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

Gage Skidmore

Governor Bobby Jindal held an impromptu press conference at a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion honoring the longest-married couples in Louisiana on Valentine’s Day.

When reporters asked about the polls released by the Louisiana Medical Society and Public Policy Polling, which showed approval of the governor below 50 percent, Jindal shrugged off the numbers.

Bobby Jindal, once one of the most popular governors in the country, has seen his approval ratings slide over the past two-and-a-half years to just 37 percent, according to a report released today by the Public Policy Polling organization.

Pete Souza

President Barack Obama touched on the oil and gas industry in his State of the Union. Some of these initiatives may benefit Louisiana’s economy.

First, the President suggested loosening regulation. “My administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” Obama said. “That’s got to be a part of an all-of-the-above plan.” 

Congress likes to say it no longer does earmarks, the provisions that direct federal dollars to serve local interests or campaign supporters. And though that may be true, it's also a fact that targeted provisions are still useful in moving legislation — even critical legislation like the bill that pulled Washington back from the fiscal cliff last month.

Jack Cox

State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.

Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.

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.

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.”

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.

Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson
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.

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.