Lawmakers face an onslaught of decisions every day at the capitol: vote up or down, pass this amendment, defer that bill... A few key players in this week's Medicaid expansion debate explain why they voted the way they did.
The Louisiana Food Bank Association is asking lawmakers for $5 million dollars in state funds to assist with the purchase of food from farmers, fishermen, and vendors. Food banks have hit a wall with many grocers finding more efficient ways to keep food fresher longer and giving away less of their inventory.
The $5 million dollars would buy more than 2 million pounds of food. Historically the association has received state funding, but didn’t receive any funding for food last year.
The legislature technically decided Wednesday to put off accepting federal funding for health care expansion, which would include more low-income individuals under Medicaid. A series of bills were voluntarily deferred, both in the House and Senate, to be taken up next week. A bill by Rep. Barbara Norton was involuntarily deferred - that’s typically a death sentence for a bill.
The representatives that voted to shelve Norton’s bill did so because they’re unsure of what will happen if they accept the money - despite that the Legislative Fiscal Office testifying that the program would initially save the state money.
Erin Monroe Wesley, C.O.O. of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, discusses her group's legislative agenda for this year and other matters.
Local businessman Steve Myers and Paul Naquin, a resident concerned about occupants of some of Myers' rental properties in his neighborhood. Myers recently won a court case on the matter and they'll talk with Jim about it.
Polls show that the people of Louisiana and the legislature are at odds. Tuesday a constitutional amendment to raise the cigarette tax failed in committee – though recent polls by the American Cancer Society show 73 percent of Louisianians would approve of a tobacco tax increase.