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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works included provisions important to Louisiana families and businesses in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.  This legislation authorizes three feasibility studies for Louisiana projects that would focus on coastal preservation and restoration, improving maritime navigation and reducing hurricane and storm damage risk.  Additionally, this bill calls for expediting seven other projects.

In February, Sen. Kennedy sent a letter to EPW Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and ranking member U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper emphasizing the importance of Louisiana’s water resource authorizations.  The full text of the letter is attached.

“I would like to thank the Senate EPW Committee for including these key Louisiana projects in this legislation.  The health and maintenance of Louisiana’s coast and canals are vital to not only our coastal economy but also to the everyday lives of the folks who live near the water,” said Sen. Kennedy.   “These projects will help protect Louisianans from future storms and hurricanes.”

Bill Highlights:

  • Authorizes the following feasibility studies
    • Lower Mississippi River, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee
    • Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project
    • Northshore Flood Risk Reduction, Louisiana
  • Baptiste Collette Bayou Study - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite the review for the navigation channel deepening study for Baptiste Collette Bayou.
  • Morganza to the Gulf - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite completion of the project for hurricane and storm damage risk reduction for Morganza to the Gulf.
  •  Louisiana Coastal Area - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite

completion of the project for environmental restoration for Louisiana’s coastal areas.

  • Louisiana Coastal Area-Barataria Basin Barrier - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite completion of the project for environmental restoration for the Louisiana coastal area Barataria Basin Barrier.
  • West Shore Lake Pontchartrain - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite completion of the project for hurricane and storm damage risk reduction for West Shore Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Southwest Coastal Louisiana - This section states that the Secretary shall expedite completion of the project for hurricane and storm damage risk reduction and ecosystem restoration for southwest coastal Louisiana.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced the Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act, also known as the JACK ActThe JACK Act would require lobbyists to disclose if they have ever been convicted of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion or money laundering in their lobbying disclosure and registration forms. 

The bill’s title refers to Jack Abramoff, who didn’t have to mention his prison sentence for public bribery and other crimes when he re-registered as a lobbyist last year.  The JACK Act will ensure that members of the public know who is representing them in Washington.

“This idea is simple: If you have been convicted of a felony like bribery, extortion, embezzlement or tax evasion, you should have to disclose that when registering to become a lobbyist.  Corrupt lobbyists need to be brought into the sunlight, even if they’re wearing $6,000 suits,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Political leaders and businesses need to know the backgrounds of those who are trying to influence public policy.  These corrupt lobbyists are the worst kind of swamp creatures and they need a one-way ticket out of Washington.”

“I think many people would be surprised to learn that lobbyists don’t need to disclose if they have been convicted of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion, or money laundering when they register to become a lobbyist, or to the businesses they could be representing and the Congressional offices they could be meeting with.  In any other profession, job interview or job application, you have to disclose that info and it’s just commonsense that those same rules should be applied to lobbyists.  That’s why I’m glad to join my friend Sen. Kennedy in introducing the JACK Act. This bipartisan bill will increase transparency and allow businesses to know who is representing them,” Sen. Manchin said.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted this afternoon in favor of reversing the repeal of net neutrality. 

“There are certain values that need to be preserved with respect to the internet.  They include no illegal censorship, no throttling and no discrimination.  Nearly 20% of all Americans and 22% of all Louisianans have one choice for an internet service provider who can deliver adequate upload and download speeds.  Basically, they don’t have a choice,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The vote came down to one thing and one thing only: How much do you trust your cable company?  I want to be able to trust everyone, but I believe verification is necessary for a free and open internet.  I also believe in love, but I still own a handgun.”

 

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“You can’t be a civilized society if you don’t appreciate and protect art and artists.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La.) today met with Smokey Robinson, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Darlene Love and the late Otis Redding’s daughter Karla on Capitol Hill to discuss legislation that protects the contributions of legendary artists.

The artists were in D.C. to support Sen. Kennedy’s bill, the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act, also known as the CLASSICS Act.  Sen. Kennedy introduced the bill with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in early February.  Their bill will help close a loophole that leaves some of our most cherished artists out of the federal copyright system and denies them fair compensation for their work.

Click here or the image below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s comments.

Sens. Graham, Hatch and Kennedy pictured with Smokey Robinson. 

Sens. Grassley and Kennedy pictured with Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Darlene Love and Karla Redding, the daughter of the late Otis Redding. 

Click here or the image below to watch Smokey Robinson’s opening statement. 

Currently, federal copyright law does not protect sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972.  This has resulted in confusion, litigation and an unfair playing field for iconic artists in Louisiana and across the U.S.  The CLASSICS Act would acknowledge these artists’ contributions by compensating them when digital radio services use their recordings.  The act would bring federal law up to speed with the modern age of music platforms.

The legislation was discussed today at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Art makes us more humane.  It helps us find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This bill helps all artists.  It helps singers, songwriters, engineers, producers.  It helps the digital music industry because our world has changed and the world of music that we love so much has changed as well.”

