Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

State still waiting for $1.2 billion for flood mitigation

Louisiana officials had hoped to receive $1.2 billion in federal funding meant to reduce flood risk in the state by this spring. The money is not yet available, but it might be by the end of the summer, according to discussions at Thursday’s meeting of the Louisiana Council on Watershed Management.

The federal government in February approved the state’s plan for spending $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant money to reduce flood risk in the state. At least half must be spent to benefit the 10 parishes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says were most affected by flooding in 2016. In its plan, the state identified 46 additional parishes that suffered serious floods that can benefit.

Officials had hoped to begin doling out the first $100 million for immediate needs by this winter, though that timeline now appears less likely.

New legislator sworn in

Golden Meadow native Joseph Orgeron took his oath of office Thursday, becoming the new state representative for District 54.

Orgeron defeated five of his fellow Republicans to win the seat in a special election July 11.

Orgeron replaces Reggie Bagala, who died after contracting COVID-19.

State Supreme Court: Baton Rouge judge too old to run for reelection

The Louisiana Supreme Court has declined to reconsider their ruling that Baton Rouge District Judge Janice Clark, who is 73, cannot run for reelection. Clark has challenged the state law that says judges cannot run for reelection if they are older than 70.

Clark was first elected to the 19th Judicial District bench in 1992.

Clark argues the law presumes older judges are less qualified than their younger counterparts and amounts to voter suppression by denying the voters the right to choose their preferred candidate regardless of age.

Think tank opens applications for leadership academy

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank based in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is seeking applications for its second annual “leadership academy.”

The program involves monthly meetings in Baton Rouge over a nine-month period meant “to inform, educate and connect the emerging and experienced leaders in Louisiana to some of the state’s biggest assets and most daunting challenges.”

The digital application can be found here. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.