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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Capitol Access
9:18 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Clears House Committee

Department of Health and Hospitals Interim Secretary Kathy Kliebert faces scrutiny from a wing of yea-voters.
Kelly Connelly WRKF

With a one-vote margin, a bill that would force Louisiana to accept federal Medicaid Expansion advanced through the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday.

Governor Bobby Jindal has opposed the Expansion, claiming it would be too expensive and that the federal program doesn’t meet Louisiana’s needs.

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Capitol Access
8:59 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Jindal Promises Continued State Funding for Vouchers

The State Supreme Court has ruled that the state can't pay private school tuition through the same funding channel as it uses to support public schools.

Now, Gov. Bobby Jindal is going to have to find another way to keep the voucher program going.

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Capitol Access
7:22 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Lawmakers Assert Independence on Budget

The legislature’s bipartisan budget negotiations have yielded a late-night preliminary deal, struck after the legislature closed up shop on Monday. The plan will cut tax exemptions and reduce spending to curb the state's dependency on one-time funds.

 

The deal includes cutting tax exemptions by 15 percent across the board. That will free up $329 million, enough to replace a large chunk of the half a billion in one-time funds in next year’s budget.

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Budget Cuts Take Toll on Higher Ed

After five years of steep budget cuts, some members of LSUnited, the faculty union, are hoping the legislature’s budget negotiations will raise enough revenue to prevent further cuts.

Lawmakers are looking at plans to cut tax exemptions and get rid of one-time funds, which might provide more stability to the state’s universities.

Michael Russo, a librarian and an instructor, said LSU’s finances are dismal.

"A half billion here, a half billion there," Russo said, "I don’t know what else they can cut."

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Capitol Access
4:03 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bipartisan Budget Deal in the Works

 

Thursday House Speaker Chuck Kleckley endorsed a plan that would raise revenue and cut spending.

Earlier this week, the budget was on track to avoid much debate on the floor, but it hit a snag on Tuesday.

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Capitol Access
6:05 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Education Overhaul Revisions Get Mixed Reviews

 

The governor announced Wednesday that 8,000 children have been offered a private school voucher for the second year of the program -- 3,000 more than enrolled with this year’s inaugural crop.

The voucher program, passed last session, allows parents of low-income families to take their kids out of schools rated C, D and F and send them to private schools on the state’s dime.

The program’s funding mechanism is awaiting judgement by the State Supreme Court, as are accountability measures, another part of the overhaul.

Meanwhile, bills are popping up this session to refine the overhaul.

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Small Victory for Medicaid Expansion Proponents

A Medicaid Expansion plan passed the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare Tuesday in a 4, 3 vote.

 

Opponents of the expansion repeated the arguments they’ve given throughout the debate: federal funding is unreliable, and the plan will cost the state too much money. 

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

One-time Funds Nixed from Budget, Temporarily

The House Appropriations Committee again called into question the way the Jindal Administration crafts the state’s budget.

 

On Monday the committee passed the budget bill and the funds bill, which allows for interagency transfers, the primary source of one-time funds.

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Capitol Access
8:16 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Expansion, Privitization Could Work Together

 

The state may need to accept the federal Medicaid Expansion to fund LSU hospitals under the new public/private partnerships.

 

That’s according to Steve Spires, with the Louisiana Budget Project, an advocacy group that focuses on the effects of policy changes to low- and middle-income households.

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Capitol Access
10:29 am
Fri April 26, 2013

For or Against: Votes in the Medicaid Expansion Debate

Lawmakers face an onslaught of decisions every day at the capitol: vote up or down, pass this amendment, defer that bill... A few key players in this week's Medicaid expansion debate explain why they voted the way they did.

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