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Posts from the ‘Releases’ Category

Sen. David Vitter Continues to Suck Taxpayer Funds, Takes 70K for PAC

BATON ROUGE – Despite having posted obscene fund-raising totals thanks to his support among the super-wealthy special interest crowd, Sen. David Vitter continues to lean on “campaign welfare” wherever possible, building his cynical, hands-off campaign for governor at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers and families. Thanks to the efforts of his high-priced legal team and their elite corporate backers, Vitter was able to force Louisiana taxpayers to cough up nearly $70,000 toward one of his shadowy “political action committees.” In a page ripped from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s partisan playbook, Vitter is petulantly defending the right of faceless corporate paymasters to buy and sell elections in Louisiana and across the country.

And, just like Bobby Jindal’s flailing campaign, Vitter and his operatives continue to pick and choose what parts of the law apply to them. Even with the blank check special interests have given him to try and buy the governor’s race, Vitter is almost literally nickel-and-diming the taxpayers, looking for flimsy excuses to have his constituents foot the bill for his endless campaign mailings.

“With all the obscene amounts of money his campaign has to throw around, and with the infamy of his name recognition all over the media, David Vitter is taking advantage of Louisiana taxpayers to pay the lawyers and special interest groups supporting his campaign,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “There is something perverse about trying to buy an election, then conniving to force the voters to help pick up your tab.”

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

BATON ROUGE – Today, we mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, programs representing a solemn compact between our nation and its people, guaranteeing dignity and security for our fellow citizens after a lifetime of work and responsibility. Prior to the creation of the Medicare program, one-third of our senior citizens lived in poverty. The success of the Medicaid program, an earned benefit that hard-working Americans pay into every day, has brought that appalling figure down to 10 percent. And with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the life of our Medicare trust fund has been extended — ensuring the program will be there to honor our commitment to future generations.

In Louisiana, where Republican obstructionism and stubbornness continues to deny 290,000 working citizens access to health care coverage, Rep. John Bel Edwards is fighting to expand Medicaid. His proposal advocates sound financial policy and basic Christian decency, and would bring in $9 for every dollar the state spends. Despite the proven, enduring success of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, more than 17 percent of Louisiana citizens remain uninsured.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, and celebrate all those programs have done to lift people out of poverty, we have to recognize that work still remains to be done,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Leaders like John Bel Edwards are fighting to protect Louisiana families, and to bring the federal tax dollars we’re paying out back into the state to help those most in need.”

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LDP Chair Invited Democrats to Attend Edwards J-J Fundraiser

BATON ROUGE – The Chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, released a statement today inviting fellow Democrats from all over Louisiana to join her at a meet and greet / fundraiser in support of Rep. John Bel Edwards gubernatorial campaign. Prior to this Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner and celebration, a separate fundraising event for the Edwards campaign will be held at the Sheraton New Orleans from 4-6 p.m. Senator Peterson urges voters to attend, and to take advantage of the opportunity to meet Louisiana’s next governor.

Having worked together extensively in the legislature to fight for Louisiana families and to bring a measure of fiscal responsibility to the budget debates, Sen. Peterson and Rep. Edwards are united in their efforts to marshal support from every corner of the state heading into this fall’s elections. Peterson has witnessed the tremendous impact Edwards has made with voters in person on the campaign trail, and she encourages supporters in New Orleans this weekend for the Jefferson-Jackson dinner to make a special effort to attend Edwards’ event.

“John Bel Edwards is going to be the next governor of Louisiana, I know it and the polls are now confirming it,” said Peterson. “I’m excited that everyone has the opportunity to meet with him in person this weekend, ahead of Saturday night’s Jefferson-Jackson event. We’re all coming together to support John Bel at the top of the ticket, and to do everything we can to help him get elected.”

For more information about the John Bel Edwards fundraiser, please click here.

For more information about the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and to buy tickets, click here.

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Schedler’s Record of Failed Leadership and Mismanagement

BATON ROUGE – While Tom Schedler celebrates his recent appointment to a ceremonial position with the National Association of Secretary of States, it’s important to reflect on his actual record as an elected official here in Louisiana.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been a strong ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal for the past eight years, aiding and abetting a failed leader who put our state on a path to financial ruin. Coinciding with the rapid deterioration of Louisiana, Schedler has served as either first assistant to the Secretary of State or as Secretary of State himself during Jindal’s two terms as governor.

