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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Bid to outlaw employer discrimination against gays, others, fails

Despite a passionate appeal from its sponsor, the Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would ban employers from discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgender people. The vote was 8-25. No senator rose to oppose the measure, and most of the brief discussion was limited to state Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, urging colleagues to approve… Continue reading →

Bid to curb trafficking of human remains nears final passage

An effort aimed at curbing the trafficking of human remains is steps from final legislative passage. Sen. Neil Riser, a Columbia Republican, says his Senate Bill 179 would outline who has the right to possess human remains and under what circumstances. He said the state justice department has seized about 100 human skulls and other remains over… Continue reading →

Surrogacy contract bill to go to Louisiana governor

The Louisiana House gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would enforce contracts between parents and the surrogate mothers carrying their children. House Bill 1102 goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who needs to endorse the legislation for it to become law, will sign the measure, Richard Carbo, his communications director, said shortly after… Continue reading →

Ban on abortions for genetic abnormality nears final passage

An effort to ban abortions performed in cases where the fetus is determined to have a genetic abnormality is steps from final passage. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee delayed a vote last week to try to devise compromise language, in response to concerns the proposal runs afoul of court decisions upholding a woman’s right to an… Continue reading →

PETA: Displaying live tiger mascot 'like championship trophy' cruel; LSU should end practice

Advocate 2013 file photo  LSU mascot Mike the Tiger sun bathes in his habitat on Thursday on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge

A day after LSU announced Mike the Tiger has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, an animal advocacy group called on the university to make this tiger the university’s last live mascot kept in captivity on the campus. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged LSU to end the tradition of keeping a live tiger… Continue reading →

Three bills regulating drones advance in Louisiana legislative committees

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Louisiana Sen. Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan, said he was concerned that a drone bill that criminalized using an unmanned aircraft voyeuristically was unnecessary since it's already against the law to secretly take and distribute sordid images. Baton Rouge Republican Sen. Dan Claitor, right, has legislation adding drones to criminal trespass laws, agreed with Perry's analysis. The Senate Judiciary C committee nevertheless approved House Bill 635, sending the legislation to the full Senate along with House Bill 19, which forbids using drones to take photos of various types of facilities, such as prisons. Claitor's Senate Bill 141 also advanced Tuesday and next faces a vote before the full House.

Legislators in different committees advanced three bills Tuesday that would regulate the growing use of unmanned aircraft — called drones — in Louisiana. The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice advanced Senate Bill 141, which would add hovering over someone else’s property to criminal trespass statutes, on a vote of 6-3. SB141, by… Continue reading →

Louisiana House committee unexpectedly rejects controversial license plate reader bill

Legislation already approved by the Louisiana Senate and one House panel that would authorize a private company to catch uninsured motorists — in exchange for a generous fee — unexpectedly met rejection Tuesday before another House committee and likely is dead for the session. Senate Bill 54 sought to allow the company to install… Continue reading →

Louisiana Senate panel rejects bill to punish “sanctuary cities”

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand reviews an amendment Tuesday to legislation that would punish "sanctuary cities" in Louisiana. A Senate committee rejected the measure.

Legislation that aimed to punish cities in Louisiana that adopt policies favorable to migrants who here illegally stalled in a Senate committee on Tuesday after coming under fire from law enforcement, New Orleans city leaders and even a Catholic nun. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand called House Bill 1148 “bulls---” and accused lawmakers of political… Continue reading →

Louisiana Senate committee kills Pastor Protection Act intended to safeguard clergy who deny gay marriages

Advocate Photo by REBEKAH ALLEN -- A group of religious leaders meet in a hall of the State Capitol after "pastor protection" legislation failed in a Louisiana Senate committee.

