Nolatarian Goes to Washington 12/5/11 – 12/9/11

“Nolatarian Goes to Washington” is a weekly column on the activities of Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu and Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.

Senate

After a busy week of violating the Constitution last time we checked in, the Senate didn’t have much activity on the floor this week other than the rejection of two dueling payroll tax cut bills.

House of Representatives

More drug war hysteria on the way with passage on Thursday, 12/8/11, of HR 1254 , otherwise known as the Synthetic Drug Control Act. The bill adds synthetic drugs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Scalise voted for and Richmond against. The bill now heads to the Senate. We all know how effective the original bill has been on preventing use and abuse of the already “banned” substances.

Some better news from 12/8; the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 1633) passed the House with support from Scalise and opposition from Richmond. The bill temporarily prevents the EPA from placing burdensome regulations on farmers to essentially prevent them from kicking up dust in the course of their work.

Can We All Just DBE Honest Here?

Remember that City Council ordinance to prevent medium-box retail stores like Family Dollar and Dollar General from building more stores in favor of big-box retailers I wrote about here and here? Well, the city must have forgot…Check out my latest post at Southern Libertarian for more on business impediments.

Ron Paul 2012 in Louisiana

I just got off the phone with Ron Paul’s Baton Rouge office to clarify a posting they made. Apparently, a little known secret in Louisiana is that the Republican Party does have a Presidential Preference Caucus in addition to the Primary on March 24, 2012. The dates of the caucuses have not yet been announced, but if you wish to participate you must be registered as a Republican by this Thursday, December 15, 2011 (you still have until 2/22/12 to change for the Primary). Changing your registration or registering for the first time is done easily enough on the Secretary of State website. The campaign will let me know when the caucus dates are announced and I will pass that info along. Oh, and yes, I did change from an “independent” solely to vote for Dr. No.

Nolatarian Goes to Washington 11/21/11 – 12/2/11

“Nolatarian Goes to Washington” is a weekly column on the activities of Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu and Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.

Apologies for getting a little behind with this column. Will cover 2 weeks with this post.

Senate

The biggest action in the Senate was the debate over S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Aside from setting the “Defense” budget for next year, a provision was added primarily by John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) that would allow the U.S. military to detain American citizens indefinitely for suspected terrorist activities, even if caught on U.S. soil. This measure directly violates Constitutionally protected Due Process for U.S. citizens. So, how did Sens David Vitter and Mary Landrieu vote? Lets start with 3 amendments offered to the bill; the Udall (CO) Amendment 1107, Paul Amendment 1064, and Feinstein Amendment 1126 all sought to limit the bill’s provisions against holding U.S. citizens without trial. Vitter and Landrieu both voted against ALL 3. Naturally, they joined 91 other senators in passing the whole bill on Dec. 1, 2011. I emailed both Senator’s offices about this and only Vitter’s staff responded with a reply completely ignoring the question about U.S. citizens. Major fail for the Constitution on this bill unless Pres. Obama vetoes as he’s threatened to do. I wrote more about this here last week.

One redeeming action by Vitter is the co-introduction of S. 1932. The bill would require the Obama administration to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days, as opposed to Obama’s stated wish to postpone a decision until after the 2012 election.

Randomly, Landrieu apparently feels she knows more about running an airline than the airlines do. Air Mary?

House of Representatives

Remember that box on your federal tax return that asks if you want to donate to federal campaigns? Well, this bill that passed with support from Steve Scalise and opposition from Cedric Richmond would discontinue taxpayer funded presidential election campaigns and party conventions and apply any leftover funds directly to the federal budget deficit. Also, it eliminates the Election Assistance Commission, consolidating its duties into the Federal Election Commission. Here’s hoping for a passage through the Senate.

Also taking expected positions, Scalise votes for, and Richmond against, successful bill HR 527 which analyses the impact of regulations on small businesses and forces alternatives to be studied. Keeping the theme with their votes, HR 3010 passed which would reform the process of analysing and creating new regulations and guidelines.