Wallis Watkins

Joint Committee Seeks More Flexibility In Louisiana Budget

Legislators will start grappling with a $1 billion budget shortfall next week. Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a republican from Slidell, says budgeting becomes even harder when certain accounts automatically get money — they call these dedicated funds.

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Community Mourns At Candlelight Vigil After Deadly School Shooting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm3q14hgXYE Thousands gathered for a candlelight vigil in Parkland, Fla., to honor the memory of the 17 people killed on Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a local high school. There were tearful remembrances at the Pine Trails Park Amphitheater, as well as open sobbing, and at one point, some in the crowd erupted into a chant of "No more guns!" According to police, a former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz , arrived at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High...

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media commons

A task force looking at dividing crimes into classes is close to drafting its final recommendations.

“I think we could propose having Class D be a zero-to-10-year class; Class E be a zero-to-five-year class,” suggests Scott Nettles, an attorney from Livingston.

But the Felony Class System Task Force is also looking to see if this will help solve the problem of calculating actual prison time.

Sue Lincoln

They've been meeting for more than a year, but now the state's Riverboat Economic Development Task Force is preparing its recommendations for the upcoming legislative session.

Sue Lincoln

Just 15 days remain until Gov. John Bel Edwards’ self-imposed deadline for legislative leaders to agree on a fix for the fiscal cliff.

 

“Jan. 19 — the day we present our executive budget proposal," he says is the last day for an agreement, in order to call a special session prior to the March 12 start of the regular legislative session.

Untangling The TTF

Jan 3, 2018
media commons

Before being elected U.S. senator, former state Treasurer John Kennedy for several years was insistent that unlocking statutory dedications would help with what ails Louisiana’s budget.

 

"The Legislature set these funds up by a majority vote," Kennedy told Capitol Access in early 2015. "The Legislature can unset them up by a majority vote, as well."

 

But the current legislative subcommittee combing through stat deds keeps running into snarls.

Sue Lincoln

"This is now becoming not an exercise on paper, and a 'what-if?' – it's about to become reality."

 

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was referring to the fiscal cliff, during the most recent Revenue Estimating Conference meeting. Dardenne then asked the Office of Planning and Budget’s Manfred Dix for an analysis of the ripple effect of cutting a billion dollars from the state budget.

Roseau Cane Update

Jan 1, 2018
visitpasadena.org / LSU AgCenter

While you oooh and ahhh over the intricate use of flowers and plants ornamenting today's Rose Parade floats in Pasadena, California, Louisiana officials continue to fret about the die off of a necessary marshland plant — Roseau cane.

 

"We've now got observations of the invasive scale in 13 parishes," reports Jim Pahl with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

LSU AgCenter

Planting spring flowering bulbs now is critical for proper growth and development later on in spring. This applies to bulbs like tupis and hyacinths.

Marit Vatne

How to summarize the year 2017 in state politics? Somewhat less trauma, but much of the same drama.

For the second year in a row, we had back-to-back-to-back legislative sessions, with Senate President John Alario repeating what became a familiar prediction: "There isn't a whole lot looks like that's going to get accomplished in this session."

JMC Analytics

Starting in early 2018, state policymakers will be looking ahead to the 2021 redistricting process. While many are focused on a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, longtime Louisiana politicians admit the concerns that case raises are not new to the Bayou State.

legis.la.gov

I think I can confidently predict one political policy hot topic for the coming year: redistricting.

Also known as "reapportionment," it's come up no less than four times in meetings this past month alone.

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