Gov. Bobby Jindal

They took every penny they could find.

“The House efforts have solved 850-million of the one billion dollar problem,” Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin announced.

They even decided what to do with some money they’ve not yet found.

“This 31-million for the medical school in Shreveport would be put in a priority line if that funding is available,” Shreveport Rep. Thomas Carmody said, in support of Rep. Bubba Chaney’s amendment to HB 1.

It took six hours of debate, but he full House passed a 24-billion dollar budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, resolving over half the $1.6-billion dollar shortfall.

The House Civil Law Committee heard arguments on both sides of HB 707 Tuesday. That’s the controversial measure prohibiting state action against those that exercise religious beliefs about marriage, including refusal to deal with same sex couples. It's also known as the "Marriage and Conscience Act".

“Religious observers need this basic protection,” said Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City, the bill’s author.

He urged swift action before the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

“June 18, the world is going to change,” Johnson warned.

It is expected the high court will rule that all states must recognize same-sex marriage.

Tax bills are on the agenda this week, in both the House and the Senate, and Governor Bobby Jindal says he’ll have his Secretary of Revenue and Commissioner of Administration watching the process closely.

“Tim Barfield and Kristy (Nichols) absolutely will be in committee and available to provide our perspective on these bills,” Jindal told reporters late last week.


Robert Travis Scott
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana

The first week of the 2015 state legislative session is in the books.

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recently put out a guide to the budget crisis lawmakers are grappling with. And PAR President, Robert Travis Scott, is following along as the budgeting process unfolds.


With three whacks of the gavel, Speaker Chuck Kleckley called the Louisiana House to order, starting the 2015 legislative session. The main event of day one was Governor Bobby Jindal’s address.

“Here we are—the moment so many of us have been waiting for: my last state-of-the-state speech,” Jindal began, to appreciative laughter from senators and representatives alike.

Joking aside, the governor made several claims regarding the state of Louisiana’s economy. Democrats, led by Amite Rep. John Bel Edwards, challenged several of those statements. Let’s check both for spin.

Bobby Jindal addresses the Louisiana legislature one last time as governor, kicking off the 2015 legislative session.

It’s a fiscal session, so lawmakers will be focused on finding solutions to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, with the future of higher education and healthcare services at stake. The governor has already made his “guardrails” clear: he won’t accept any tax increases.

Beyond the budget, Jindal is aiming to yank Common Core education standards from Louisiana’s public schools. And he’s looking to frame the debate around a religious freedom bill filed in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on the marriage of same-sex couples.

With host Amy Jeffries, Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, and political scientist Robert Hogan provide context and analysis as Gov. Bobby Jindal lays out his agenda for the 2015 legislative session.
 


State officials have been burning up the phone lines between Baton Rouge and New York City this week, trying to stave off the threatened downgrade of Louisiana’s credit rating. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it’s been intense.

“We’re in trouble. I don’t want to overstate that, but I don’t want to sugarcoat it, either,” Kennedy says. “We’re in trouble with two of the three rating agencies. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have told us unless we get our fiscal affairs in order, they’re going to downgrade us.”


Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting a much anticipated and much talked about prayer rally Saturday. WRKF’s state government reporter, Sue Lincoln discusses what it’s all about.


Sue Lincoln

Embattled Congressman Vance McAllister  made quite a splash when he appeared at the Secretary of State’s office first thing Friday, signing up to run again.  Even after facing down calls for his resignation earlier this year McAllister was quite gracious about the nine challengers seeking to unseat him.

“C’mon! More! The more the merrier!” McAllister said, adding by way of explanation, “When you have more ideas, more people, more views, you learn from it.”

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.


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