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 May 6, 2014

Feds Give LSU Hospital Deals Thumbs Down

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols explains turn down of LSU hospitals deals.
Credit Sue Lincoln

Louisiana got some bad news from the federal Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) late last Friday. CMS says “no deal” on six of the LSU hospital public-private partnerships.

“I don’t know what their issue is, but it appears that the basis for the denial is related to the means of financing—specifically as it relates to the advance lease payments,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the House Appropriations committee Monday.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Death Penalty Drugs Bill Advances

 If you can’t get lethal injection drugs, how do you impose the death penalty?

"We have the death sentence. Whether some of you agree with that or disagree with it, that's what we have,” said House Criminal Justice committee chairman Joe Lopinto. “If we're going to have that we need to be able, as a state, to follow through with that order."

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Senate Committee Turns Down the MFP

 

The Senate Education Committee took testimony on the MFP Thursday, and ended up rejecting the formula for funding public schools.

The formula included $150-million in new spending: for a growing number of students, for career education and for kids with special needs. On a conference call following the committee meeting, state Superintendent John White said he’s not worried about students losing out, despite the formula being turned away. That’s because House Appropriations already added the extra money to HB 1, the next state budget.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Snuffed Out

Former state senator Tony Guarisco testifies on medical marijuana bill.
Credit Sue Lincoln


Louisiana’s legislature approved medical marijuana for certain diseases in 1991. Twenty-three years later, a bill that would finally set up a prescription system for dispensing the drug was heard in Senate Health and Welfare Wednesday.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Senate Drones Bill Crashes in House Committee

A Senate-approved bill to prohibit the camera-equipped unmanned aircraft known as drones from overflying chemical plants and refineries crashed and burned in the House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday.

“Drones are becoming more and more prevalent,” explained the bill’s author, Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White. “And it’s just an effort to try to at least have some rules or laws for the state of Louisiana with our critical infrastructure.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Coastal Restoration Fund Maneuver Used to Balance Budget

  “There’s no one-time money for recurring expenditures in the budget,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols guaranteed from the start of this year’s budget process. Yet as the House Appropriations Committee worked to modify and approve Governor Jindal’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, the secret behind “no one-time money” was revealed.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Kumbayah Moment: Teacher Termination Compromise

Although they didn’t actually “hold hands and sing Kumbayah”, there was a brief moment of peace and accord between the Jindal administration and teachers unions last week. After more than two years of name-calling, angst and lawsuits, they found common ground around a bill to modify the process for terminating tenured teachers who receive “ineffective” ratings.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Tilting at Windmills: Annual Bills, Same Result

  It appeared to be “Tilting at Windmills Day” at the Capitol Thursday, with committees hearing this year’s version of bills that seem doomed to perennial failure.


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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Attempt to Put Medicaid Expansion on the Ballot Fails

Supporters of Medicaid expansion gather on the state capitol steps. April 23, 2014.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

At the conclusion of nearly five hours of emotional testimony, Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman David Heitmeier read the names of those weighing in on Senator Ben Nevers’ bill. The proposal would have put a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act before voters in Louisiana.

“You’ve got a lot of support here, Sen. Nevers," Heitmeier said.

But Nevers didn’t have the support of the committee. His bill was stopped on a 6 to 2 vote that fell along party lines.


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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Employment Non-Discrimination Bill Withdrawn

Rep. Karen St. Germain (D-Pierre Part)

 

  She knew she didn’t have the votes going into Tuesday’s Civil Law committee meeting, but Representative Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part still wanted proponents of her anti-discrimination bill to have their say.

“We’re here to do something for the public, and the public means everyone,” St. Germain told her fellow lawmakers. “This is a fairness bill.”

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