Just as Jindal forced taxpayers to pay $2.2 million for state troopers to accompany him on his vain presidential run, Schedler forced taxpayers to pick up a $1.3 million tab on lawsuits that resulted from his failure to comply with the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA). In one of the lawsuits, two courts cited that Schedler’s office was not in compliance with the NVRA because of, among other things, mismanagement and poor training. That is what Schedler’s failed leadership looks like.

Schedler’s self-serving decision to challenge the lawsuits is costing Louisiana taxpayers $1.3 million and counting, money that could have been better used updating voting machines, opening museums for more than one day a week or enabling Louisiana to hold a presidential primary. The lawsuits’ only real benefit was to the lawyers who represented Schedler, both of whom had made extensive donations to his previous campaigns. Schedler’s campaign contributors ended up taking between $600,000-800,000 each for their work defending his failures.

Schedler has whined that he was the target of the lawsuits because he was a Republican and likened it to actions taken by the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police.  His hysteria conveniently ignores the facts, however— that of the three states sued by the Department of Justice for violating the NVRA since 2000, two had Democratic Secretary of States. Hardly the witch-hunt Schedler describes.

It is hard to remember a time when our state was in such dire financial straits. As Secretary of State, Schedler has been an integral part of Jindal’s leadership team that has put the governor’s presidential ambitions ahead of the needs of his constituents.

“Tom Schedler has been a part of the numerous problems caused by the failed leadership of our state,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The citizens of Louisiana have witnessed firsthand the horrible effects of this failed leadership. That is why we desperately need new leadership that doesn’t have a connection to the disastrous policies of the past eight years.”

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John Bel Edwards Pulls Even in Latest Poll, Caps Statewide Tour

BATON ROUGE – As Rep. John Bel Edwards’ triumphant statewide bus tour races to a conclusion this weekend, a newly released poll from the Republican-leaning Triumph Campaigns shows Edwards has pulled even with the GOP front-runner, drawing 30 percent to Sen. David Vitter’s 31 percent. With a little more than three months left to go in the race, John Bel Edwards has closed the gap— despite Vitter’s shadowy financial support and his well-documented abuse of Senate privileges.

For the second time in a week, analysis of new poll data by experts from across the political spectrum tells the same tale: David Vitter’s “inevitability” narrative is a fragile one, and John Bel Edwards is on the rise. As his #PutLouisianaFirst tour returns to Baton Rouge this weekend, his supporters from all across Louisiana have new reason to hope. The big event at the Lyceum Ballroom this Sunday at 2pm serves as a capstone to his success on the road, and the first stop on his road to victory this fall.

“I’ve been with John Bel on the road, and I’ve seen the effect he has on voters first-hand,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “You’re seeing the reality on the ground beginning to be reflected in the polls: the more people get to know John Bel Edwards, the greater his support grows. Vitter’s problem is that with 100 percent name recognition, he has nothing new to tell voters.”

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Jindal and Vitter Sucking Public Resources for Failing Campaigns

BATON ROUGE – As their respective campaigns for still-higher office limp along, both Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter continue to abuse the privileges of their elected positions, sucking taxpayer funds and resources to prop up their fading political prospects. Jindal, who remains hopelessly mired in the bottom rungs of the GOP field, has spent the overwhelming bulk of his tenure as Louisiana governor ignoring the needs of his constituents and slavishly courting the favor of out-of-state interests— all to no avail. Little wonder that his campaign relies on subsidies from state taxpayers to cover everything from travel abroad to attacking fellow Republicans in the press.

Like Jindal, Vitter has been largely missing in action when it comes to doing the people’s business for Louisiana families, skipping nearly a quarter of the Senate’s roll call votes this spring to spend his time campaigning. Meanwhile he’s abusing taxpayer resources to hold thinly veiled campaign events under the guise of Senate “field hearings.” His abuse of Senate “franking” privileges to avoid paying mail costs is so well known as to nearly escape mention in the press. But the voters of Louisiana are paying attention, and with every new poll Vitter’s fortunes are falling.