“I’m very happy to come and represent this proposal,” said Smokey Robinson.  “My message is simple: Musicians who recorded before Feb. 15, 1972, deserve to be compensated the same way as those who recorded after that date.  I know a lot of musicians and producers and writers who have fallen on hard times and could really use that money.”

The CLASSICS Act is supported by the American Association of Independent Music, the Recording Industry Association of America, Pandora, musicFIRST, the Internet Association, the Recording Academy, SoundExchange, Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, the Future of Music Coalition, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and the Living Legends Foundation. 

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We stand ready to break through the confirmation backlog and get the government funded before we break in August” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are asking Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expedite floor consideration on funding bills and President Trump’s nominees, even if the Senate must work nights, weekends and through the August state work period to make substantial progress before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

“I’m ready to work nights and weekends to get the government funded.  I’ll sleep when our work is done,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We shouldn’t jam the President – or the public – with a bad spending deal.  We need to strengthen our military and rebuild our infrastructure.  We need to get this done.”

The senators outlined their request in a letter sent to Leader McConnell on Thursday, May 10, 2018. View the full text of the letter here

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R.-La) and Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-La.) announced $9.3 million in RESTORE Funds for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program.  These funds will be used to build a management plan for the Mississippi River to help improve navigation and reduce flood risk.

“This money will go a long way towards rebuilding and protecting our coast,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Louisiana plays an enormous role in our nation’s economy by providing oil, natural gas and seafood to the rest of the country.  We need to work together to ensure that the Mississippi River is being managed properly so that our state, and country, can thrive.”

“The Mississippi River is key to Louisiana’s economy.  These funds play a crucial role in streamlining navigation and protecting homeowners from flooding,” said Dr. Cassidy.  “This is a piece in the puzzle of restoring our coast and creating jobs.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R.-La) today asked Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar to aggressively pursue implementing work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

Click here to watch the exchange. 

Highlights:

Medicaid Statistics: “I have seen numbers that show of the 70 million people on Medicaid, 28 million aren’t elderly or disabled and they still aren’t working.  We spend about $150 billion a year to take care of these people that could have a job.  Many of these folks would like to know the dignity of work, but they need a little help getting that job.”

Work Requirements: “We need to put together a program not to throw people out in the cold, but to say let us help you get a job.  It’s better for our fellow Americans to know the dignity of work, and it’s better for the American taxpayer.  The Administration needs to loudly and aggressively say that the free market will lift you out of poverty. I understand that the President is busy now, so we need you and CMS to take the lead on it.”

State Participation: “We are going to help people know the dignity of work. We need a program that is not optional for the states. My governor doesn’t want to do it.  I believe in more freedom, and he believes in more free stuff.  I am not criticizing him; I am just describing him.  This program should not be optional for governors.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) congratulated Kurt Engelhardt after the Senate voted to confirm his nomination to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“I’m pleased that Judge Engelhardt has passed the Senate with robust bipartisan support,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Kurt is one of the smartest, most legally thoughtful people I know.  He will be a real asset to the Fifth Circuit.”

“Judge Engelhardt received strong bipartisan support because of his stellar experience and qualifications,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I know he will do a great job upholding the Constitution as written, and I’m proud to see him join Kyle Duncan on U.S. Fifth Circuit.”

Sen. Kennedy spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of Kurt Engelhardt’s nomination to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Click here or the image below to watch the full speech.

Sen. Cassidy also spoke in support of Engelhardt’s nomination on the Senate floor.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) urged members of the Louisiana Legislature today to pause action on House Bill 553, which would authorize an extension of the state’s contract with Harrah’s New Orleans Casino and lock in annual payments to the state.  News reports indicate Harrah’s is considering selling the property.  The state could unwittingly increase Harrah’s selling price by extending the contract without receiving adequate compensation for taxpayers.

Harrah’s signed an agreement in October to allow Vici Properties to buy its New Orleans casino, hotel and parking garage.  Meanwhile, Harrah’s wants an extension of its contract with the state.  That contract – which doesn’t expire for another six years – gives Harrah’s the exclusive right to have a land-based casino in New Orleans.  The agreement with Vici only recently became public knowledge.

“In light of the new information reported in The Advocate, the Legislature needs to put the contract extension on pause.  The contract doesn’t expire for another six years anyway, and the state could be leaving money on the table by making a deal on a property that is about to explode in value,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Harrah’s Vici agreement is a surprise that could shortchange the state.  Eighteen years ago, I was on a commission to study whether Harrah’s should pay millions less in taxes because of cash flow problems.  I wanted the state to get Harrah’s stock options in exchange for lowering Harrah’s payments.  I was out-voted.  Subsequently, Harrah’s stock value went up.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today regarding recent emails that detail inappropriate communications from Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler to a subordinate:

“Secretary Schedler has claimed the truth about the sexual harassment allegations against him by his employee ‘can be found somewhere in the middle.’  The emails published today tell a different story.  They show that he crossed the line and abused his position,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It saddens me to say this, but Tom needs to resign.  There is no place in Louisiana for sexual harassment in the workplace.”

 

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