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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voiced concerns today about the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act.  Those concerns include the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Correction’s ability to competently administer it.  Under the act, Louisiana began releasing inmates in November in order to lower populations at prisons across the state.  Included in the release were career criminals who have already committed additional crimes and are back in jail. 

“Regardless of what you think about the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act, I have zero confidence in the ability of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections to administer it in a way that protects the people of Louisiana from violent criminals,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “With its numerous scandals over the past couple of years, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ leadership has repeatedly shown that it is unfit to administer such a program, especially one that puts career criminals back on the streets.  Gov. Edwards needs to give serious consideration to suspending the inmate releases and fixing the problems at Public Safety and Corrections first instead of emptying out the prisons.”

Click here to watch the video.

Sen. Kennedy notes that:

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office found that the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections violated public bid laws by embarking on a $6.3 million building renovation for Prison Enterprises without seeking bids.  The work went to department head Jimmy

 

  • LeBlanc’s colleagues and his niece’s husband. Read More.
  • WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge caught the department allowing inmates convicted of violent crimes and sex offenses to repeatedly leave prison to play music at nursing homes and interact with children at a park.  When confronted, the department said it made a mistake.  Read More
  • Allegations of nepotism, fraud, and theft have been leveled against numerous wardens and senior administrators. Read More.
  • Former Louisiana State Police Supt. Col. Mike Edmonson was caught sneaking an unconstitutional, $300,000 retirement boost for himself and a colleague through the Louisiana Legislature.  Read More.
  • State troopers took an unauthorized road trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon on Louisiana taxpayers’ dime.  They spent thousands of taxpayer dollars and kept their jobs.  Read More.
  • State Police insisted that a motorcycle patrolman making $147,000 a year in overtime worked every single hour he claimed.  WVUE-TV had to conduct surveillance that caught the trooper at home when he was supposed to be working before any action was taken.  Read More.

The Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act calls for DOC to review Louisiana’s prison population for early release opportunities in order to cut costs.  The savings will allow Louisiana officials to continue their spending sprees. Already, 1,900 inmates have been released with more due to be freed every month.

The releases are happening even though:

  • The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office found that DOC can’t keep proper tabs on where inmates are located even when they’re under lock and key at a parish prison.  DOC also often calculates release dates incorrectly.  Read More.
  • DOC blew $3.6 million on an updated inmate tracking system.  The department used the new system for six weeks before abandoning it.  Read More.
  • Released inmates already are being rearrested, including:
    • A 24-year-old man who has been arrested more than 60 times and walked out of prison early last month because of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act.  He promptly robbed two roofers at gunpoint.  Police tracked him down after residents saw him pulling on car door handles in Kenner. Read More.
    • A Winn Parish man who was out for a week before he was rearrested.  His own mother turned him in, saying he’s a career criminal who refuses to get a job.  Winn Parish Sheriff Cranford Jordan said the release program has no structure.  Read More.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his opposition today to the Fix National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act.  Under the bill, federal agencies and states would be asked to do a better job of reporting criminal offenses and other information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database, designed to control who can purchase a gun.  The bill would threaten federal agencies with loss of bonus pay for shoddy compliance and offer states greater access to federal grants in exchange for full compliance.

“I abhor the tragedy that occurred in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and the bureaucratic incompetence that contributed to it.  That doesn’t mean we need to put yet another law on the books,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “State and federal workers already get an incentive for loading records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.  It’s called a paycheck.  If they don’t want to do their job, then fire a few of them.  The rest will fall into line.  One of the main problems in making government more efficient is that nobody ever gets fired.  The simple truth is that we should be firing government bureaucrats if they are not doing their job, not telling them ‘pretty please with sugar on top’ and giving them more taxpayer money.”   

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that FEMA is granting $7.2 million to East Baton Rouge School Board, Baker Schools System, West Feliciana Parish, and Ouachita Parish to repair damage caused by the 2016 March and August flooding.

“I would like to thank FEMA for continuing to help Louisiana during the rebuilding process,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Every bit of funding counts, and this money will restore a pump station, levees, a bridge and schools.”

