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
5:18 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Legislature to Consider Bayou Corne Buy Out, Saltdome Regulation

The sinkhole that put many nearby residents under a mandatory evacuation order has grow in area and fluctuated in depth since it first appeared on August 3rd.
Credit Assumption Parish

It’s been 200 days since a sinkhole forced residents of Bayou Corne to evacuate their homes. 

Homeowners are fed up. Some testified at a Joint Committee meeting Tuesday at the Capitol. Some are calling for Texas Brine – the company responsible for the failed salt-mining cavern that allegedly caused the sinkhole – to buy out their properties. 

State lawmakers have an eye on legislation aiming to amend constituents' problems and assure Louisianians won't meet the same situation in the future.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

New Gun Rights Group Gets Off the Ground

Defend Louisiana feels that the "Sportsman's Paradise" has a tradition of gun ownership that the national government may not grasp.
Credit Defend Louisiana

A new statewide gun rights advocacy group gathered about 3,000 signatures in support of its legislation to protect the Second Amendment this weekend. State Representative Jeff Thompson, founder of Defend Louisiana, outlined the group’s initiatives at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday afternoon.

Defend Louisiana has filed two bills for the upcoming session. One would protect the identities of concealed and carry permit holders. Another would nullify future federal laws that infringe on gun rights. 


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Politics
6:11 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Jindal Promotes Changes to Juvenile Justice Program

Changes may be coming for a state program aimed at keeping kids at risk of delinquency out of the corrections system. Governor Bobby Jindal proposed tighter more “common sense” regulations for the Families in Need of Service Program, or FINS, at a press conference Friday morning. 

The governor built off of a legislative commission’s study of FINS that found children were being moved through the system without enough attention.

Children are referred to FINS for being ungovernable, for bullying or substance use, among other reasons. There’s worry that kids referred to FINS for non-criminal offenses are propelled into the delinquent system, and then more likely to enter the state’s prisons – the opposite of the program’s goal.

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Politics
6:22 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Jindal Shrugs Off Polls, Denies ALEC Association

Governor Jindal touched on many political topics, but also recounted his first Valentine's Day with his wife, Supriya Jindal.
Credit Gage Skidmore

Governor Bobby Jindal held an impromptu press conference at a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion honoring the longest-married couples in Louisiana on Valentine’s Day.

When reporters asked about the polls released by the Louisiana Medical Society and Public Policy Polling, which showed approval of the governor below 50 percent, Jindal shrugged off the numbers.


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Politics
5:24 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Could Obama's Gas Policies Bring Jobs to La.?

In President Obama's State of the Union address, he spoke about the place of oil and gas in a time of climate change and growing green energy.
Credit Pete Souza

President Barack Obama touched on the oil and gas industry in his State of the Union. Some of these initiatives may benefit Louisiana’s economy.

First, the President suggested loosening regulation. “My administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” Obama said. “That’s got to be a part of an all-of-the-above plan.” 


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Politics
4:06 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Tax Rebate Proposals May Move to Odd Years

Louisiana lawmakers are limited to what topics they may consider when - one senator hopes his amendment would better categorize tax rebates.
Credit Jack Cox

State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.

Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency

Lawmakers will consider a bill that could curtail the Governor's privilege to classify documents.

After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.


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Politics
12:26 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vitter's New Clout Could Bring Changes to Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for many flood control projects around the state - like the Morganza floodway.
Credit US Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets Thursday to discuss reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers.

One of Louisiana’s senators, David Vitter, now sits as the ranking minority member of the committee.

Vitter saif the Corps has a history of putting projects on the back burner because of cost and bureaucratic entanglements.

“Important projects take twenty years or more, deadlines are almost never met,” Vitter said. “It’s just one paper shuffle after another.”

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Politics
9:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Tobacco Tax Could Nearly Close Budget Gap

Credit Geierunite / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax reform proposals may include raising the tobacco excise tax. Health officials have suggested raising the tax by a dollar per pack. A study shows raising the tax by that much would raise $223 million a year – that’s almost enough to have closed this year’s $240 million budget gap. 

Jindal has said his tax reforms would be revenue neutral, replacing the income tax with higher sales tax.

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LSU Football
4:55 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Winning Coach of the Tigers Gets Raise

LSU football coach Les Miles has been with the Tigers since 2005, and hasn't gotten a raise since 2007.
Credit Louisiana State University

 

LSU's governing board has approved a $549,000 annual pay raise for football coach Les Miles.

The change has bumped Miles' salary to $4.3 million a year and extended his contract through the 2019 season.

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