The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is considered to be one of the most influential lobbies at the state capitol. But this year, with a looming $1.6 billion budget shortfall, business interests are on shakier ground than usual.

Stephen Waguespack, President of LABI, says there's been no appetite for pension or spending reform. Instead lawmakers have focused on reducing tax breaks that benefit business.


A bill that would require the House Ways and Means and Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committees to get together and find fixes for the state’s tax credit system advanced Thursday.

“They will take the first bite at the apple and come out with a recommendation as to whether or not we will continue those tax credits, revise them, sunset or repeal them,” explained the bill’s author, Rep. Roy Burrell of Shreveport. “That’s a determination that will actually be made, and will be brought back to this body.”

Even though its predictions call for a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season with six to 11 named storms this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says strong and devastating storms remain a possibility.

From NOAA:

Are Black Voters Ready For Hillary Clinton?

May 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton will need black voters if she wants to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency next year. But African American voters were a major reason she lost the early nominating state of South Carolina to Barack Obama by nearly 30 points in 2008.

She's trying to make up for it this time around.

Today the full House considers HB 2, the Capital Outlay bill. That’s the list of state and local construction projects authorized for the next fiscal year.

“We had about 1500 requests this year, representing about $4.6 billion,” Mark Moses with the Office of Facility Planning and Control told the House Ways and Means committee Tuesday. He also said the projects listed in HB 2 already exceed the money available.

“This year’s over-appropriation amount is $258-million.”

Then Wednesday, Moses told the House and Governmental Affairs committee their peers had added more projects to the list.

Nebraska's Legislature voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty, overturning Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto. The state's unicameral legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure in a series of three previous votes.

The repeal comes as other states have experienced complications with new lethal-injection cocktails. But Americans overall still support the practice.

Support for the death penalty has slowly fallen over the past couple of decades, from a high of 80 percent in favor in the mid-1990s to just over 60 percent currently, according to Gallup.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has blocked an Arkansas law that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The case was filed by two doctors on their own and their patients' behalf.

The court's ruling notes:

"By banning abortions after 12 weeks' gestation, the Act prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy at a point before viability. Because the State made no attempt to refute the plaintiffs' assertions of fact, the district court's summary judgment order must be affirmed."

 

A bill to increase a tax credit program by $47-million dollars found favor with the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday. Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger’s HB 70 would double Louisiana’s current Earned Income Tax Credit.

“This allows about 30-percent of the state of Louisiana to keep more of their earned money,” Leger told the committee.

There were the kind of arguments for the bill that you’d expect.

“I see this bill as a response to consistent criticism that I hear – in this building and in the community at large – about people ‘getting something for nothing’,” Leger explained. “This program is one that rewards people for working.”

When the Supreme Court returns for its next term in October, among the cases it has agreed to hear is a challenge to a fundamental practice that has governed American elections for generations.

When public-policy makers talk about a state's population, they generally mean the number of human beings living in that state — as counted or estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That applies to a host of political actions, including the apportionment of seats in Congress and the Electoral College votes that choose the president.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not lift a hold that has stalled President Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president sought to give temporary protection to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

The decision blocks an executive action the White House issued late last year and leaves in place a hold that was issued in February by District Judge Andrew Hanen in South Texas.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: White House Evaluating Options

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