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
9:37 am
Fri April 12, 2013

LSU Ok to Lease Hospitals Without Lege Approval, DOE Seeks Restructuring

Legislative approval is not required for LSU to lease its hospitals, that’s according to an opinion issued Thursday by State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. A law passed in 1997 gave governance of hospitals to LSU, and a 2003 amendment didn’t include leases on the list of things LSU has to go to the Capitol for – so Caldwell ruled leasing “intentionally omitted.”

The opinion hasn’t stopped the legislature from trying to intervene in privatization. The House moved a resolution to stop the process until the legislature has more information.

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Earl K Long Closure Officialized, Education Changes Proposed

Lawmakers have put the final nail in the coffin to close LSU’s public hospital in North Baton Rouge. In Wednesday’s Joint Budget Committee, the Baton Rouge delegation pointed to gaps in care for pregnant women, prisoners and mental health services.

Sen. Sharon Broome said she was appalled that the decades-old initiative to revamp facilities at Earl K Long morphed into moving services.  “And we tried our best to get a new facility," Broome said. "Administrations change, goals change. I understand that. But I am very concerned when goals change and people are not considered.”

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2013 Legislative Session
6:00 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Capitol Access: Lege Picks Up Tax Reform, Looks to Ark. for ACA

The legislature is already taking up Governor Bobby Jindal’s charge to move a bill to phase out the income tax, just a day after the governor ditched his own plan for repeal.

In his speech to lawmakers Monday, Jindal didn't mention maintaining his requirement that any new tax changes be revenue neutral.

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2013 Legislative Session
11:56 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Capitol Access: Lawmakers Tackle Tax Reform, Budget, Healthcare Day One

The Legislature is already taking up Gov. Bobby Jindal’s charge to move a bill to phase out the income tax, just a day after the governor ditched his own plan for repeal. The House will consider sending fiscal-hawk Rep. Kirk Talbot’s six-year income tax phase-out to the House Ways and Means Committee when it convenes at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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2013 Legislative Session
8:57 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Capitol Access: Jindal 'Parks' Tax Plan, Ignores Budget

Governor Jindal’s opening address to the legislature didn’t mention healthcare, higher education, or the budget in general. Instead, he flabbergasted lawmakers and media with a thirteen-minute long speech ditching his plan to raise sales tax revenue to replace the income tax. But he didn’t abandon the initiative altogether.

“I know that several of you have already filed bills to phase-out the income tax," Jindal said. "What I’m here to tell you is this: even as we park our bill, I call on you. Let’s work together. Let’s pass a bill this session to get rid of the income tax once and for all in the state of Louisiana.”

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Session 2013
9:27 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Capitol Access: 2013 Session Preview

Lawmakers from across the state convene Monday to kick-off the 2013 legislative session. It’s an odd-numbered year, so officials are tackling mostly fiscal matters – including Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate the income tax. He wants to make up the revenue by increasing the sales tax by 2.25 percent. The proposal has already met a litany of criticism.

Bob Mann – a political analyst and communications director for former Governor Kathleen Blanco – thinks the bill has slim chances. “It looks as if it’s not going to make it out of committee – at least not in its current form," Mann said.

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State Budget 2013
5:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Appropriations Questions DOE Surplus

House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin and Vice-Chair Simone Champagne hear testimony from Department of Education officials as they continue sifting through the state's proposed budget.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 While departments across the state are seeing steep cuts, the Department of Education has been getting more than it needs, according to accusations Wednesday in a House Appropriations Committee meeting.

Committee chairman Jim Fannin noted: year after year, the department has been allocated more money than it spent. In fiscal year 2012 the department's actual expenditures were $400 million dollars less than its $5.6 billion dollar operating budget.

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Budget 2013
6:01 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Appropriations Committee Frowns on BESE Transparency Efforts

The House Appropriations Committee is questioning the number and necessity of contracts that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains with private entities.

At a committee meeting Tuesday Chairman Jim Fannin told BESE President Chas Roemer that contracts should be reviewed more often, so that the board can ensure the funds are being spent wisely. BESE cut costs last year by reducing the number of meetings from ten to seven a year, which gave them less time to review contracts.

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Tax Reforms
9:36 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Robideaux Covers Tax, Budget Reform

Representative Joel Robideaux has been a part of nine legislative sessions. He spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday about this session's initiatives.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

The lawmaker sponsoring Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax reform package is saying the administration has learned from his mistakes last session. 

After the blow back from the abbreviated debate on education reform in 2012, Representative Joel Robideaux said discussions on the Governor's initiatives got underway sooner this year. “Some may say that wasn’t a good way to go," Robideaux told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, "because we’ve taken two months of opposition, but from a legislative standpoint, I think it’s great because we’ve had two months of debate we wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded.”

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Tax Reform
9:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Jindal Speaks to Tax Plan Opposition

More stakeholders are turning their noses up at the governor’s plan to eliminate income and franchise taxes in favor of raising and broadening the sales tax.

House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards said the plan is a play from a national conservative think tank that will look good to voters in other states, if the governor decides to run for national office. His caucus thinks it will hurt low- and middle-income families, as well as small business, like those in the tourism industry.

The Louisiana Association for Business and Industry released a statement saying it will oppose any change to the system that raises tax on businesses.

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