Politics

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

The state legislature approved $325 million dollars worth of  road improvement projects for rural areas of the state  last year. The projects are slated to be completed over a three year span. The Department of Transportation announced on Friday evening that they’ll borrow the money in chunks, instead of all at once, as planned. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said in a statement that’s to relieve the state budget of baring the three-year fiscal load in one year.

But State Treasurer John Kennedy said borrowing money in stages doesn’t make financial sense.

Inauguration 2013

Jan 21, 2013

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on 21 counts of bribery and other corruption charges by a federal grand jury. When he became the city's mayor in 2002, Nagin, a former cable TV executive, promised to revive New Orleans' economy, and its trust in the city's government.

Representative Brett Geymann's Office

On Tuesday, two republican lawmakers filed suit against the state for using one-time revenues to balance the budget. Where does the money come from?

Representatives Kirk Talbot and Cameron Henry have made waves about the constitutionality of the budget before. Talbot led a group of 19 GOP lawmakers that appealed to State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell with the same concerns last fall. Caldwell suggested the lawmakers go directly to the courts.


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