A few weeks ago, Martha Manuel was summarily fired by "Huey P" Jindal for candidly responding to questions by members of the House Appropriations Committee. The reason for her firing was because Manuel was asked her opinion on the proposed (legislation not even introduced) transfer of the Office of Elderly Affairs from the governorís office to DHH.
Since that time, not a single member of the committee (and only one of the rest of the leges) has had the courage to comment publicly on chilling effect the firing would have on future testimony by state employees. As of now, all testimony before a lege committee by a state employee is suspect.
Yesterday, Bruce Greenstein, head of DHH, appeared before the Appropriations Committee. Several committee members blustered about what would happen if the transfer resulted in fewer or lower quality services to the elderly.
Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, pressed DHH officials about plans to transfer the Governorís Office on Elderly Affairs to the health-care agency. "If this thing doesnít work out, Iíll be the first one jumping up and down," he said. Baton Rouge Business Reportís Daily Report March 26, 2012.
Lawmakers wanted assurances that the Elderly Affairs funds would be protected in future budget years. If not, said Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville, to Greenstein, "I will hold you personally responsible." Ibid.
Itís doubtful that Greenstein is shaking in his oxfords. He knows that nobody gets hurt with political hot air. If the leges say too much "Huey P" will quickly discipline them.
New tax pushed in
Some think that leges cannot pass taxes during the 2012 Regular Session. They canít pass STATE taxes, but they can authorize local taxes.
House Bill 961, authored mostly by Republican leges, would authorize a BRAND-NEW TAX by local governments. The legislation would allow each parish to levy a tax on auto leases and rentals.
It appears that the tax will be levied without a vote of the people in the parish.
Circumventing the constitution.
Technically, this new tax is optional with the parish governing authorities. However, because it will not require a vote of the people it will be, in effect, a new tax legally passed during a "non-tax" session by the leges.
Never underestimate the ability of the leges to find a way around our constitution when it comes to raising our taxes.
What will Bobby do?
This legislation begs the question of whether Bobby Jindal is still against taxes and, if so, will veto the legislation if passed.
Actually, Jindal did not run on an anti-tax platform this time. In fact, he had no platform at all.
Youíve been warned. Hang on to your wallets!
Whatís next, morse code?
Wednesday afternoon, Bobby Jindalís press office again changed the protocol for releasing Executive Proclamations to the media and public.
Last Friday, Team Jindal sneaked an Executive Order past the Capitol Press Corps by sending it via Twitter. They know that most of the media at the Capitol donít have Twitter accounts.
After sending out the Executive Order changing the leave policy for state employees, retroactive to January 2008, Team Jindal Tweeted two Executive Proclamations.
To date, nobody in state government seems to know about the new leave policy and the media has not written anything about it.
Late Wednesday, after normal working hours, Team Jindal emailed a new Executive Proclamation.
Jindalís spokesman refused to answer questions about the future procedure for releasing official documents.
It appears that Jindalís press office will do whatever it takes to keep the public from knowing what Jindal is doing.
Typical of Bobby; consistently inconsistent.
Perhaps next Jindal will send official documents over the phone in Morse code.
Iíll have to breakout my old Boy Scout Handbook to refresh my knowledge of the code.