State Rep. John Bel Edwards, an Amite Democrat who is running for governor next year, attended this month’s Southern University System Board of Supervisors meeting and, largely unprompted, encouraged members to consider joining the system president and Baton Rouge campus chancellor positions. He said that the state Legislature would see the move as an effort to operate more efficiently. LSU merged its president and chancellor roles two years ago.
“Quite frankly, a lot of people look at LSU as the flagship of the state and say, ‘If it’s good enough for LSU, it’s good enough for the Southern system, too,’ ” he said. “I believe you all are at a disadvantage if you come to the Legislature to ask for additional money without having done some step like that to show that you, too, are transforming yourself in a way that will promote efficiency.”
The board hasn’t taken action on various proposals to combine the two jobs. On Friday, board members voted to suspend the search for a new system president until January.
Early voting ends without extension
Early voting ended Saturday without any of the extended days a West Monroe legislator sought.
State Rep. Marcus Hunter failed to get court intervention in advance of this Saturday’s U.S. Senate balloting. He filed suit over the shortening from seven to five days of early voting because of two official state holidays — Thanksgiving Thursday and Acadian Day on Friday.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez scheduled a Thursday hearing in the case, two days in advance of the election and too late to have any impact.
But Hunter vows not to give up on the battle when it comes to future elections that encounter the same holiday disruption.
Hunter said he has court and legislative remedies involving a change in state law. He argues that the Legislature wants to make voting more accessible instead of limiting it.
LASERS gets award for 11th straight year
The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System received the 2014 Public Pension Standard Award for the 11th consecutive year. The award for plan funding and administration excellence is presented by the Public Pension Coordinating Council.
LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou said the award is “another example of how LASERS benefits Louisiana.”
LASERS administers a defined benefit pension plan that covers approximately 150,000 members. It pays more than $1 billion in annual benefits to retirees and their beneficiaries.
Jindal on The Hill’s GOP presidential list
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made The Hill’s list of “13 Republicans Most Likely To Win The White House” — but just barely.
According to the article, The Hill, a Washington, D.C., publication, spoke to more than half a dozen Republican strategists to rank the top contenders for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Jindal was placed in the bottom-tier “waiting in the wings” category and described as “nobody’s favorite and everybody’s backup.”
The sources, who The Hill quoted anonymously, instead speculate “Jindal will be a big presence on the campaign trail, but say he’s likely angling for a Cabinet spot in a potential Republican administration.”
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush topped The Hill list, being dubbed the “big three.”
Governor set to speak at Va. GOP gathering
Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to speak to the Republican Party of Virginia’s annual gathering of party activists on Dec. 6 — Louisiana’s runoff election day.
Jindal will be the keynote speaker at the Virginia GOP’s Donald W. Huffman Advance, according to the party. Ed Gillespie, who narrowly lost his U.S. Senate race to Democratic incumbent Mark R. Warner, also will speak.
Jindal spokeswoman Shannon Bates said the governor planned to early vote Wednesday or Saturday.
The event takes place at the Marriott Westfield near Dulles International Airport in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Jindal has made several trips to Virginia in the past few years.
Tickets run $55 from a single basic entry to $25,000 for the top-level sponsorship, which includes eight tickets.
Higher ed officials to speak at meeting
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, a higher education advocacy group, will meet next week in New Orleans, and the event’s speakers include LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley.
The event runs Wednesday through Friday at the J.W. Marriott.
Woodley and Alexander will serve on a panel together on the opening day and “offer strategies for how both college leaders and elected officials can work together to maintain and advance the missions of these institutions to effectively serve students.”
Alexander also will moderate a discussion with Suzanne Mettler, Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University, on Thursday.
Dem, GOP reps slated to address Press Club
Representatives from the Louisiana Democratic and Republican parties will speak at Monday’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the Democratic State Central Committee chairwoman, and Jason Doré, executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party, are scheduled in advance of Saturday’s election.
Topping the ballot statewide is the U.S. Senate race where veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing a strong challenge from Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.
The Press Club meets at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.
Compiled by The Advocate Capitol news bureau. Contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. For up-to-the-minute news from the Louisiana Legislature, state and federal government, follow our Poltics Blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog or on Twitter, @AdvocateCNB.