Politics

Politics
3:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency

Lawmakers will consider a bill that could curtail the Governor's privilege to classify documents.

After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.


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Politics
12:26 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vitter's New Clout Could Bring Changes to Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for many flood control projects around the state - like the Morganza floodway.
Credit US Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets Thursday to discuss reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers.

One of Louisiana’s senators, David Vitter, now sits as the ranking minority member of the committee.

Vitter saif the Corps has a history of putting projects on the back burner because of cost and bureaucratic entanglements.

“Important projects take twenty years or more, deadlines are almost never met,” Vitter said. “It’s just one paper shuffle after another.”

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Politics
9:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Tobacco Tax Could Nearly Close Budget Gap

Credit Geierunite / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax reform proposals may include raising the tobacco excise tax. Health officials have suggested raising the tax by a dollar per pack. A study shows raising the tax by that much would raise $223 million a year – that’s almost enough to have closed this year’s $240 million budget gap. 

Jindal has said his tax reforms would be revenue neutral, replacing the income tax with higher sales tax.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Black Justice Sworn in as Supreme Court Chief

Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson
Credit Louisiana Supreme Court

Her honor Bernette J. Johnson was sworn in as Louisiana's first African American chief justice Friday morning. Johnson was only able to take her seat after two civil rights lawsuits.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

First Bills Take Up Gun Regulations

State legislators are likely to consider gun regulation next session - but a recent constitutional amendment might hamper lawmaking.
Credit Alex C. Balla

Legislators have begun filing their bills for the upcoming session. The first three take up gun regulation.

 Because this is an odd-numbered year, legislators will concentrate on tax and appropriation bills. But each legislator is allowed to file five bills on other topics. Gun regulation is likely to be a recurring theme. 

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Fiscal Hawks
5:40 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Proposals Offered to Fix Holes in State Budget Process

A coalition of state representatives is pushing a slew of bills and amendments to reform Louisiana’s budget process. The lawmakers are fed up with rushed legislation, cutting higher education and healthcare year after year, and procedural tomfoolery.

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State Pensions
6:34 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Pension Actuaries Make Quick Return to Capitol

The state employee retirement reforms Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed last session were overturned in court last week. Monday, a state committee heard testimony about changes to the firefighters' retirement system that could be considered by the legislature this spring.

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Road to 2016
6:05 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Dollars will Show Success of Jindal's National Stumping

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

Gov. Bobby Jindal spent the weekend in Washington, D.C., attracting widespread attention with a set of speeches. Many national pundits think Jindal is laying groundwork for a presidential bid in 2016.

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State Pensions
5:19 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Changes to State Employee Retirement Unconstitutional

Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed the 401K-style retirement plan for future rank-and-file state workers last year. Thursday, a state judge struck it down.

Judge William Morvant called his ruling, “purely procedural.”

He said the law that swaps out monthly retirement payments for a “cash-balance” plan for new hires needed a two-thirds majority to pass since it raises the cost of the retirement plan.

Throughout the hearing Thursday, the opposing sides attacked the credibility of each other’s auditor.

Keystone XL Pipeline
1:09 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Senators Push Again For Pipeline Permit

On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved an adjusted route for the Keystone XL Pipeline that avoids that state’s fragile Sand Hills. Soon after, 53 senators – including both from Louisiana – wrote a letter to President Obama supporting the project.

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