Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

Your on-ramp for news and insight from Louisiana's statehouse.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Game Over: 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session Adjourns

Bill signing on final day of 2014 session. From left to right: House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, Senator Robert Adley, Rep. Neil Abramson, Governor Bobby Jindal

“We have told the Governor we give up. We’re ready to go home,” Senator Robert Adley announced, prompting laughter from his fellow lawmakers, as Senate President John Alario responded, “Very good.”

2014 can be viewed as a session of hits and misses. Governor Jindal told the press he believes he scored a hit with his budget, which includes pay raises for state workers, as well as a bit more money for higher education.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Conference Committees: Resolving the Last Differences

Lawmakers aren't chatting about their post-session plans here. They're working out compromises on bills.

Conference committees are where all the action is now, at the end of the session. But just what is a “conference committee”?

“There are bills that, you know, the House and Senate will disagree on and in many cases you can’t get it worked out,” Slidell Representative Kevin Pearson explains, “So a conference committee is selected to try and resolve that.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Pull the Plug

“We have to err on the side of life and give that baby a voice.”

That’s the philosophy behind a bill to require keeping a pregnant woman on life support until her child can be born. HB 1274 is headed to conference committee after its author, New Orleans Representative Austin Badon, urged the full House Thursday to reject an amendment added by the Senate earlier this week.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Tax Amnesty Grab: Unicorns and Fairy Dust

Senators saw a pile of unallocated potential money as part of a House bill to extend the tax amnesty program, and they jumped at it.

“Let’s do something we can go home and say, ‘Yes! We did something for economic development’,” Delhi Senator Francis Thompson urged.

“My amendment will give 25-million dollars to the Board of Regents, to higher education,” New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson offered.

“Let’s put it where we got a 12-billion dollar backlog. Put everything we got into those roads,” Benton Senator Robert Adley pushed for infrastructure funding.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Taking a Closer Look at State Contracts

Louisiana has billions of taxpayer dollars tied up in thousands of contracts—for goods and services, consulting, privatization and more. Lawmakers, frustrated by the continuing battles to balance the state budget, are pushing to take a closer look at those contracts.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Drivers’ Licenses: Costing More, but Lasting Longer

It looks like the cost of a driver’s license is going up—but so is the length of time between renewals.

“The fee will be more, but it’s a six year fee, so over time it’ll be the same,” explains Franklin Foil.

The Baton Rouge representative authored the measure increasing both the cost and expiration dates for all Louisiana drivers’ licenses. A basic license, which now costs $21.50 and is good for four years, will be going up to $32.50, and will be valid for six years.

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Capitol Access
1:59 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Remembering John Maginnis

It was just a couple of months ago that John Maginnis appeared on WRKF’s “The Jim Engster Show,” talking about Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential aspirations.

“Outside Louisiana, there’s no serious talk about Jindal being a serious contender,” Maginnis told Engster and WRKF’s listeners. “But I think he’s still a viable vice-presidential contender, a running mate.”

Longtime political reporter John Maginnis passed away unexpectedly Sunday, at the age of 66. 

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Communism and Crawfishing on Common Core

“I’m not a communist.”

But Senator Conrad Appel isn’t a happy camper, either. He took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to deliver a tirade directed toward Governor Bobby Jindal.

“You can call me a communist. You can call me a socialist fascist—that’s a good one,” Appel declared forcefully. “Anything you want to call me? Do it!”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Rep. Katrina Jackson: You’ve Come a Long Way, Lady

Rep. Katrina Jackson, at her desk on the House floor
Credit Sue Lincoln

A couple of weeks after the end of the 2012 legislative session, an irate Katrina Jackson called a press conference. She was livid because Governor Jindal had vetoed her signature piece of legislation, supporting public schools.

“This bill passed by a unanimous vote of the House, and only missed one vote in the Senate, Jackson said in June 2012. “He’s defying the expressed will of the Legislature!”

Now, two years later, Governor Jindal is tweeting that he’s looking forward to signing her H.B. 388, which received final concurrence in the House Wednesday afternoon.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Crappie and Roosters and Gators, Oh My!

With less than two weeks left in the session, bills are piling up in both chambers. While both the House and the Senate worked on shortening their stacks of paperwork Tuesday afternoon, critters became a recurring theme.

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