Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

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

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As is usual early in a legislative session, it’s been an abbreviated week for lawmakers.

“Let me wish each of you a very blessed Easter,” Senate President John Alario said Wednesday morning, as the upper chamber concluded its work for the week.


Tax philosophies seem to be nearly as numerous as tax reform bills filed this session. As the House Ways and Means Committee took testimony on 20 measures dealing with corporate taxes Wednesday, those philosophies were on display.


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The House Ways and Means Committee has started looking at how Louisiana could change it's method of taxing. On Tuesday, the focus was on personal income taxes. 


screen capture by Sue Lincoln

Three thwacks of the gavel called the 2017 fiscal legislative session to order Monday. And as is customary, the governor addressed the House and Senate jointly. But as Governor John Bel Edwards laid out a massive agenda -- including criminal justice reform and comprehensive tax reform -- he also warned lawmakers this would not be a business-as-usual session.


Sue Lincoln

Lawmakers gather at the Capitol for today’s start of the 2017 legislative session, and there’s a lot on the menu: a challenging budget, comprehensive tax reform, criminal justice reform, roadwork backlogs and more. Few, if any, of the options seem to be to everyone’s taste, however.


Sue Lincoln

Nearly half the $29.7-billion proposed state budget is recommended for spending by Louisiana’s Department of Health.

“Yes, it’s big, because we’re a poor state,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee told members of a House Appropriations sub-committee this week. “And when you talk about big, don’t lose sight that ‘big’ is federal.”


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“Prior to and throughout the response to the 2016 floods, FEMA was a very good partner. But the transition from response to recovery is where challenges arose,” Governor John Bel Edwards told the U.S. House Oversight Committee on Flood Recovery and Governmental Affairs. He testified Wednesday in response to complaints about the pace of the recovery from August’s devastating floods across south Louisiana.


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Secretary of Economic Development Don Pierson took his turn in front of an Appropriations Subcommittee on Business Development Tuesday. He says while some areas in Louisiana are seeing economic growth, that’s not the case across the state. 


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This time last year, then-Treasurer John Kennedy was making the rounds of speaking engagements, complaining about spending on art for state buildings.

“They took $1.1-million cash of taxpayer money and they shouldn’t have been spending it on a sculpture in the first place,” Kennedy protested. “When you’re supposed to be broke, art is not a priority.”

Sue Lincoln

What began as a legislative preview seminar at the LSU Law School morphed into a philosophy lesson when lawmakers were asked, “How do you balance wants and needs in budgeting policy?”


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