“Jindal and Vitter are both running doomed campaigns,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “But given the economic damage their failed policies have done to Louisiana, it adds insult to injury that they are relying on what amounts to ‘campaign welfare’ and forcing Louisiana families to pick up the tab for their vanity.”

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John Bel Edwards Announces Statewide #PutLouisianaFirst Tour

BATON ROUGE, LA – Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards announced stops on his week long statewide #PutLouisianaFirst tour, which is set to launch on Monday, July 6th and end Sunday, July 12th. The tour includes stops in over twenty-five cities throughout the state where the candidate will interact with voters and discuss his plans to improve healthcare, education, veterans’ affairs, transportation and infrastructure, as well as to address issues of local importance.

“We want to talk to people about the importance of electing a governor who is a proven leader,” Edwards said. “We need a governor who will invest in higher education, not destroy it. One who will bring healthcare to working families, not close hospitals and clinics. And one who will use tax incentives to grow our economy, not as corporate welfare for out-of-state companies.”

Edwards, a Dean’s List graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, served eight years on active duty as an Airborne Ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division, culminating with command of a rifle company. “The best way to predict someone’s future actions is to take a look at their past behavior. Unlike the other candidates in this race, I did not wait till Bobby Jindal was at thirty percent popularity to stand up to him,” Edwards said.

Tour stops open to the press are listed below. Please use contact information included in this release to schedule interviews.

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Monday, July 6

1:00 p.m. Launch #PutLouisianaFirst Tour
Claire’s on Mulberry Street
114 West Mulberry Street
Amite, LA 70422

5:00 p.m. Delgado Community College
Sidney Collier Campus
3727 Louisa Street
New Orleans, LA 70126

Tuesday, July 7

7:30 a.m. Coffee With the Candidate
Block Law Firm
422 East First Street
Thibodaux, LA 70301

9:00 a.m. Nicholls State University
Visit with President Dr. Bruce T. Murphy

906 East 1st Street
Thibodaux, LA 70310

10:30a.m South Central La Technical College
Young Memorial Campus
900 Youngs Road
Morgan City, LA 70380

12:00 p.m. Lunch Stop at JoJo’s Restaurant 
624 Front St.
Morgan City, LA 70380

5:00 p.m. –  8:00 p.m. #PutLouisianaFirst Event
River Oaks Event Center
520 E. Kaliste Saloom Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70508

Wednesday, July 8

7:30 a.m. Coffee With the Candidate
Sponsored by Chip Jackson & Glenn Armentor

Staybridge Suites
129 E. Kaliste Salooom Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70508

5:30 p.m. #PutLouisianaFirst Stop
IBEW Local #861
3000 Hwy 90 E
Lake Charles, LA 70615

Thursday July, 9

9:00 a.m. Downtown Walkabout, DeRidder
Look for the #TeamJBE Bus Downtown

11:00 a.m. Downtown Walkabout, Leesville
Look for the #TeamJBE Bus Downtown

2:00 p.m. Alexandria – Downtown Stop
Mini park across from City Hall
915 Third Street
Alexandria, LA

5:30 p.m. Joint Legislative Update with Rep. Kenny Cox
Natchitoches Arts Center
718 2nd Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Friday, July 10

10:30a.m. Opening JBE Headquarters in Shreveport
1610 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop
Shreveport, LA 71105

12:30 p.m. Lunch Stop
Notinis Italian Restaurant
2013-A Airline Drive
Bossier City, LA 71111

3:00 p.m. Grambling, LA
Lewis Temple CME
301 Main St.
Grambling, LA 71245

Saturday, July 11

9:30 a.m. Brunch with ULM Students and Faculty
Sponsored by Student Gov. Association

Student Union
601 Bayou Drive
Monroe, LA 71209

11:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Impromptu stops on Route from Monroe to Baton Rouge

Sunday, July 12

2:00 p.m. Finale #PutLouisianaFirst Party
The Lyceum Ballroom
123 Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA  70801

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138K Louisianians to Remain Insured, SCOTUS Upholds ACA Subsidies

BATON ROUGE – In a 6-3 decision issued this morning, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the nationwide health care subsidies currently helping more than 138,000 Louisiana residents retain coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite the latest desperate effort from Republicans to make lower-income patients casualties of their irrational attacks on the ACA, the Court once more upheld the substance and the spirit of the law.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts himself said: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” Today’s decision affirms the Affordable Care Act as an enduring commitment to our fellow citizens that health care is “not a privilege for a few but a right for all,” in the words of President Obama. Having overcome every legal challenge and prevailed at the highest levels twice in the space of three years, the Affordable Care Act is indeed here to stay.

