Politics

Capitol Access
6:00 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Earl K Long Closure Officialized, Education Changes Proposed

Lawmakers have put the final nail in the coffin to close LSU’s public hospital in North Baton Rouge. In Wednesday’s Joint Budget Committee, the Baton Rouge delegation pointed to gaps in care for pregnant women, prisoners and mental health services.

Sen. Sharon Broome said she was appalled that the decades-old initiative to revamp facilities at Earl K Long morphed into moving services.  “And we tried our best to get a new facility," Broome said. "Administrations change, goals change. I understand that. But I am very concerned when goals change and people are not considered.”

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2013 Legislative Session
6:00 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Capitol Access: Lege Picks Up Tax Reform, Looks to Ark. for ACA

The legislature is already taking up Governor Bobby Jindal’s charge to move a bill to phase out the income tax, just a day after the governor ditched his own plan for repeal.

In his speech to lawmakers Monday, Jindal didn't mention maintaining his requirement that any new tax changes be revenue neutral.

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It's All Politics
1:44 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Blacks' Election-Day Waits Nearly Double Those Of Whites, But Why?

People stood in line to vote on Election Day 2012 at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex, N.C.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:11 pm

On Election Day 2012, black voters waited on average nearly twice as long to vote as did white voters, while the wait time for Hispanic voters fell in between those two groups.

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2013 Legislative Session
11:56 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Capitol Access: Lawmakers Tackle Tax Reform, Budget, Healthcare Day One

The Legislature is already taking up Gov. Bobby Jindal’s charge to move a bill to phase out the income tax, just a day after the governor ditched his own plan for repeal. The House will consider sending fiscal-hawk Rep. Kirk Talbot’s six-year income tax phase-out to the House Ways and Means Committee when it convenes at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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2013 Legislative Session
8:57 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Capitol Access: Jindal 'Parks' Tax Plan, Ignores Budget

Governor Jindal’s opening address to the legislature didn’t mention healthcare, higher education, or the budget in general. Instead, he flabbergasted lawmakers and media with a thirteen-minute long speech ditching his plan to raise sales tax revenue to replace the income tax. But he didn’t abandon the initiative altogether.

“I know that several of you have already filed bills to phase-out the income tax," Jindal said. "What I’m here to tell you is this: even as we park our bill, I call on you. Let’s work together. Let’s pass a bill this session to get rid of the income tax once and for all in the state of Louisiana.”

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2013 Session
2:06 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Full Speech: Jindal Scraps His Tax Plan

FILE: Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2011.
Credit Gage Skidmore

In a 13-minute speech kicking off the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Bobby Jindal said he still wants the legislature to get rid of the income tax in Louisiana, but he let go of his plan for doing so with a big sales tax hike, an increased tobacco tax and the removal of some tax breaks. Listen to the speech in its entirety.


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Session 2013
9:27 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Capitol Access: 2013 Session Preview

Lawmakers from across the state convene Monday to kick-off the 2013 legislative session. It’s an odd-numbered year, so officials are tackling mostly fiscal matters – including Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate the income tax. He wants to make up the revenue by increasing the sales tax by 2.25 percent. The proposal has already met a litany of criticism.

Bob Mann – a political analyst and communications director for former Governor Kathleen Blanco – thinks the bill has slim chances. “It looks as if it’s not going to make it out of committee – at least not in its current form," Mann said.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

The Democrats' Final Four On Gay Marriage

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 3:15 pm

In the U.S. Senate, it's down to the Final Four versus the Dynamic Duo.

Only four Democratic senators remain who do not support same-sex marriage. Across the aisle, there are now two Republicans who have announced their support.

The new alignments mean that a majority — 53 senators — now support a concept that 85 senators voted to ban in 1996 with the Defense of Marriage Act.

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State Budget 2013
5:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Appropriations Questions DOE Surplus

House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin and Vice-Chair Simone Champagne hear testimony from Department of Education officials as they continue sifting through the state's proposed budget.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 While departments across the state are seeing steep cuts, the Department of Education has been getting more than it needs, according to accusations Wednesday in a House Appropriations Committee meeting.

Committee chairman Jim Fannin noted: year after year, the department has been allocated more money than it spent. In fiscal year 2012 the department's actual expenditures were $400 million dollars less than its $5.6 billion dollar operating budget.

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The Senate Race
4:07 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Sen. Landrieu's First GOP Rival Sets In Motion Key 2014 Contest

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), poses with his family and House Speaker John Boehner at the start of the new Congress, on Jan. 3. On Wednesday, Cassidy announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 4:44 pm

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.

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