Maness said. Sounds like a boycott to us.

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Louisiana Sec. of State reviewing voter data request from Trump administration

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 1:05 PM

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A presidential commission purporting to investigate voter fraud sent letters this week to all secretaries of state asking for a detailed list of voter information. As Gambit reported yesterday, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office received the letter June 28, and the office's staff and attorneys were beginning to review the letter and its demands. In a follow-up statement sent June 30, Press Secretary Meg Casper Sunstrom said the office will review the letter to determine the office's response.

"We have received the letter and are reviewing with staff and our attorneys to determine our response," Sunstrom said in email to Gambit June 30. "Our priority, as we've demonstrated in the past, will always be to protect voter's protected, personal information. This includes social security numbers, mother's maiden name and date of birth. As you know, voter lists are publicly available but only include limited information including voter history. Voter history is NOT how a voter cast their ballot, it's whether they participated."

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trump commission asking for state voter information, Louisiana still reviewing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 6:10 PM

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Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office received a letter June 28 from President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asking for voter names, addresses, party affiliation, dates of birth, the last four digits of social security numbers, and voter history since 2006. The letter from commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach was sent to all 50 states to identify policies that “enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal election processes.” The information will be made publicly available.

Meg Casper Sunstrom, Press Secretary for Louisiana's Secretary of State, told Gambit June 29 that the office had not yet reviewed the letter with staff and attorneys.

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