Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

Follow Capitol Access on Twitter @LaCapAxS.

Sue Lincoln

Though the next full round of statewide elections is more than two years away, how do Governor John Bel Edwards’ chances for re-election look?

“I would say about 50-50,” pollster John Couvillon of JMC Analytics told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

“Even though he has the benefits of incumbency, it’s also becoming very tough to be a Democrat in Louisiana.”

Overall, Couvillon believes Edwards “broke even” with voters during a difficult first year in office.

Creative Commons CC0

Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled against Louisiana requiring teaching of both evolution and creationism in public schools. But debate over the role of the two theories in education continues. 


Sue Lincoln

“…You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense…”

Thanks to movies and TV, we’re all familiar with those words from the Miranda warning.


courtesy: The Rouge Collection

How did Louisiana end up with the world’s highest incarceration rate? Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says it grew out of the late 1980’s national political emphasis on “law and order.”

“The prison population grew exponentially and it became, quite candidly, a cottage industry/prison industrial complex of housing people that were sentenced to jail,” Webre explains.  “And the Louisiana legislature passed laws that the judges enforced.”

Sue Lincoln

“It wasn’t easy, having to come back in society, with having to adjust myself to the real world after spending 35 years in prison.”

Reginald is in his 60s, and was sentenced to 121 years for armed robbery and attempted murder. Now, he’s out on parole, participating in an intensive reentry program through what’s known as a “day reporting center”.


Mark Carroll

What does the “world’s highest incarceration rate” really mean?

“It feels oftentimes that as DAs and judges we are flipping hamburgers because the volume that we have,” says East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

It also means that more than 5 out of every 10-thousand residents are in jail, at a cost of $600-million per year. And it means Louisiana desperately needs major criminal justice reform.

pbs.org

“Crime and incarceration is only a manifestation of the failed policies and the neglect of our government to address the needs of the people of the state of Louisiana,” an irate Bridget Dinvaut, St. John Parish D.A, told the Justice Reinvestment Task Force Thursday.


Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

At a recent America’s Wetland Foundation Coastal Summit, Governor John Bel Edwards looked ahead to the Legislature’s next regular session, which starts April 10th. During that session, the Legislature will vote on the state’s newest Coastal Master Plan. 


media commons

While we were busy with the special session, three state legislators announced for the Treasurer’s race this fall.


Mark Carroll

Toward the end of the special session, there was a new hot topic at the Capitol: “attrition”.

“A big discussion now about this attrition issue as a basis for balancing the budget,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said at one point.


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