Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) raised concerns today about the Louisiana Department of Corrections’ ability to protect the public after the state’s district attorneys indicated that nearly a quarter of inmates released early through Gov. Edwards’ Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act have been arrested again.  At least two of the rearrested inmates are behind bars on murder charges.

Inmates were released without the probation and parole boards evaluating the risk to public safety.  In Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes, one in three inmates who were released early has already reoffended. 

The Justice Reinvestment Act has saved the state money, but few of the savings appear to be funding recidivism reduction efforts.  News reports indicate that pilot programs aimed at working with high risk offenders fizzled.

“It’s clear to me that DOC doesn’t know what it’s doing, and people are getting killed as a result.  You can’t let criminals out of jail and just expect them to behave.  That’s like starving a fox and then asking him to guard the henhouse,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “No one reviewed DOC’s early release decisions, and now the public is suffering the consequences.  The state might be saving money by emptying the prisons, but law enforcement and district attorneys are stuck with the tab for arresting and prosecuting these criminals over and over again.  Even worse, the public’s been placed in danger because of DOC’s incompetence.”

Here are a few of those rearrested:

  • Despite more than 60 arrests on his rap sheet, Tyrone “Smokey” White walked out of prison early because of Louisiana’s Justice Reinvestment Act.  White promptly robbed two roofers at gunpoint.
  • Ricko Canaz Ball – also known as Oil Slickster for his habit of breaking into automobile-related stores – was released in November despite a string of theft convictions.  He was arrested again in January in half a dozen burglaries.
  • Habitual offender Alton Brooks Jr. racked up four arrests within two months of his early release.  The new charges include battery of a police officer.  Brooks has a criminal history that consumes 51 pages.
  • Richard McLendon got out of prison a year early because of Gov. Edwards’ criminal reform package.  He was arrested in June for gunning down a 61-year-old man in Haughton.  
  • Paul Jackson got out of prison five months early.  He’s now back in jail on a murder charge.

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump tweeted support today for U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) call to add work requirements for food stamps to the final version of the Farm Bill.  

“I would like to thank President Trump for supporting this important reform to the food stamp program.  We need to help people thrive,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I don’t want to take food stamps away from people in need.  I want fewer people to need food stamps.  And the best way to do that is to implement a work requirement for food stamps.  As the House Farm Bill provides, if you are between 18 and 59, aren’t disabled and don’t have a child under six, you can still get food stamps but you also have to work 20 hours a week.  We will help you get a job; thanks to the tax cuts passed by President Trump and Congress, employers are begging for workers.  The goal of every government welfare program, including food stamps, should be to help people get a job.  There is dignity in work!”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today to advocate that work requirements be added for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, in the final version of the Farm Bill.
 

“Government assistance was designed to be an off-ramp to help people leave poverty in their tracks, but it’s become a parking lot,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “People are stuck there, impoverished, with no exit in sight.  Farm Bill conferees will have the rare chance to fix it.  I want to urge my colleagues to consider adding a work requirement to SNAP in the final version of the Farm Bill.  I want an America that spends less money on food stamps because fewer Americans need help putting food on the table.  We owe it to the American taxpayer, and to every American who relies on SNAP, to reform the program so that it works as it was originally intended.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full floor speech. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued a statement today after the Senate passed a four-month reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The reauthorization protects more than 500,000 properties across Louisiana through the remainder of hurricane season.

“It would have been bone-deep, down-to-the-marrow stupid to let the National Flood Insurance Program expire in the middle of hurricane season, and my colleagues realized that,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “With this extension in place, we can tackle long-term reforms.  The last time we truly reformed the NFIP was never.  It’s about time we did.  The program needs to be affordable and sustainable.”

Sen. Kennedy has pushed for an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program while working on long-term reforms that will keep premiums affordable for families. 

A year ago, Sens. Kennedy, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) introduced comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to make much-needed reforms to address the waste and abuse in the program.  The legislation, entitled “The Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2017,” protects policyholders from excessive rate hikes.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement after the Senate called a vote for 12:15 p.m. EST Tuesday on a four-month reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):

“For millions of Americans – not to mention thousands of Louisianans ? the National Flood Insurance Program is not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We need to reform this program, but we also need to keep it alive through the end of hurricane season.  People have been living near the water since Moby Dick was a minnow.  Few of them are living in luxury beach homes.  A reauthorization gives us time to make meaningful changes without scaring five million Americans half to death.”

