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
4:03 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bipartisan Budget Deal in the Works

 

Thursday House Speaker Chuck Kleckley endorsed a plan that would raise revenue and cut spending.

Earlier this week, the budget was on track to avoid much debate on the floor, but it hit a snag on Tuesday.

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Capitol Access
6:05 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Education Overhaul Revisions Get Mixed Reviews

 

The governor announced Wednesday that 8,000 children have been offered a private school voucher for the second year of the program -- 3,000 more than enrolled with this year’s inaugural crop.

The voucher program, passed last session, allows parents of low-income families to take their kids out of schools rated C, D and F and send them to private schools on the state’s dime.

The program’s funding mechanism is awaiting judgement by the State Supreme Court, as are accountability measures, another part of the overhaul.

Meanwhile, bills are popping up this session to refine the overhaul.

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Small Victory for Medicaid Expansion Proponents

A Medicaid Expansion plan passed the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare Tuesday in a 4, 3 vote.

 

Opponents of the expansion repeated the arguments they’ve given throughout the debate: federal funding is unreliable, and the plan will cost the state too much money. 

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Capitol Access
8:16 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Expansion, Privitization Could Work Together

 

The state may need to accept the federal Medicaid Expansion to fund LSU hospitals under the new public/private partnerships.

 

That’s according to Steve Spires, with the Louisiana Budget Project, an advocacy group that focuses on the effects of policy changes to low- and middle-income households.

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Capitol Access
10:29 am
Fri April 26, 2013

For or Against: Votes in the Medicaid Expansion Debate

Lawmakers face an onslaught of decisions every day at the capitol: vote up or down, pass this amendment, defer that bill... A few key players in this week's Medicaid expansion debate explain why they voted the way they did.

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Capitol Access
9:13 am
Thu April 25, 2013

House Turns Down Medicaid Expansion

The legislature technically decided Wednesday to put off accepting federal funding for health care expansion, which would include more low-income individuals under Medicaid.  A series of bills were voluntarily deferred, both in the House and Senate, to be taken up next week. A bill by Rep. Barbara Norton was involuntarily deferred - that’s typically a death sentence for a bill. 

The representatives that voted to shelve Norton’s bill did so because they’re unsure of what will happen if they accept the money - despite that the Legislative Fiscal Office testifying that the program would initially save the state money.

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Capitol Access
9:50 am
Wed April 24, 2013

On Tobacco Taxes, Medicaid, Lawmakers Clutch Purse Strings

Polls show that the people of Louisiana and the legislature are at odds. Tuesday a constitutional amendment to raise the cigarette tax failed in committee – though recent polls by the American Cancer Society show 73 percent of Louisianians would approve of a tobacco tax increase.


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Capitol Access
9:02 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Budget Restructuring Flies Through Committee; Tobacco Bills Up in Smoke

House committees took up two big ticket items Monday: budget reform and tobacco taxes.  Bills that would makeover the process of building the state’s budget passed favorably in the House Appropriations committee. A packed Ways and Means committee did not vote on tobacco taxes; representatives deferred their bills.


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Capitol Access
9:24 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Women's Health Funding at Risk

Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley last week called on the legislature to restore funding to the state program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to uninsured and underserved women, and Sen. Karen Carter Peterson chaired a committee focused on funding for women’s services.

Women testified about holes in funding for domestic violence shelters, pregnancy care, cancer screenings, and sexual health. Peterson called Governor Jindal’s budget proposal for next year irresponsible. According to Beth Meeks, from the Louisiana Coalition on Domestic Violence, the governor’s slashing of women’s services just doesn’t make fiscal sense.

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Capitol Access
9:36 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Southeast School District Tries Again

The slice of east Baton Rouge between Interstates 10 and 12 may be a step closer to seeing its own school district.

A constitutional amendment that would have funded the district failed to pass in the House last year. The same measure passed through the Senate Education committee Thursday without much debate.

Parents that live from Inniswold to Shenndoah testified that they just want to make schools safer and more academically successful for their children, like Norman Browning, president of the pro-breakaway group ‘Local Schools for Local Children.’

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