Amy Jeffries

News Director

Amy started her career in public radio at WNPR in Hartford, CT more than a decade ago. NPR flew her in to Baton Rouge to help WRKF cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while she was still based in the North. Here she found her journalistic calling.

After getting a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley and taking a detour through online media as a local editor for Patch, she finally returned to public radio and to Baton Rouge in January 2012.

Ways To Connect

Pickleball court
USAPA

The newest sport to be played in the National Senior Games — taking place in Minnesota next month — pickleball.

The guy directing the competition, Tom Burkhart, is a Baton Rougean. And at a local gym, players have been practicing.
 


Warren Drake had success running the Zachary School District, and then went over to the state Department of Education for a seemingly good gig working on curriculum.

Now he’s the acting and incoming superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish District. Why would he want to do that?

Because this is where he started, in 1974, as a teacher and then administrator, before  becoming Zachary’s superintendent for its first 10 years after it broke away from the parish district.

Sue Lincoln
Kelly Tate

The state legislature is adjourned.

WRKF's Sue Lincoln explains that lawmakers passed a veto-proof budget in the final hours of the session and headed home.


Amy Jeffries / WRKF

As many as twenty-two states have budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year. Louisiana is dealing with one of the biggest — $1.6 billion.

As lawmakers wrestle with the problem, they essentially have two choices: cut spending or raise taxes.

But, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ambitions for higher office are complicating the debate.

 


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.


As a teacher of teachers at LSU, Steve Bickmore is focused on getting teachers to expand reading lists to include more books like that reflect their students’ lives, like Jaqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming, Coe Booth's Tyrell, and Kwame Alexander's Crossover. And he’ll be highlighting that at LSU’s upcoming conference on the theme of African-American cultures in young adult literature, May 31-June 5. 

 


A bill prohibiting abortions based on the baby's sex was approved by Louisiana's full House Thursday. The bill's author, Houma Rep. Lenar Whitney explained why she brought the bill.

"The practice of sex-selection abortion has made its way from the Asian nations to inside our borders here in the United States," Whitney said.

Whitney said those cultures prefer boys over girls, and this is about protecting mothers and their potential daughters. "In high Asian immigrant populations, many of these women were coerced into abortions and threatened by divorce and violence if they did not bear sons."

We are checking back in with a series of conversations about what to do with East Baton Rouge Parish schools.

Anna Fogle is the parent of two kids in the schools and helped organize the Beyond Bricks listening sessions and Rev. Gerard Robinson of McKowen Baptist has been a host for some of them.

They’ll be presenting the results of those conversations at community assemblies over the next several weeks. The schedule is at beyondbricksebr.org.

The state House spent most of the day Thursday debating a long list of tax increases and reductions to tax breaks. Lawmakers are trying to figure out how to get or keep more money in the treasury to help out higher education and healthcare in next year’s budget. But that’s got higher ed and healthcare pitted against industry.

Sherri McConnell is a consultant now and ran the tax incentives program for the entertainment industry for years within the Louisiana Economic Development department, so she’s been watching some pieces of this puzzle very closely.

 Demonstrators for and against same-sex marriage rallied in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.
Emily Jan / NPR

This week, in the Obergefell case, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the 14th amendment— the one with the equal protection clause — requires states to license marriages between people of the same sex or if requires states to recognize same-sex marriages conferred by another state.  

To that question, Louisiana says no in a friend-of-the-court brief that 15 states signed on to.

Kyle Duncan is the counsel of record on that brief, and is defending Louisiana's constitutional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in other cases. In one case, the state has sued the Dept. of Labor over a change to the Family and Medical Leave Act that would extend benefits to same-sex spouses.
 


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