Insight

Fridays at 6:44 a.m. and 8:44 a.m.

One-on-one conversations with reporters, researchers, community leaders, and thinkers about what's happening around us in Baton Rouge and Louisiana at large.  Insight probes the big big ideas, and the big picture.

During the last legislative session, state Sen. Ben Nevers fought hard for the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana under the Affordable Care Act. But ultimately, a bill to put the issue on the ballot didn’t even make it out of committee. 

But the legislature did pass another bill from Nevers, compelling the state Department of Health and Hospitals to come up with a plan for Louisiana to pilot “America Next” — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s alternative to Obamacare. 

DHH put out their initial report in response a few weeks ago.


The nominating committee for the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has made its selection to fill a slot on the levee board. They voted 7-3 a week ago to renominate Paul Kemp — a geologist in the Coastal Ecology Institute at LSU — who’s current term is expiring. 

The ball is back in Gov. Jindal’s court — he can accept or reject Kemp’s nomination or ask the state Senate to consider it — and the fate of the levee board’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies over damage to coastal wetlands hangs in the balance. 

Bob Marshall, reporter with The Lens in New Orleans, has been following all this.

The Louisiana Board of Regents unleashed a 500-plus page report earlier this week about sexual assault. The report shows wide variation in how sexual assault is dealt with on state college and university campuses. 

State Sen. JP Morrell requested the report and is now putting together a working group that may wind up crafting legislation to make campus responses to the problem more uniform.


Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, April, 20, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard

BP was to blame — that was U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling a week ago in the case over the Macondo well disaster. The judge found Transocean, which was operating the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, and cement contractor Haliburton at fault too. But Barbier said BP was guilty of “gross negligence”. And that could mean that payouts by BP balloon to $50 billion or more ultimately.

Dr. Jim Richardson, professor of public administration and economics at LSU explains some of the business implications.


The fundraising push is over, and the ground game has begun in Louisiana’s hotly contested Senate race.

Researchers at Tufts University recently pinpointed Louisiana as one of a handful of states where the youth vote could decide the outcome of a key Senate race this fall.

Jeremy Alford, Publisher of LaPolitics.com, paints a picture of how the campaigns are honing in on voters.

 


The closure of Earl K. Long hospital last year with the privatization of Louisiana’s charity hospital system sent a wave of uninsured patients to Baton Rouge General.

Under the strain of their care, the hospital had decided to close its emergency room. But Baton Rouge General’s ER was rescued at the last-minute Wednesday.

Don Gregory, health policy advisor for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, explains whether that deserves a sigh of relief. 


 

Candidates for office, from Constable to Senate, have been parading through the Secretary of State’s Office and the Clerk of Court Office this week, qualifying to get their names on the November ballot.

But it’s not just names that we’ll be voting on.

Robert Travis Scott, President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, explains why we’ve got so many constitutional amendments to decide on too.

 


LSU Tigers on the football field.
JustDog / Wikimedia

College football season is upon us. The first regular season game for the LSU Tigers is in two weeks. Playoffs debut this year. And the Tigers will have a new starting quarterback. There are major shifts happening off the field for Division I programs too.

Brad Wolverton is a reporter with the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington D.C. and has been following the NCAA action.


Louisiana Governor's Office

State House Speaker Chuck Kleckley returned from a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week. He traveled there with Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana’s state police superintendent Col. Mike Edmondson to get a first hand look at the nation’s immigration crisis, and what it could mean for Louisiana.


The sixth annual CityStats report is out.

It shines some light on where people are on some of the biggest debates in East Baton Rouge Parish at the moment— including the rights of gays and lesbians, and the state of the public schools.

Mukul Verma of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which produced the report, reads between the lines a little bit.


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