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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Politics
3:03 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Black Justice Sworn in as Supreme Court Chief

Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson
Credit Louisiana Supreme Court

Her honor Bernette J. Johnson was sworn in as Louisiana's first African American chief justice Friday morning. Johnson was only able to take her seat after two civil rights lawsuits.

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Education
10:04 am
Fri February 1, 2013

LSU Supervisors' 'Disregard' Garners National Attention

The rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the organization that issues LSU's accreditation, mandate that "the governing board is free from undue influence from political... bodies."
Credit K. K. Murray

A report  in the Chronicle of Higher Education detailed a letter received by LSU’s Board of Supervisors. A national organization that monitors academic freedom at colleges and universities shook their finger at what they called the mistreatment of faculty at LSU.


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Politics
4:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

First Bills Take Up Gun Regulations

State legislators are likely to consider gun regulation next session - but a recent constitutional amendment might hamper lawmaking.
Credit Alex C. Balla

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. 

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Fiscal Hawks
5:40 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Proposals Offered to Fix Holes in State Budget Process

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.

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State Pensions
6:34 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Pension Actuaries Make Quick Return to Capitol

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.

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Road to 2016
6:05 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Dollars will Show Success of Jindal's National Stumping

FILE: Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2011.
Credit Gage Skidmore

Gov. Bobby Jindal spent the weekend in Washington, D.C., attracting widespread attention with a set of speeches. Many national pundits think Jindal is laying groundwork for a presidential bid in 2016.

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State Pensions
5:19 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Changes to State Employee Retirement Unconstitutional

Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed the 401K-style retirement plan for future rank-and-file state workers last year. Thursday, a state judge struck it down.

Judge William Morvant called his ruling, “purely procedural.”

He said the law that swaps out monthly retirement payments for a “cash-balance” plan for new hires needed a two-thirds majority to pass since it raises the cost of the retirement plan.

Throughout the hearing Thursday, the opposing sides attacked the credibility of each other’s auditor.

Education
11:26 am
Thu January 24, 2013

LSU Cuts Ties with Truancy Intervention Program

Louisiana State University will end its affiliation with the Truancy Assessment and Service Center because of mid-year budget cuts.

Last year after Cecile Guin, the head of TASC, convinced the Legislature to preserve funding for the program.

TASC intervenes in elementary school students’ lives when it’s reported that they’ve missed school.

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Environment
11:16 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Coastal Group Leader's Interest Questioned

The state-affiliated Water Institute, founded in 2011, touts itself as an independent organization that’s bringing the best scientists in the nation together to conduct research and recommend policies to the state on how to preserve the eroding coast.

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Politics
10:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Borrowing for Rural Road Projects Spread Out

The state legislature approved $325 million dollars worth of  road improvement projects for rural areas of the state  last year. The projects are slated to be completed over a three year span. The Department of Transportation announced on Friday evening that they’ll borrow the money in chunks, instead of all at once, as planned. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said in a statement that’s to relieve the state budget of baring the three-year fiscal load in one year.

But State Treasurer John Kennedy said borrowing money in stages doesn’t make financial sense.

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