Legislators have begun filing their bills for the upcoming session. The first three take up gun regulation.
Because this is an odd-numbered year, legislators will concentrate on tax and appropriation bills. But each legislator is allowed to file five bills on other topics. Gun regulation is likely to be a recurring theme.
Nearly $52 million in state cuts to Medicaid services go into effect Friday, Feb. 1. The reductions are part of the Dept. of Health and Hospitals’ response to a mid-year shortfall in Louisiana’s general fund.
The cuts include the elimination of dental benefits for pregnant women and a healthy parenting program for first-time mothers who qualify for Medicaid. Additionally, the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary care services through Medicaid will be dropped by 1 percent.
A coalition of state representatives is pushing a slew of bills and amendments to reform Louisiana’s budget process. The lawmakers are fed up with rushed legislation, cutting higher education and healthcare year after year, and procedural tomfoolery.
The state employee retirement reforms Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed last session were overturned in court last week. Monday, a state committee heard testimony about changes to the firefighters' retirement system that could be considered by the legislature this spring.
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana reported earlier this month that the number of its members retiring from jobs in K-12 education jumped by more than 25 percent last year. The spike came after the legislature passed changes to the way teachers are evaluated, compensated and awarded tenure.
The retirement system’s figures include people retiring from food service, and other non-classroom jobs. And State Superintendent John White says the figures are misleading.
He says the number of teachers leaving the classroom for any reason – including promotion to administrative positions – has in fact remained steady at around 12 percent over the past three years.