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
5:30 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Senate Shoots Down Fiscal Hawks' Bills

After yesterday’s committee approval, Senators will consider whether to try a new way to write the budget, which will more clearly designate what the legislature has the power to allocate.

They’ll also consider whether to try limiting the use of money that doesn’t come from taxes on expenses that occur annually.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Senate Committee Ditches House Plan for Budget

The Senate Wednesday dashed the House’s hopes of eliminating from the state budget what some lawmakers consider to be unstable funding.

The fiscal hawks in the legislature would, for example, frown on paying utilities with proceeds from a garage sale.

So the House spent the first half of the session occupied with removing from the budget money that is only available once, like money from the sale of property and court settlements.

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Capitol Access
8:52 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Hospital Stabilization Fund Passes Senate

The Senate signed off on a measure yesterday that aims to restore funding to health care.

Sounds good right?

The opposition, including twenty-plus-year member of the legislature Senator Robert Adley, was quick to point out that approving the measure may back lawmakers into a corner with the budget.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Ban on Red Snapper Needed?

Credit fusionstream / Flickr

According to federal regulations, Louisiana’s nine-day recreational red snapper fishing season legally starts next weekend. But some fishermen have been landing snapper since the state season started in March — at the risk of also landing a ticket from federal authorities.

The discrepancy between state and federal red snapper authorities is the subject of a bill sponsored by Sen. Bret Allain. Allain wants to put an all-out ban on red snapper, reasoning that if the fisheries are in such dire straits, maybe they shouldn’t be fished at all.

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Capitol Access
8:28 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Frugal Committee Backs Capital Investment for Community Colleges

The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday approved $60 million in capital spending for the state’s technical colleges over the next five years — despite the state’s tight purse-strings.

Chairman Jim Fannin insisted that investing in the technical college system will grow the economy and the tax base.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Public School Funding Plan Rejected Twice

Next year’s method for funding for public schools is a bit up in the air after the Senate Education Committee rejected the proposed formula from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The formula, called the Minimum Foundation Program, or the MFP, was shot down last week because of a clerical error: BESE sent the legislature a draft of the MFP rather the final version.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Lawmakers Weigh Medicaid Options

A House bill that aims to secure state health care spending passed out of the Senate Finance committee yesterday.

The measure would create the "Hospital Stabilization Fund," which would utilize some hospital profits to draw down more federal dollars to help with uninsured patients.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Budget Woes Left to Tackle

Friday, the Senate Finance Committee continued to comb through the budget, and discovered there’s a lot left to fund this session.

To get a summary, Senator Fred Mills asked Legislative Fiscal Officer John Carpenter to detail the five top worries that keep him up at night.

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Capitol Access
9:25 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Some Senators Puzzled by Tax Amnesty Solution

In the Finance committee Thursday Senators questioned the way the House filled the hole it dug in the proposed budget for next year. The House took out one-time money, from selling state property, court settlements, and dedicated funds, and put in a tax amnesty program.

The Legislative Fiscal Office usually considers tax amnesty revenues to be one-time money too.

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Capitol Access
9:32 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Voucher Funding in Limbo

Hundreds of parents, children, teachers and administrators rallied on the steps of the Capitol calling on lawmakers to find a new way to fund private school vouchers, chanting "You promised/ to put kids first."

The old way to fund vouchers was ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court last week because it routed money through a formula -- called the MFP -- that is dedicated to public schools.

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