Jessica Rosgaard

Hello!

As part of a collaboration between WWNO and WRKF in Baton Rouge, we bring you the Capitol Access Recap - a weekly review of what happened in the state Legislature.

The Louisiana legislature has finished its first week of the regular session. Gov. John Bel Edwards laid out his legislative priorities in an address to the chamber on Monday. Edwards also appeared before the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations to support bills that would raise the state minimum wage and require state contractors to abide by the Equal Pay for Women Act.

Wallis Watkins / WRKF

The state Legislature is back at work today. Just one week after ending a rocky special session, Gov. John Bel Edwards used his State of the State address to urge lawmakers to work together and move forward.

Gov. John Bel Edwards toured flood damage in New Orleans Monday. Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke to business owners and residents in the Treme where cleanup is underway.

Windell Bean’s family has owned their home on St. Ann for 53 years. Other than Katrina, the house hasn’t flooded since 1978. That is until Saturday, when it took on 4 inches of water.

Since last August, the popularity of flood insurance has again surged in Louisiana, but the future of the debt-laden National Flood Insurance Program is uncertain. Since 2005, the program has racked up $24.6 billion in liability to the U.S. Treasury, mostly due to claims after Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the Great Louisiana Flood of 2016. That’s just one way that Louisiana’s past is influencing the federal program’s future.

86 thousand homes in Louisiana had damage from flooding last year, and state recovery officials are working to distribute federal recovery dollars to flood victims. In order to find out who flooded and how badly, the state set up a survey; only 31 thousand households have filled it out.

Republican Congressmen from Louisiana have repeatedly criticized Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards' management of flood recovery. That fight continued in Washington on Wednesday, where Edwards testified before the House Government and Oversight Reform Committee

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) -- and others -- pounded Edwards with scathing criticism for almost three hours. 

To provide more context on the hearing, WWNO's Jessica Rosgaard sat down with Molly Peterson, who has been reporting on flood recovery for the Louisiana Public Radio Partnership. 

Senator Bill Cassidy held the first of five Louisiana town hall meetings Tuesday night in Livingston Parish. As WWNO’s Jessica Rosgaard reports, the audience of about 300 people asked questions about flood recovery and the policies of the Trump administration.

The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Under-Prepare For Disasters examines human behavior and disaster preparedness, trying to answer the question: why, with our ability to forsee and protect against natural catastrophes, do humans fail to protect ourselves and our communities from disaster? WWNO’s Jessica Rosgaard spoke to co-author Robert Meyer about how humans can overcome the psychological hurdles to disaster preparedness.

The Restore Louisiana Task Force has scheduled public meetings in four parishes affected by the 2016 floods.

Residents will have an opportunity to review and comment on the Task Force proposal for most recent $1.2 billion dollars in recovery funds from the federal government. 

The meetings will be live-streamed on the Task Force website for residents unable to attend -- and the full text of the proposal is available here.

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