“We are extremely happy with the Supreme Court’s ruling today upholding the Affordable Care Act,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Today’s ruling means that over 138,000 Louisianans will get to keep their health coverage. But because of the Louisiana GOP’s refusal to expand Medicaid, we have over a quarter million hard-working citizens that are still caught in the ‘Jindal Gap’ and denied health coverage. Only one candidate for governor has committed to helping change that, and that is Rep. John Bel Edwards. We look forward to seeing him elected this fall.”

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Jindal Kicks off Doomed Campaign, Running from Record of Failure

KENNER, La. – After more than a year spent campaigning out-of-state on the taxpayers’ dime, and months of time wasted in the legislature attempting to curry favor with GOP power-brokers, Gov. Bobby Jindal finally made it official today and declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. As a late entrant to an extraordinarily crowded field, Jindal carries the baggage of his dismal record of failure as governor and polling numbers hovering in the low 0% range. The vanity campaign he formally kicked off in Kenner can be expected to have no actual impact on the 2016 race for president.

In making his candidacy official, Jindal attempted to tout his record as governor. Unfortunately for him, neither the voters of his state nor the facts are on his side. Under seven years of his failed policies, the state economy has suffered staggering losses and began the year with the third-highest unemployment in the nation. His gross negligence and fiscal irresponsibility saddled our state with a $1.6 billion budget deficit this year, a structural gap he bullied the legislature into papering over with what one Republican lawmaker called “a money-laundering scheme.”

“Governor Jindal has failed Louisiana in every way possible, and there’s no reason to believe he will have any more success as a candidate than he did as governor,” said state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “His record of failure disqualifies him from higher office right out of the gate, and his pattern of divisiveness and cynical, partisan manipulation is likely to make for a short campaign.”

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Flawed LSU Higher Ed “Report Card” Twisted to Serve Jindal’s Agenda

BATON ROUGE – Faced with threats to higher education made necessary by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s $1.6 billion budget deficit, LSU’s Student Government (SG) made laudable efforts to evaluate the performance of state legislators relative to education policy. The report that resulted, unfortunately, suffered from deeply flawed methodology and painted a wildly inaccurate picture as a consequence. Just as higher education officials were manipulated by Jindal’s GOP backers in the final hours of the legislative session— forced into pressuring lawmakers to support the “SAVE” sham while education funding was held hostage—- the new report has likewise been distorted in service to Jindal’s agenda.

Cherry-picking budget-related votes, the flawed report makes no significant reference to the de facto tax increase on students made possible by the GOP legislature’s decision to allow universities to raise tuition by more than 10 percent annually. Further, the LSU SG’s methodology explicitly penalizes legislators who voted against raising student fees under the umbrella of the “SAVE” money-laundering scheme.

Allies and enablers of Jindal’s failed policies like Rep. Jim Fanin and Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley are awarded “A” grades, despite their years of support for draconian cuts to higher education that have seen state investments drop from 70 percent to scarcely 30 percent, passing all of the difference on to our kids.

In compiling this report based on such flawed methodology, the LSU SG does the student body a grave disservice, attacking and alienating some of their strongest allies.

“We commend the LSU SG for paying closer attention and rallying students to fight for our universities, but this report reads like it could have come right out of Bobby Jindal’s office,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The LSU SG appears to have fallen prey to the outlandish distortions created by the fourth floor and sold to us like snake oil by his acolytes in the House and Senate.  My real fear is that this report card attacks those who have been their biggest champions.”