To watch the vote live, visit https://www.senate.gov/ and click on “Floor Webcast.” 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the U.S. Senate floor yesterday in support of former U.S. Rep. John Fleming’s recent nomination.  Dr. Fleming is nominated to be the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development.

“Dr. Fleming has dedicated his life to public service, both as a military veteran and as a four-time elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “He’s run his own family medicine practice for decades, created jobs for hundreds of people in Louisiana and served his country in the U.S. Navy.  He’s just a great guy.  I’m honored to support his nomination to the Department of Commerce.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s remarks. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today to urge his colleagues to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program and not abandon millions of Americans in the middle of hurricane season. 

The National Flood Insurance Program expires in less than a week on July 31.  There are more than 500,000 flood insurance policies in Louisiana.  Only Texas and Florida have more policyholders.


Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full remarks.

Highlights from the speech: 

Promises Need To Be Kept:  “Without Congressional action, ordinary Americans, the ones who get up and go to work every day, will suffer.  Our constituents work hard to earn enough to cover their mortgages, pay their insurance premiums, put food on the table and hopefully have a little extra when all is said and done.  The federal government made a promise to more than five million hardworking Americans, and half a million Louisianans, that we would have their backs.  It’s high time that Congress gets its act together.  The NFIP is just too important to be used as a political football.  For millions of folks in my state and elsewhere, this program is the only way that they can protect their most valuable assets.  At a minimum, we owe those hardworking Americans some peace of mind.”

Brink of Disaster: “The reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program has never been more urgent.  We are now fewer than five session days from the brink of disaster.  If the NFIP is allowed to expire on July 31, Congress will be sending a clear message to the five million hardworking Americans who count on the program: We don’t care.”

Poisonous Rhetoric: “Last September, when Texas and parts of Louisiana were still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, a member of Congress said, and I quote, “The federal government is encouraging and subsidizing people to live in harm’s way … at some point, God is telling you to move.”

We’ve Lived Near The Water Since Biblical Times: “Living near water is an economic necessity, and hardworking people have settled near water since the beginning of time.  It’s as true for us now as it was in biblical times that our economies and our livelihoods are tied to water.  Take the Mississippi River: Each year, it sustains 1.3 million jobs and generates more than $405 billion in revenue.  How many jobs are tied to the 12,000 miles of U.S. coastline?  What would the economic impact be if everyone who lived near one of the 3.5 million miles of rivers in this great country picked up and moved?  I hope, for the good of our economy, we never find out.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a huge win for Louisiana families who make their living shrimping and fishing, the U.S. Senate voted 87-11 today in favor of an amendment by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) to spend an additional $3.1 million in Fiscal Year 2019 – or 26% more - on imported seafood inspections.  The amendment aims to tackle funding problems that result in only roughly 2% of seafood imports receiving FDA inspections.

The amendment, which was attached to H.R. 6147, addresses concerns that were raised by Louisiana shrimpers during a meeting with Sen. Kennedy earlier this summer in Houma.  U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) is a co-sponsor.

“Louisiana produces the best seafood in the world.  Unfortunately our commercial fishermen have to compete with foreign fishermen who are unfairly subsidized by their governments, face virtually no environmental regulations and pump their product full of drugs.  Other countries know they can cheat because the U.S. can only inspect a fraction of what’s coming in.  That’s about to change,” said Sen. Kennedy. 

“Louisiana shrimpers are being undercut by inferior, uninspected seafood from foreign countries,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This measure increases the FDA’s ability to inspect foreign seafood coming into our country, protecting American consumers and Louisiana workers.”

Click here or the link below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s floor remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will meet with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh Tuesday, July 24, at 2:30 p.m. EST in Sen. Kennedy’s office.  Credentialed members of the media will be invited in for a brief photo spray at the top of the meeting and should arrive by 2:15 p.m. EST.  No audio or questions will be permitted.  Media must RSVP in advance.

 

WHO:

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh

WHAT:

Photo spray only

WHERE:

374 Russell Senate Office Building

WHEN:

2:30 p.m. EST

TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 24

 

To RSVP please email Michelle_Millhollon@kennedy.senate.gov or Meredith_Jones@kennedy.senate.gov.

 

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