WRKF News

screen capture by Sue Lincoln

Three thwacks of the gavel called the 2017 fiscal legislative session to order Monday. And as is customary, the governor addressed the House and Senate jointly. But as Governor John Bel Edwards laid out a massive agenda -- including criminal justice reform and comprehensive tax reform -- he also warned lawmakers this would not be a business-as-usual session.


Sue Lincoln

Lawmakers gather at the Capitol for today’s start of the 2017 legislative session, and there’s a lot on the menu: a challenging budget, comprehensive tax reform, criminal justice reform, roadwork backlogs and more. Few, if any, of the options seem to be to everyone’s taste, however.


Sue Lincoln

Nearly half the $29.7-billion proposed state budget is recommended for spending by Louisiana’s Department of Health.

“Yes, it’s big, because we’re a poor state,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee told members of a House Appropriations sub-committee this week. “And when you talk about big, don’t lose sight that ‘big’ is federal.”


screen capture from C-SPAN broadcast

“Prior to and throughout the response to the 2016 floods, FEMA was a very good partner. But the transition from response to recovery is where challenges arose,” Governor John Bel Edwards told the U.S. House Oversight Committee on Flood Recovery and Governmental Affairs. He testified Wednesday in response to complaints about the pace of the recovery from August’s devastating floods across south Louisiana.


Republican Congressmen from Louisiana have repeatedly criticized Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards' management of flood recovery. That fight continued in Washington on Wednesday, where Edwards testified before the House Government and Oversight Reform Committee

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) -- and others -- pounded Edwards with scathing criticism for almost three hours. 

To provide more context on the hearing, WWNO's Jessica Rosgaard sat down with Molly Peterson, who has been reporting on flood recovery for the Louisiana Public Radio Partnership. 

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Secretary of Economic Development Don Pierson took his turn in front of an Appropriations Subcommittee on Business Development Tuesday. He says while some areas in Louisiana are seeing economic growth, that’s not the case across the state. 


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This time last year, then-Treasurer John Kennedy was making the rounds of speaking engagements, complaining about spending on art for state buildings.

“They took $1.1-million cash of taxpayer money and they shouldn’t have been spending it on a sculpture in the first place,” Kennedy protested. “When you’re supposed to be broke, art is not a priority.”

Sue Lincoln

What began as a legislative preview seminar at the LSU Law School morphed into a philosophy lesson when lawmakers were asked, “How do you balance wants and needs in budgeting policy?”


As Louisiana recovers from the floods last August, it does so without Craig Fugate. The longtime chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency stepped down - as planned - at the end of the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration hasn't yet chosen Fugate's successor – but it has begun establishing new budget priorities that could matter to Louisiana. 

LA DOTD

“Our highway needs over the next 30 years will equate to about $26.8-billion. Our bridge needs? Over $9-billion over the next 30 years,” Louisiana DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson told a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday.


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