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Angelle Shares Responsibility for Jindal’s Failures, Refuses to Lead

BATON ROUGE – Attempting to speak with media outlets regarding the $1.6 billion deficit his failed GOP policies created, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s appointee and former protégée Scott Angelle offered baffling, incoherent policy proposals. Rebutting an assertion that no one made, Angelle insisted we cannot blame Texas or Arkansas for the budget crisis. He went on to suggest that a powerful executive branch was at the core of what’s wrong with state government.

Angelle’s assessment willfully ignores his own record, and the actual source of our state’s budgetary nightmare. As Jindal’s top lobbyist in the Legislature, Scott Angelle is intimately familiar with exactly how the sausage gets made, and personally responsible for the disastrous financial mismanagement that decimated our state’s finances.

The disparity between Angelle’s campaign and Angelle’s record doesn’t stop there. In his new television ad, he attempts to paint himself as a champion for women— despite remaining silent and submissive as his GOP colleagues killed two bills in the legislature that would have mandated equal pay for equal work. His inaction is understandable in light of his stance on a having a weak executive— which is exactly what Louisiana voters would get under a Scott Angelle administration: “Jindal light.”

“Of course we agree with Commissioner Angelle that the Governor’s office doesn’t have a monopoly on all the answers, but we do expect our next Governor to have some answers,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Right now, Angelle is failing that test miserably.”

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GOP Legislature Surrenders Powers to Norquist, Passes ‘SAVE’

BATON ROUGE – In the final hours of the 2015 legislative session, the Louisiana Legislature ceded its constitutional authority and any semblance of decision-making power to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign staff. In an act of submission to the unelected, out-of-state Republican power broker who holds Jindal’s leash, both houses of the Louisiana legislature abandoned any sense of pride or duty to pass the “SAVE” scam into state law. Their surrender allows Jindal, on paper, to uphold his oath not to have raised taxes. In practice, it represents an utter and willful violation of the oath every lawmaker took to the voters of Louisiana.

Over the objections of principled lawmakers from across the political spectrum, Jindal’s agents in both chambers forced through the money-laundering scheme by bolting it onto unrelated legislation overnight in committee. While the GOP-majority Senate caved into Norquist’s agenda by embarrassing margins, legislators in the House showed leadership and courage— fighting to the very last minute against this perversion of process and the stunning precedent it represents.

“It’s a sad day for the Louisiana Legislature, and an even sadder one for the citizens they were elected to represent,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director for the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The lawmakers who allowed themselves to be bent to Jindal’s will, who were bullied into serving Grover Norquist at the expense of their constituents, will carry that shame with them until they’re voted out of office. Votes like this bring that day that much closer.”

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Good News: House Leadership Holding Strong, Common Sense to Prevail

BATON ROUGE – With final negotiations continuing late into the night at the Capitol, Democratic leadership in the House was able to hold strong and push back against the relentless attempts by Senate Republicans to insert the money-laundering “SAVE” Act into the final budget legislation. Thanks to the efforts of leaders including House Caucus Chair Rep. John Bel Edwards, House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger and Rep. Katrina Jackson, joined by courageous allies from both sides of the aisle, our leadership held the line overnight. Common sense and ethical judgment made a rare triumph in the GOP-dominated legislature, and the final package of budget legislation to be released today will not contain the odious scam demanded by Grover Norquist and Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Even into the very last hours of a hard-fought legislative session, elements of the state GOP, still beholden to out-of-state special interests and in fear of their failed governor, continued their attempts to hold a budget deal hostage. Wiser heads and more courageous hearts will prevail. The budget legislation that resulted attempts to serve Louisiana families, without reference to the demands of Jindal’s doomed presidential campaign.

“This is a big deal, and will be a huge win for Louisiana taxpayers and voters who demand accountability from their elected officials,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Special thanks are due to our Democratic Caucus Chairs: Sen. Eric LaFleur and Rep. John Bel Edwards; to Rep. Katrina Jackson, to Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Sen. President Pro Tempore Sharon Weston Broome and House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger. Without their leadership, courage and perseverance, this never would have been accomplished.”

