Politics

Coverage of politics from the Louisiana statehouse in Baton Rouge and beyond.

When Earl K. Long Hospital closed nearly two years ago, LSU’s private partner in Baton Rouge — Our Lady of the Lake — took over patient care, but refused to take care of inmates. That meant a whole lot of scrambling for Angola Warden Burl Cain.


Perhaps you know them as the “yellow shirts”. Certainly, state Senator Troy Brown of Napoleonville thinks of disabilities advocates that way.

“Y’all remember when y’all came with the yellow shirts? Let me tell you something. That works!” Brown offers as encouragement.

Disabilities advocates have been meeting with their local state lawmakers, trying to prepare for what promises to be an agonizing and contentious legislative session, as it centers on the budget and a $1.6-billion revenue shortfall. 

 Since it’s an election year, it’s highly unlikely that lawmakers will risk the wrath of voters or the governor by raising taxes to fill Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole. But they will almost certainly be taking a hard look at state tax breaks to bridge the budget gap.


Finding the way down off the fiscal cliff could be as simple as turning around, and looking back at the path that brought us here.

“The root of our current budget problems goes back to the decision in 2008, under Gov. Jindal, to repeal the Stelly tax changes that voters passed in 2002,” says Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller. “That has taken about six to seven hundred million dollars our of our tax base every year.”

“Who will starve, and who will get some breadcrumbs?”

That’s the question Southeastern Louisiana University professor Dayne Sherman — and many others — are asking, as Louisiana colleges and universities have been told to expect up to $400-million in cuts for the next fiscal year. That amounts to 40 percent of their current state funding.

The House voted 239-186 today to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the latest effort by the Republican-controlled chamber to scrap the law.

The measure also would direct panels to come up with a replacement for the healthcare law — though it doesn't provide a timeline on any new legislation or what provisions it may contain.

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

“Prices at the pump don’t seem to have a bottom yet.” Legislative Fiscal Analyst Greg Albrecht says while that’s good for consumers, it’s very bad for the state budget.

Louisiana’s budget gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2015 has widened by $400-million due to declining oil royalties and severance taxes — directly attributable to the fall in oil prices.


 $1,600,000,000.

“We need to appreciate what we’re saying when we say those words,” LSU economist Jim Richardson admonishes, as Louisiana is standing on the edge of a fiscal cliff.

“We simply do not have enough,” Richardson states.

Working Congress
Robert Mann / LSU Press

Robert Mann is sending every member of the recently convened 114th Congress a copy of the book Working Congress.

Mann put together the short volume — it’s just 120 pages — with advice from scholars, former Congressional staffers, and former members of Congress from both parties about how to get things moving again in Washington, D.C.


Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals held a public hearing Thursday, accepting comments on proposed regulations for licensing abortion clinics. No one spoke in favor of the new rules; instead, all the comments were in opposition.


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