Karen Carter Peterson

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Starting in early 2018, state policymakers will be looking ahead to the 2021 redistricting process. While many are focused on a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, longtime Louisiana politicians admit the concerns that case raises are not new to the Bayou State.

sos.la.gov

The Louisiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission held a day-long hearing at the state Capitol Tuesday.

Compelling testimony came from Jhacona Williams, an LSU doctoral candidate in economics. Williams has done a statistical analysis of the statewide distribution of polling places and voting machines.

screenshot: legis.la.gov

When House Republican Caucus chair Lance Harris squared off with New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson – who is the chair of the state Democratic Party, it was partisan pugilism of the verbal variety.

Harris’ bill to increase parole fees by 50% was the issue.


courtesy: Johnson and Jones campaigns

Fifteen days till the runoff election, where the 4th Congressional District has Democrat Marshall Jones and Republican Mike Johnson each vying for the opportunity to go to Washington. But it’s not turning into the typical partisan pugilism.


“At this point, we do not have the luxury of amending this bill,” Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs chairman J.P. Morrell told the Senate, so on this final day of the special session, House Bill 50 was considered without an expected amendment that could have raised another $88-million.

“House Bill 50 simply changes the way the capital gains tax is able to be refunded,” Jennings Senator Blade Morris explained.

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Perhaps it’s because it’s so late in the session, with so much left to be done, but some of the ladies in the Legislature are no longer putting up with political posturing from the men on the far right. The women are instead using logic to deflate the rhetoric.

Take  West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth’s argument against a bill to end the Enterprise Zone program.

S. Lincoln

After the Senate Finance Committee advanced HB 122 Thursday -- with less draconian cuts than its author Cameron Henry wanted -- the full House did pass the cigarette tax hike.

“It would bring in an additional 16 million in fiscal year ‘16; $47-million in fiscal year ’17,” its author, Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger explained.

But the House did little else to advance bills for alleviating the state budget shortfalls.

Over on the Senate floor, though, the stress of that little progress was showing as senators worked through the limited options passed on by the House.

Louisiana GOP Activist Mike Chittom talks with Jim throughout the first half of today's show about the Republican Party surge in the state. They discuss David Vitter's remarks at the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday, as well as his chances of becoming Governor. Mike also chimes in on his opinions about Vance McAllister, the economy, and Mary Landrieu v. Bill Cassidy.

Louisiana State Senator and Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson fills the second half of the show to talk about the other side of today's topic of politics. She gives her own rebuttal and shares her opinions on David Vitter's comments at the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday, and she also discusses jobs in the state, where our workforce is headed, and what to expect in the future.


Senators saw a pile of unallocated potential money as part of a House bill to extend the tax amnesty program, and they jumped at it.

“Let’s do something we can go home and say, ‘Yes! We did something for economic development’,” Delhi Senator Francis Thompson urged.

“My amendment will give 25-million dollars to the Board of Regents, to higher education,” New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson offered.

“Let’s put it where we got a 12-billion dollar backlog. Put everything we got into those roads,” Benton Senator Robert Adley pushed for infrastructure funding.

 With a 34 to 3 vote, the full Senate has approved HB 388, requiring doctors who perform any abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

“There are parts of the state where there is no hospital within 30 miles, period,” protested New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell. “That would make it impossible for there to be procedures done in rural areas.”

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