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Democratic Leadership Holds the Line Against Jindal’s Agenda

BATON ROUGE – In the waning days of this year’s legislative session, when crucial budget negotiations are coming down to the wire and the entire body struggles to address the $1.6 billion gap, the Democratic leadership in both houses continues to stand strong. Under the steady hand of leaders like Caucus Chairs Sen. Eric LaFleur and Rep. John Bel Edwards, along with Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Rep. Katrina Jackson, House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger and Sen. President Pro Tempore Sharon Weston Broome, Democrats in the legislature along with a handful of Republicans are fighting to hold the line against budget chicanery and the kind of craven, cynical politics that this governor and his acolytes have been mired in.

With scam legislation that has been openly acknowledged as a money-laundering scheme to appease Grover Norquist being pushed by Jindal’s loyal cronies, it falls to the Democratic leadership to stand up for Louisiana families and refuse to take their marching orders from an out-of-state Republican power broker. The working men and women of our state can’t balance their household budgets with a fake paper scam, and they can’t send their children to college with a funding gimmick.

“We are proud of our leadership for holding strong and refusing to back down,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Leaders like Rep. Leger and Rep. Jackson are doing the will of their constituents and the work of their conscience fighting back Norquist’s ‘SAVE’ shell-game. These are leaders doing the work they were elected to do— fighting for Louisiana values and standing up against the failed policies of the past.”

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House Leadership Stands up to Jindal, Kills ‘SAVE’ Scam

BATON ROUGE – Late today in the Louisiana Legislature, the House of Representatives took its boldest stand yet against the stubborn, selfish demands of Gov. Bobby Jindal and the out-of-state special interests he serves. House leadership showed dogged determination to push back against the “zombie bill” being pushed by Sen. Jack Donahue and Jindal’s other minions in the legislature. On the House floor, Rep. Alan Seabaugh was forced to withdraw his amendment attempting to bolt the SAVE scam onto capital outlay legislation when abruptly informed he didn’t have the votes to pass it.

In contrast to the abject compliance offered up by their colleagues in the Senate, who today twice refused to kill the phantom “SAVE” legislation, legislators from both sides of the aisle in the House came together to deny Jindal the ability to hold our state’s economy hostage to further his own doomed, national political ambitions. In doing so, they rose to the dignity of the office they hold and did the will of the people of Louisiana, not the bidding of Grover Norquist.

Thanks to the leadership of Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. John Bel Edwards, Vice Chair Rep. Ted James and Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Katrina Jackson, the House took a stand against the kind of financial mismanagement and accounting tricks that have plagued the statehouse under Jindal’s administration.

“The fight is not over, and we know Jindal’s cronies are going to keep dredging up this zombie legislation again and again,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “But we should be encouraged by the strength and the good sense that prevailed in the House today. ‘SAVE’ only serves Bobby Jindal, but for the legislature of Louisiana and the people they are sworn to represent, it only serves to waste time.”

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Senate Passes Budget, Includes ‘SAVE’ Scam Bowing to Jindal

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana State Senate passed a disjointed, badly compromised budget bill today, using the amendment process to strike down potential Medicaid expansion and twice refusing to strip the “SAVE” shell game from the legislation. Even after 11 Republican legislators penned a letter directly to GOP power-broker Grover Norquist to work around Gov. Bobby Jindal’s obstinance, Rep. Jack Donahue continued his efforts to contort state law in a convoluted money-laundering scheme designed to appease our governor-in-absentia.

While Donahue scrambled to ram through a budget bill that would accommodate Jindal’s vanity at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson successfully led the effort to deny him taxpayer funding for his campaign travel. The back-and-forth of a tangled amendments process saw Donahue and his GOP allies seize the opportunity to strike even the possibility of Medicaid expansion, fight to protect Jindal’s campaign travel expenses, and ultimately pass a $24.5 billion budget by a 36-3 vote.

“We should all be disappointed in today’s budget vote,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “In contrast to the courage shown by the House last week, the Senate continued to cower and let their fear of Grover Norquist and Bobby Jindal dictate their vote. The people of Louisiana deserve better, they deserve a governor who serves the interests of taxpayers, not a legislature that serves at the whim of the governor.”

