Kelly Connelly

Government & Politics Reporter

Kelly grew up in Baton Rouge. She started out in radio at Baton Rouge High where she was first on air at WBRH and KBRH. While studying film and politics at Hendrix College, she reported and hosted for KUAR in Little Rock, AR. She then moved on to KUT in Austin, TX. She misses the dry air, live music at Studio 1A and breakfast tacos, but is happy for crawfish and non-ironic use of Mardi Gras beads.

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State Retirement Plan
3:19 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Lawmakers to Retry Cash Balance Plan

The contentious plan to revamp the state’s floundering retirement systems was overturned in State Supreme Court on Friday. 

The high court knocked down the law not because of content, but because of how it passed. State law requires a supermajority for this kind of bill to progress. The legislature sent this one to the governor’s desk with only the majority’s approval.

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Same-Sex Marriage
4:38 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

What do DOMA, Prop 8 Mean for LA?

The US Supreme Court may have recognized all marriage as equal Wednesday, but same-sex couple still can’t get married in Louisiana. Same-sex marriages that are valid in other states will not be recognized by the state if the couple chooses to move to Louisiana.

So what does this mean for Louisiana? 

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Coastal Restoration
12:44 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Fisherman, Scientists Continue to Clash on Miss. River Diversions

Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.
Credit Army Corps of Engineers

State plans to restore the coastline are trying to mimic the way the Mississippi built the coast. Thousands of years ago the river dumped sediment from the plains upriver into the marsh. But some fishermen are worried the plans will displace the saltwater fish they catch to make a living.

Fishermen voiced their opposition at a community meeting in St. Bernard Monday.

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Environment
8:19 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Second Deadly Industrial Accident in Ascension Parish in as Many Days

UPDATE 10:14 p.m. CST WRKF's Kelly Connelly on the scene in Donaldsonville:

An industrial accident at North America’s largest nitrogen complex in Donaldsonville, La. has left one dead and at least five injured.

A little after 6 p.m. Friday, a crew at the CF Industries plant loaded too much nitrogen into a transportation tank, causing it to rupture. Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson described the mangled piece of equipment as a popped balloon. Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain told the Associated Press a fire sparked by the blast was quickly extinguished.

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Environment
4:20 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Geismar Plant Explosion Claims a Second Life

Thursday’s chemical plant explosion in Geismar, La. has claimed another life. Seven remained hospitalized Friday with burns and respiratory complications.

Williams Companies CEO Alan Armstrong visited with workers and their families Friday. He called the incident a “major” explosion.

“This is a terrible and unprecedented tragedy," Armstrong said. "I’ve talked with a few of our employees and I know they are hurting, however, I’ve also seen and been inspired by their courage.”

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Environment
1:18 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Deadly Chemical Plant Explosion in Geismar

The plant on fire after it reportedly exploded Thursday in the town of Geismar, La.
Credit Ryan Meador / AP

UPDATED 9:22 p.m. CST:

The injured count is up to 77  and a 29-year-old man is dead after a chemical explosion in Geismar, La. Thursday. 

300 people were evacuated from the Williams Olefins plant, which produces over a billion pounds of propylene and ethylene a year for use in the production of other chemical and plastic products. It was propylene that caught fire after the explosion. Ten workers stayed behind to monitor a burn-off.

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Super-Region
4:52 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Survey Says LA Swift Shut Down Could Hurt Jobs

State plans to shut down the low-cost bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans may harm economic ties between the cities.

According to a survey released Wednesday by The Center for Planning Excellence, more than half of LA Swift riders use the service to get to and from work.

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Capitol Access
8:12 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Legislative Session Wrap-Up: What Sticks, What Doesn't

State lawmakers cheered the end of the 2013 legislative session Thursday.

WRKF’s Kelly Connelly has been following every twist and turn over the past 2 months. News Director Amy Jeffries spoke with Kelly about her time covering the session.

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Capitol Access
9:34 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Lawmakers Head Home with Budget and More

Lawmakers are going home having passed a bipartisan $24 billion state spending plan. 

But they're bringing home more than just the budget to their constituents. WRKF asked lawmakers about the most important thing they passed for their constituents.

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Capitol Access
5:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Budget Passed, Legislature Adjourns for the Session

House members complimented each other Thursday, June 6, 2013, for getting their ducks in a row by the 6 p.m. end-of-session deadline.

In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers have passed a $25.4 billion budget compromise to finance the state for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Senate approved the deal with a 38-1 vote. The House voted 104-0 Thursday and the deal has Gov. Bobby Jindal’s backing.

The budget includes a $69 million increase for local school districts and teachers sought by House Democrats. To address concerns of House Republicans, lawmakers cut down the use of one-time financing for recurring expenses. 

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