WRKF News

Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Attempt to Put Medicaid Expansion on the Ballot Fails

Sen. Ben Nevers rallying support for Medicaid expansion on the steps of the Louisiana capitol. April 23, 2014.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

At the conclusion of nearly five hours of emotional testimony, Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman David Heitmeier read the names of those weighing in on Senator Ben Nevers’ bill. The proposal would have put a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act before voters in Louisiana.

“You’ve got a lot of support here, Sen. Nevers," Heitmeier said.

But Nevers didn’t have the support of the committee. His bill was stopped on a 6 to 2 vote that fell along party lines.


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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Employment Non-Discrimination Bill Withdrawn

Rep. Karen St. Germain (D-Pierre Part)

 

  She knew she didn’t have the votes going into Tuesday’s Civil Law committee meeting, but Representative Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part still wanted proponents of her anti-discrimination bill to have their say.

“We’re here to do something for the public, and the public means everyone,” St. Germain told her fellow lawmakers. “This is a fairness bill.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Targeting Teachers Unions

Credit Sue Lincoln

In the aftermath of union-filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of education reform measures, a bill to prohibit participation in state retirement by future employees of the teachers’ unions was narrowly defeated on the House floor Monday.

“They’re not public employees. They do not work for the state of Louisiana,” Representative Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), the bill’s author, explained.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Would You Vote Against the Bible?

  When legislators return from their four-day Easter recess this afternoon, the full House will take up a rather controversial bill—naming “the Holy Bible” as the official state book of Louisiana.

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First Bell
2:54 am
Mon April 21, 2014

First Bell: In a Time of Racial Tension, Quarterback's Team Wasn't With Him

Eric Reed as a young first lieutenant with his wife Julia at a military officers function in 1989 at an Army base in Garlsted, Germany. They went to Istrouma High School together.
Credit Courtesy of Eric Reed

The First Bell series is a growing collection of stories from students, parents, and educators about pivotal experiences in education. To tell your story, email amy@wrkf.org with "My First Bell" in the subject line or tweet with the hashtag #MyFirstBell.

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Eric Reed was the first black quarterback at his elementary, middle, and high school when the Baton Rouge public schools were being integrated.

Epithets were used against him more than once.

Reed’s junior year at predominantly white Istrouma High School, 1974, was a turning point. The night after a race riot at the school, the football team played the last game of the regular season against all-black McKinley.

“Anytime Istrouma played McKinley, I happened to be the target of a lot of trash talk, because I’m the one who didn’t go to McKinley or Capitol, I chose to go to Istrouma, so I was -- the term they used back then -- the ‘oreo’, you know, I sold out.”

Both teams needed the win to get to the playoffs, but Reed says he didn’t have the usual fire in his belly. Istrouma lost 7 to 6.


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Insight
3:01 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Insight: With Fresh Analysis of State Budget, Lawmakers Go 'OMG!'

At the halfway mark in the state legislative session, all of the state departments have presented their piece of the state budget and the House Appropriations Committee invited the public to weigh in this week. Next it will be the committee’s turn at making changes to what the Jindal administration proposed. And new analysis of the 2014-2015 proposal shows a patchwork of funding that could leave the state could with a really big hole to fill for 2015-2016.

Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, has been following the developments.
 


Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Students Push for Tastier School Lunches

Ruston High student Madison Wooley's "selfie" with Sen. Rick Gallot
Credit Madison Wooley

“The food is not very tasty, at all.”

“The food’s so disgusting.”

“The cafeteria food is nasty.”

These students from Ruston and Central high schools aren’t just bellyaching about their school lunches, they’re testifying before Louisiana’s Senate Agriculture Committee. They’re hoping to advance a resolution they initiated.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Voucher Eligibility: “C” is for “Choice”

  A bill that would take students attending “C” rated public schools out of eligibility for the voucher program failed to get out of the House Education Committee Wednesday.

“Either ‘C’ schools are failing schools, or they’re not,” stated Amite Representative John Bel Edwards, explaining the proposed program change as simple logic. “This program was premised upon giving choices to parents whose kids were trapped in failing schools. A ‘C’ school is not a failing school. It’s just that simple.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

State Education Superintendent: Elect or Appoint?

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White

  State Representative Joe Harrison of Houma wants the people to decide whether to elect the next state superintendent of education, or let the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education keep making that appointment. Harrison is the author of that constitutional amendment, now headed to the House floor.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Coastal Restoration Spending Advances

Scientists' rendering of the Louisiana coastline in 2100--if land loss is not reduced or halted.
Credit sciencenews.org

 

   Members of the House Transportation Committee put their stamp of approval on the Coastal Restoration Spending Plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Jerome Zeringue, director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, says they’ll spend $725-million. Most of that money is oil-spill funds from BP.

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