A summary of the grants is listed below:

Ouachita Parish

  • $1,108,093.66 in federal funding to Ouachita Parish for permanent repairs to a pump station and two levees that flooded during the 2016 March and August flooding. 

West Feliciana Parish

  • $1,155,670.20 in federal funding to West Feliciana Parish Island Road Bridge for permanent repairs to the bridge that washed-out during the 2016 March and August flooding.  

Baker School System

  • $1,475,961.30 in federal funding to Baker Schools System for permanent repairs to their Aertker Building that flooded during the 2016 March and August flooding. 

East Baton Rouge School Board

  • $2,457,185.76 in federal funding to East Baton Rouge School Board (Brookstown Magnet Middle School) for permanent repairs to six buildings that flooded during the 2016 March and August flooding.
  • $1,015,877.25 in federal funding to East Baton Rouge School Board for permanent repairs to the Wilma C. Montgomery Center.  The Center flooded and was damaged during the 2016 March and August flooding.

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on his meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

“We had a very productive meeting this morning with Attorney General Sessions and Mayor Landrieu.  We are closer to a resolution then we were yesterday.  The Attorney General made two reasonable requests.   First, he wants to ensure that the city of New Orleans notifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at least 48 hours before the city releases illegal immigrants who are already in jail.  Second, he wants the city to allow ICE to interview these illegal immigrants while they are in the custody of the city.  Again, these are reasonable requests, and I hope the Mayor will agree to them.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has signed on to his bill to end the diversity visa lottery program.  The diversity visa lottery program currently gives out 50,000 visas every year.  Visas through the diversity visa lottery program are not given out based on employment, or family, or need, but instead are given out through a randomly selected lottery program.  According to reports, six terror-linked foreigners have entered the U.S. through the diversity lottery.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Johnson for joining me in this important effort to secure our immigration system,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We need to have an immigration program that is at the very least merit-based in part.  You shouldn’t be picked to come to the United States based on the merit of luck.”

“Our immigration system needs to favor a merit-based approach, not one that admits immigrants on a random basis without regard for how an individual will contribute to our economy,” said Sen. Johnson.

The Uzbekistani terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who killed 8 people and injured almost a dozen pedestrians in New York City on Oct. 31 this year, entered the country after obtaining a visa through the diversity visa lottery program.  There have been national security concerns with the program for years.  In 2003, the inspector general of the State Department testified that the program “contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents.”

 

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“Every reasonable person with a passing knowledge of our banking system knows the destabilizing effect that Dodd-Frank has had on local economies, community banks, and credit unions” – Sen. Kennedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and a group of bipartisan group of senators have reached an agreement that will provide much-needed relief to community banks, credit unions and other institutions unfairly punished for the 2008 financial crisis.  The agreement will scale back portions of the Dodd-Frank Act while still protecting consumers.

“It makes no sense to apply the immense regulatory burden of Dodd-Frank on our smaller financial institutions.  Every reasonable person with a passing knowledge of our banking system knows the destabilizing effect that Dodd-Frank has had on local economies, community banks, and credit unions,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This agreement will help small businesses and rural communities rebuild and grow while also helping our veterans and senior citizens.”

“A strong and vibrant economy is important for American consumers, businesses, and the stability of the financial sector,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. “The bipartisan proposals on which we have agreed will significantly improve our financial regulatory framework and foster economic growth by right-sizing regulation, particularly for smaller financial institutions and community banks. I thank all of the senators who have joined with us to move this forward, and look forward to continuing our work to achieve a robust, bipartisan legislative product.”

The bipartisan group of senators who support the agreement are as follows: Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Corker (R-TN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), David Perdue (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Gary Peters (D-MI). 

For a section-by-section summary, click here.

“With so many children in need of loving families, we should do everything in our collective power to make the adoption process more accessible and affordable for families.” – Sen. Kennedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been in talks with and has sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today strongly urging him to maintain the Adoption Tax Credit when the committee moves forward on tax reform legislation.

