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.

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.


Competing lawsuits were filed over the Common Core state standards in Louisiana this week, and specifically over the contracts for testing related to those standards.

Melinda Deslatte, capitol correspondent for the Associated Press, has been following the back and forth.


A couple of this fall’s congressional races could be particularly entertaining — with the “kissing Congressman”, Vance McAllister running for re-election in the 5th District in northern Louisiana, and ex-con/ex-governor Edwin Edwards running here in the 6th District. Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics.com, says both will be asking voters for forgiveness. 

Meanwhile, the Republican field in the senate race got a little thinner this week, with State representative Paul Hollis of St. Tammany dropping out. Congressman Bill Cassidy, of course, is still the GOP frontrunner to unseat Mary Landrieu. But another Republican, retired Air Force Col. Rob Manness, who has Tea Party support, is proving to be a factor. And Alford says this Senate race is already the most expensive Louisiana has ever seen.


New Orleans passed a so-called "fairness ordinance" in 1999, banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. Shreveport followed suit last year. Later this month, the Baton Rouge Metro Council is slated to consider an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, veteran status, and, yes, gender identity and sexual orientation. But here it looks to be a tougher sell.

Rebekah Allen, city hall reporter for The Advocate, discusses the dynamics at play. 


In their long list of recommendations for how the state could save money, the Jindal administration's consultants, Alvarez & Marsal, suggested Louisiana could find a billion dollars in savings from the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) over the next five years -- largely by redesigning state employee health insurance plans and what they cover.

Dr. Phillip Brantley, senior scientist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been looking into whether specifically the state could save money by covering medical treatment for severe obesity. 

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