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‘SAVE’ Scam Defeated in the House, Donahue Continues to Play Games

BATON ROUGE – After a narrow defeat in the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday that saw 10 legislators unite across party lines in defiance of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s bullying, state Sen. Jack Donahue began a series of desperate ploys to pass his money-laundering scam through backdoor maneuvering. Voted down in an open committee hearing, Donahue’s scam legislation was bolted on to an array of unrelated bills overnight, in hopes of forcing the lower chamber’s hand.

Together with Republican Senate President John Alario, Donahue continues to indulge in parliamentary games and trickery, abusing their time in the people’s house with legislation that serves no one but Jindal and his doomed presidential ambitions— at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers. An attempt to hijack Rep. Joel Robideaux’s film tax credit has already failed today, but Donahue and Alario remain determined to keep reviving their convoluted scheme again and again, wasting their time and taxpayers’ money as the session nears its close.

“Rep. Donahue and his allies are wasting time playing these shell games, while the window is closing on any opportunity to address the $1.6 billion deficit,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “It’s an insult to working families that Republicans in the House and Senate would rather play games trying to appease Grover Norquist than to address the budget catastrophe they created.”

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In Defiance of Jindal Veto Threat, House Kills SB 284 ‘Shell Game’

BATON ROUGE – Today in the House Ways and Means Committee, the Louisiana Legislature finally stood up in the face of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s obstinate demands and voted to kill SB284. The bill, accurately described in committee by Rep. Eddie Lambert (R) as “money laundering”, would have created an elaborate shell game, twisting the semantics of the law into knots to satisfy Jindal’s desperate pledge to Grover Norquist and the out-of-state interests he’s begging for support on his vanity campaign.

Over the objections of nine legislators still cowering under the threat of Jindal’s veto, 10 members of the Louisiana House showed the courage to, at long last, take a stand against the chicanery, deception and trickery that have been the hallmark of state fiscal policy under this governor. The proposed shell game, moving phantom fees and payments around on paper without doing a thing to address the $1.6 billion deficit, proved a bridge too far for a Legislature long held hostage by Jindal’s stubbornness and his vanity.

“Credit goes the 10 state representatives who showed their strength, to say nothing of their independence and good judgment, by voting to kill this ridiculous money laundering scheme,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Reps. Regina Barrow, Mike Danahay, Mickey Guillory, Marcus Hunter, Robert Johnson, Eddie Lambert, Joel Robideaux, Major Thibaut, Patrick Williams and Thomas Willmott all deserve our congratulations and our thanks for sparing Louisiana families the waste of time and resources this scheme represented.”

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What Louisiana Is Saying About Republicans’ Failure to Lead

BATON ROUGE – Voters throughout the state are making their voices heard, refusing to let Louisiana Republicans off the hook for the $1.6 billion budget disaster they aided and abetted in creating.

Collectively, the people who are paying attention are painting a grim picture of the GOP’s failure. “This legislature has created this crisis. In each of the three years they have passed budgets, crippling mid-year budget cuts have been made because their budget didn’t balance.  Now they are talking about just giving up?” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Voters are paying attention, and they will hold the GOP accountable for their failure this fall.”

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Medicaid Expansion Passes Senate, Gov. Candidates Must Take Stand

BATON ROUGE – Today the state senate voted 31-8 in favor of legislation by Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley that will enable the next governor of Louisiana to finally expand Medicaid. The measure won final passage, and cannot be vetoed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. Passage of HCR 75 opens the door to billions of available federal health care dollars, desperately needed in the face of the $1.6 billion GOP budget disaster.

The vote represents a victory for Louisiana families, for those struggling in the face of spiraling health care costs and hospital closures, and for common sense. It further represents an opportunity for every candidate in the governor’s race to go on the record with their commitment to expanding Medicaid for Louisiana taxpayers on day one.

Rep. John Bel Edwards has been a leader on this issue throughout the legislative session. He is the only candidate for governor who has gone on the record with his support for Medicaid expansion. Indeed, were it not for his efforts, the legislation would likely not have passed both chambers of the legislature.

“After today’s vote, every candidate in the race to replace Gov. Jindal has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to plainly state their position on expanding Medicaid,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director for the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The mechanism is there, the voters deserve to hear a commitment from each candidate one way or the other. No more excuses.”

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