“I believe that an important part of being pro-life is being pro-adoption.  With so many children in need of loving families, we should do everything in our collective power to make the adoption process more accessible and affordable for families who want to provide a caring home to these children,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The Adoption Tax Credit goes a long way towards achieving that goal.”

Click here or read below for the full text of the letter sent to Chairman Hatch:

 

November 8, 2017

 

The Honorable Orrin Hatch

Senate Committee on Finance

219 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-6200

 

Dear Chairman Hatch,

 

            Since 1997, the Adoption Tax Credit has encouraged families to consider adoption by increasing its affordability.  I strongly encourage you to maintain the Adoption Tax Credit when the Senate Committee on Finance moves forward on tax reform legislation.

Adoption typically costs a family between $60,000 and $70,000.  Most adoptive families are considered middle-income taxpayers.  Adoption costs can be prohibitive for these families if they are not offset, even if the family has a desire to give a forever home to a child who needs one.  The Adoption Tax Credit of up to $13,570 helps make those adoption expenses more manageable for these families.  

In 2015, there were more than 670,000 children who spent time in U.S. foster care and 62,000 of them were waiting for adoption. In my home state of Louisiana nearly 5,000 children are in foster care with over 500 of them waiting for adoptive families. Although the tax credit costs nearly $355 million, we know that the federal government actually saves between $65,000 and $127,000 on every adopted child because these children are spared long-term foster care.  These savings are established from reduced need for direct child welfare services.  Most importantly, there is no way to put a price on the impact that a loving family has on a child’s present and future.

I believe that an important part of being pro-life is being pro-adoption.  With so many children in need of loving families, we should do everything in our collective power to make the adoption process more accessible and affordable for families who want to provide a caring home to these children.  The Adoption Tax Credit goes a long way towards achieving that goal.

            As you consider tax reform, I respectfully ask that you maintain the Adoption Tax Credit so that we can continue to provide financial support to our adoptive families. I appreciate your consideration on this matter. 

                       

                                                                        Sincerely,

 

 

                                                                        John Kennedy

                                                                        United States

 

“We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. The laws surrounding immigration need to look like someone designed them on purpose.” – Sen. Kennedy


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would end the diversity visa lottery program. The diversity visa lottery program currently gives out 50,000 visas every year. Unlike other visas, these are not given out based on employment, or family, or need, but instead, are given out through a randomly selected lottery program.

Click here to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full statement:

Common-Sense Issue: “If you tried to design a more irrational immigration program than the diversity visa lottery program, you couldn’t do it. It’s stupid. It’s nonsense on a stick. We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. The laws surrounding immigration need
to look like someone designed them on purpose. The diversity visa lottery program is not one of
those laws.”


Merit-Based System: “We need to have an immigration program that is at the very least merit-based
in part. We should be asking immigrants: ‘Why do you want to come to the United
States?’ ‘How likely are you to assimilate?’ ‘What are your job skills?’ ‘What are your
educational attainments?’ and ‘How are you going to help move this economy forward?’”


National Security Issue: “The diversity visa lottery system is how the monster from Uzbekistan
made it into the United States. The terrorist who drove a rented pickup truck down a bike path in
New York City and killed eight people. You shouldn’t be picked to come to the United States
based on the merit of luck.”


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced Wednesday that the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana will receive an additional $9.6 million to protect 21,000 acres of wetlands in Calcasieu Parish.  The additional funding brings the total project award to $25.6 million.

“We are on track to lose our wetlands within 200 years.  That’s two lifetimes,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This vital project targets the erosion that is occurring in the Calcasieu Ship Channel because of saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico.  By building barriers, we will preserve habitats for fish and wildlife.”

The money will go toward the Calcasieu River Salinity Control construction project.  The funding comes from fines related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that he and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will meet with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday, Nov. 16, to determine how New Orleans can become compliant with federal law.

“I appreciate the Mayor’s willingness to come to Washington, D.C., in order to resolve this issue,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I was happy to facilitate this meeting, and I am confident that we can reach a solution that allows New Orleans to continue to receive vital law enforcement funding while honoring the rule of law.”