The so-called Pastor Protection Act, legislation aimed at shielding religious leaders from legal retribution for denying gay marriages, died in the Legislature on Tuesday after a Senate committee voted it down. But opponents of the measure say the failure of the bill in no way means that clergy members will now be forced to officiate same-sex… Continue reading →

State lawmakers agree: Abortions should negate Medicaid financing for Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood should lose its Medicaid financing if the organization starts performing abortions in Louisiana, state lawmakers have agreed. The Senate gave final passage to the proposal Monday with a 33-2 vote, sending it to Gov. John Bel Edwards. The Democratic governor was pushing the bill as part of his legislative agenda and is expected to sign… Continue reading →

Bill to require pet store record-keeping nears final passage

People buying dogs and cats in Louisiana pet stores often don’t know where the animals were bred. A state senator is attempting to change that, with a bill nearing final passage to require pet store record-keeping. Senate Bill 337 from Sen. Danny Martiny, a Kenner Republican, would require stores to post breeders’ names and addresses, as… Continue reading →

New Orleans firefighters deal in Legislature stumbles on whether benefit is grandfathered

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD  City officials and union leaders regroup after a hiccup Monday in legislation aimed at resolving four-decade-old disagreement between the City of New Orleans and its firefighters. From left to right is New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Chief Timothy McConnell; Nicholas Felton, New Orleans Fire Fighters Local 632; Suchitra J. Satpathi, executive counsel and director of state relations for the City of New Orleans; State Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans; and Louis Reine, president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO.

The détente between the city of New Orleans and its firefighters started teetering during a Louisiana Senate committee hearing Monday over what a clause in the deal actually means. Three of the four bills in the legislative package that tweaks firefighters’ retirement benefits marched through the Senate Retirement Committee with little discussion and no opposition. The… Continue reading →

Supporters of ‘sanctuary cities’ bill say they will amend to ease concerns

Attorney General Jeff Landry

A bill that would punish cities that adopt policies favorable to illegal immigrants is expected to be tweaked to address concerns over the attorney general’s authority in determining which places in Louisiana should be labeled “sanctuary cities” and what happens to cities if they are found in violation. Attorney General Jeff Landry gave a preview of the… Continue reading →

LSU's Mike the Tiger faces 'very serious, complex and life threatening condition' with cancer diagnosis, will receive first-of-its-kind care

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- A well wisher left a plush toy with the message "Get Well Soon, Mike !". LSUÕs live tiger mascot, Mike VI, has been diagnosed with a spindle cell sarcoma, a type of cancer. Currently, MikeÕs attitude and demeanor are unchanged, and he does not appear to be in pain as he stretches while getting out of his habitat pool Monday morning May 23, 2016.

LSU’s beloved live mascot, Mike the Tiger, has been diagnosed with a rare, inoperable and terminal form of cancer. But his medical team estimates the 11-year-old, 420-pound big cat could live comfortably for one or two more years with an innovative form of therapy that is being planned for him in conjunction with Baton Rouge’s Mary Bird… Continue reading →

If Gov. John Bel Edwards calls another special session, here's his gameplan and how it could affect taxpayers

Advocate staff photo by Bill Feig -- Members of the Louisiana House wait on budgetary legislation for consideration on Tuesday, March 8.

Gov. John Bel Edwards appears likely to call the Legislature into a special session in June in an effort to limit income tax deductions and close corporate tax loopholes. But it’s not clear that Republicans in the House are willing to approve the taxes that Edwards says are necessary to prevent slashing $500 million or… Continue reading →

Governor’s Mansion slated to be site of wedding reception for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ daughter Saturday

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Azaleas bloom in front of the Governor's Mansion.

