[Editor's Note: This story was last updated at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, 4-19, to include comments from state Sen. Bodi White].
The state and federal response to the floods of 2016 and recommending new nominees for membership on the state Ethics Board will occupy two Senate committees Wednesday afternoon in Baton Rouge.
Sen. Bodi White’s Senate Select Committee on Homeland Security will convene at 2 p.m. in the John Hainkel Room to hear reports from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness on recovery efforts from Louisiana floods in March and August of last year.
A war of words has erupted between Gov. John Bel Edwards and Congressman Garrett Graves over responsibility for recovery funding reaching victims of the two disasters.
Sen. White says he expects a lot of questions from the committee regarding the rehiring of the same project contractor following a controversy over the initial hiring. IEM, a company formerly headquartered in Baton Rouge but now based in North Carolina, was first awarded the $250 million contract. Protests from contractors who did not get the contract resulted in the state withdrawing the contract and re-opening the bid process.
IEM subsequently prevailed in the second bid process and was again awarded the contract.
White, in a telephone interview with The Independent, says he wants to know who was on the review committee during the second bid process and what the state will be getting for its money.
"I'm also very interested in the application process for homeowners," White says. "OCD needs to get those out and let people begin signing up. I also want them to have local signup offices where people can go to get help with the signup process, which I know can be complicated."
White's Senate District 6 stretches from East Baton Rouge Parish across to Tangipahoa parishes and includes parts of Livingston and St. Helena parishes. His district includes some of the areas that were hardest hit by both the March and August floods.
At 3 p.m. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson’s Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet to consider nominees for membership on the state Board of Ethics. The committee will evaluate nominees from two sets of lists submitted by nominating groups
Three nominees remain on List A. They are current board member Robert McAnelly of Baton Rouge; Eunice McCarney of Baton Rouge and Mary Ellen Roy of New Orleans.
List B nominees are: incumbent board member Emile "Peppi" Bruneau of New Orleans, Michelle Carriere of Baton Rouge, Matthew Kent Glover of Morgan City and Sandra McCalla of Shreveport.
You can watch the proceedings of each committee while they meet by going here.