Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

Your on-ramp for news and insight from Louisiana's statehouse.

Follow Capitol Access on Twitter @LaCapAxS.

Sue Lincoln

How do you start a whole new industry from the ground up, especially when that industry is medical marijuana? That’s what state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has to figure out. His department has to come up with the rules and regulations for producing and processing the marijuana by January.

“We are responsible all the way from the seed to the delivery of the final chemical product,” Strain told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

Running for office these days means more than just shaking hands and kissing babies. It now requires social media savvy. And while Twitter and Facebook offer free venues for candidates to get their messages across, they can also mean that missteps go viral.

Case in point: #AskBobby. Last week, the super PAC supporting Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign invited Twitter users to submit questions to the candidate. Within hours, #AskBobby was the top trend in Louisiana, and trending nationally as the number three most-used hashtag – even though the questions were far from pretty.

Whether it’s a Catholic priest, a Baptist minister, or one of the House members, each day of a legislative session, the House convenes with a Christian prayer. I asked House Clerk Albert “Butch” Speer when was the last time a prayer was something other than Christian?

“I don’t remember any time,” said the man who has served as House Clerk for 32 years.

Much of the reason is that invocations are done on a volunteer basis; members themselves or their pastors.

“The vast majority of the members of the House profess Christianity as their major religious belief, and so that’s what we’re going to end up with--because it’s purely voluntary,” Speer said.

There’s a battle going on in New Orleans-East and at the Louisiana Bond Commission, over acquisition of a 442-unit apartment complex known as Hidden Lakes. GMF -- Global Ministries Foundation, based in Memphis, Tennessee --is the buyer.

“We have almost 11-thousand units in eight states, as a faith-based housing development corporation,” GMF president Rev. Richard Hamlet told Louisiana’s Bond Commission last month.

Among those units are nearly 2500 apartments in Louisiana; in Lafayette, Lake Charles, and the greater New Orleans area. GMF is asking the bond commission to guarantee $24.5 million dollars so they can buy, renovate and run Hidden Lakes.  Area homeowner associations have been fighting it, because it’s Section 8 housing. State Sen. Edwin Murray has been facilitating meetings between homeowners’ associations and GMF property management, in an effort to resolve the impasse.

courtesy CenLamar.com

“Christians are now facing discrimination,” Governor Bobby Jindal said during a campaign stop in Iowa last weekend. “Why don’t we save some money and get rid of the Supreme Court?”

Some might view Jindal’s statements merely as presidential campaign rhetoric, but conversations with his inner circle indicate that remarks like, “Christianity is under assault today in America,” are coming from his sincerely-held religious beliefs.

One of Jindal’s closest spiritual advisors is Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills. He is an advocate of “dominionism”, sometimes referred to as the “seven mountains theory”.

The ACLU of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal over an executive order he issued in May implementing protections for business owners with religious objections to same-sex marriage. 

Sue Lincoln / WRKF

“Every religious expression in America today is under assault.”

So said Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills when testifying on behalf of the “Marriage and Conscience Act” during the recent legislative session. One of the most influential lobbyists in Louisiana, Mills and LFF were the driving force behind the Louisiana Science Education Act in 2008, school vouchers in 2012, and every abortion restriction enacted by this state over the past decade.

Mills is proud of this activism, as he stated in the Louisiana Family Forum’s 2014 legislative wrap-up video.

Louisiana keeps pounding its fists against what Thomas Jefferson called the “wall of separation of church and state”. For example, Louisiana is not complying with the marriage decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Marriage, as an institution between a man and a woman, was established by God. It cannot be altered by an earthly court,” Governor Bobby Jindal told the press, during a campaign stop in Iowa Friday.

It’s time to look at some of the reactions to Bobby Jindal’s official announcement of his presidential run.

Well before he took the stage in Kenner Wednesday, the so-called “spy cam video” was released. In it, Bobby and Supriya tell their kids of the decision to seek the White House.

“Okay, if we move into the White House, you can have a puppy,” Bobby tells daughter Selia.

“Can I pick out the puppy?” she asks.

The video was widely panned, with Newsweek calling it “odd and awkward”, and Rolling Stone describing it as “creepy”.

Wallis Watkins

For the past half-dozen years, he has lulled us with this litany: “Look, I’ve got the job that I want. Really, I’ve got the job that I want.”

But that job is about over, so now he has finally ‘fessed up.

“My name is Bobby Jindal.  I am governor of the great state of Louisiana, and I am running for President of the greatest country in the world—the United States of America!”


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