The Louisiana Governor’s Mansion has hosted presidential visits, holiday galas and other events. This weekend, the mansion will play host yet again for a special event — the wedding reception of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ daughter Samantha. “The closer we get, the better the weather is looking,” the… Continue reading →

Task force gives free hand to governor on taxes

A special task force issued recommendations on taxes Friday that were broad enough to avoid limiting the governor’s options as he seeks to raise revenue during a special session next month. The Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy called on Gov. John Bel Edwards and state legislators to focus on whether to keep… Continue reading →

Latest budget would still leave 13,000 without TOPS, set new minimum ACT of 22

State leaders are inching closer toward closing the unprecedented funding gap for TOPS scholarships, but estimates released Friday show that the most recent version of the state’s budget still would leave about 13,000 students who meet the eligibility criteria without an award. Exactly how many students will ultimately receive the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students scholarships… Continue reading →

State retirees to see bump in pension checks with Governor Edwards' COLA approval

A lot of retired teachers, troopers, school workers and state government employees will start seeing slightly bigger monthly pension checks starting July 1. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed into law a cost-of-living adjustment for nearly 125,000 pensioners who are over the age of 60 and have been retired at least a year. Most live in… Continue reading →

Superintendent John White says unclear if all voucher recipients will keep them

Whether all voucher recipients keep them amid state budget problems largely depends on how many students try to renew the aid for the next school year, state Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday. White told the Senate Finance Committee that, even with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed 14 percent cut in voucher dollars, the state “potentially”… Continue reading →

‘He’s a great guy’: National commentator, constituent defends Louisiana lawmaker who joked about strippers

Rod Dreher

A national commentator who lives in Louisiana Rep. Kenny Havard’s legislative district defends him in a new blog post that addresses Havard’s stripper amendment “joke” that has stirred a firestorm of negative media attention. Rod Dreher, senior editor for The American Conservative and a St. Francisville resident, calls Havard “a great guy who does a lot… Continue reading →

Rep. Kenny Havard said he will not apologize for stripper age, weight joke, says political correctness is ruining country

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, talks to media members after the House adjourned for the day, Thursday, May 19, 2016, regarding his 'joke amendment' about weight  and maximum age limitations for strippers, proposed the day before to a bill regulating strip clubs. The bill actually passed, but without the amendment, but many found Havard's amendment inappropriate and offensive. Havard was not present during the House's afternoon session, but kept a scheduled appointment for an interview.

State Rep. Kenny Havard said Thursday he won’t apologize over his “joke” legislation that sought to ban exotic dancers from being overweight or older than 28. He took a firm stand on Thursday, despite numerous demands he apologize, blaming the firestorm his comments created on the delicate sensibilities of a nation that he said… Continue reading →

Banning Confederate flags in veterans cemeteries supported by La. Congressmen Steve Scalise, Cedric Richmond

A vote in the Louisiana's congressional delegation is split on whether or not to remove Confederate flags from flagpoles at federal veterans cemeteries. (AP File Photo/David Goldman)

Louisiana’s congressional delegation split on a resolution to remove Confederate flags from flagpoles at federal veterans cemeteries. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, were the only two of the six-member delegation to vote in favor of the effort, which passed the U.S. House in a 265-159 vote on… Continue reading →

Equal Pay shot down in Louisiana House Labor committee

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD  State Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, meets Thursday with Erin Monroe Wesley, special counsel to Gov. John Bel Edwards, before the House Labor committee took up a Senate-passed Equal Pay bill. Johns was handling the measure for the chief sponsor, Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans. He also sponsored a bill that would raise the minimum age of strippers in the House on Wednesday night. Women in the House erupted in anger when a representative tried to amend the bill to also set a maximum weight limit for strippers. Supporters held up a copy of The Advocates coverage of the stripper imbroglio as proof that women still arent respected in Louisiana.

A day after a Louisiana House member proposed a weight limit for strippers, a House committee voted down equal pay legislation. “The failure of the House Labor Committee to pass the Equal Pay Act today is a true disservice to the women of our state,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement released moments after the… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards signs measure to expand medical accessibility of marijuana in Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by Elizabeth Crisp -- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signs medical marijuana legislation on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Louisiana residents suffering from certain health ailments may soon have access to cannabis oil treatment, under a new law Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law Thursday. Senate Bill 271, which the governor signed during a formal ceremony featuring families in his Capitol office, is intended to expand the medical accessibility of marijuana by expanding the ailments… Continue reading →