‘Legacy lawsuit’
compromise offered

The Jindal administration announced late Wednesday a compromise on legislation involving “legacy lawsuits.”

State Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle said in a prepared statement that the compromise will speed up cleanup from oil and gas activities and ensure responsibility for the damage.

Legislators have been wrestling with how to deal with litigation, called legacy lawsuits, stemming from the contamination of land by oil and gas drilling activities over the decades.

Angelle said the compromise calls for his agency to structure a cleanup plan that will be admissible in court. He said oil and gas companies will be able to admit responsibility for the damage without admitting liability for private damages.

Jindal proposed
for GOP 2012 ticket

The head of an anti-tax-hike group thinks Gov. Bobby Jindal belongs on the GOP presidential ticket.

Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, touted Jindal on Wednesday in a Politico column.

In addition to leading an organization that is opposed to higher taxes, Norquist serves on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.

Norquist said Mitt Romney, who is on track to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, needs a wing man who can criticize President Barack Obama’s policies and promote the Republican alternatives.

“There are many attractive prospects out there, but Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal can do not just all that, he has already implemented the sort of bold reforms at the state level that are now desperately needed at the federal level,” he wrote.

Norquist points to the recent passage of the governor’s education package as an example of Jindal’s attributes.

Jindal recently signed into law an expansion of a program that uses taxpayer dollars to send public schoolchildren to private or parochial schools.

The governor flew to North Carolina on Wednesday for the Republican Governors’ Association and did not respond to a request for comment. When asked previously about his interest in becoming vice president, Jindal has said that he has the job he wants.

Panel wants vote
on term limits bill

Louisiana voters would go to the polls Nov. 6 to decide whether they want to impose term limits on parish school board members under legislation approved Wednesday by a state Senate panel.

Future school board members in parishes where voters approve could serve no more than three consecutive terms under House Bill 292.

The initial implementation of term limits would apply to terms that begin on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula, would not apply to the Recovery School District, the governing authority of any charter school or in Lafayette or Jefferson Parishes, where voters have already adopted term limits for school board members.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee shipped the measure to the Senate floor for debate.

House supports
pension modifications

The Louisiana House endorsed legislation Wednesday that would allow retired schoolteachers and adjunct college professors to return to the classroom on a limited basis without getting their pension benefits reduced.

Both measures, Senate Bill 19, for teachers, and Senate Bill 20, for professors, would allow the retirees to earn up to 25 percent of their retirement check. After that pension benefits could be reduced based on earnings.

The bills are sponsored by state Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette. SB19 returns to the Senate for concurrence in House changes. SB20 heads to the governor’s desk. There were no dissenting votes.

Ascension might get
expropriation power

The Louisiana Senate on Wednesday approved heavily amended legislation dealing with expropriation authority in Ascension Parish.

Under the reworked version of Senate Bill 703, Ascension government would have to give notice to a property owner that it wants to take their land, then wait a year before going to a court hearing to determine that the taking is in the public interest.

SB703, sponsored by state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, would also be restricted to expropriating land for road and sewage project purposes. Originally drainage was included, Amedee said, but farmers had a problem with the inclusion. The altered bill would also require an appraised value on the property, not an estimated value, Amedee said.

The Senate voted 24-9 for the measure, which now moves to the House for debate.

Compiled by

the Capitol news bureau