WRKF News

Capitol Access
9:13 am
Thu April 25, 2013

House Turns Down Medicaid Expansion

The legislature technically decided Wednesday to put off accepting federal funding for health care expansion, which would include more low-income individuals under Medicaid.  A series of bills were voluntarily deferred, both in the House and Senate, to be taken up next week. A bill by Rep. Barbara Norton was involuntarily deferred - that’s typically a death sentence for a bill. 

The representatives that voted to shelve Norton’s bill did so because they’re unsure of what will happen if they accept the money - despite that the Legislative Fiscal Office testifying that the program would initially save the state money.

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Education
3:21 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Committee Backs Delay of School Performance Score Changes

Performance scores starting with the current school year are set to rely heavily on the ACT. Results from the college entrance exam would account for 25 percent of a public high school’s score.

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Capitol Access
9:50 am
Wed April 24, 2013

On Tobacco Taxes, Medicaid, Lawmakers Clutch Purse Strings

Polls show that the people of Louisiana and the legislature are at odds. Tuesday a constitutional amendment to raise the cigarette tax failed in committee – though recent polls by the American Cancer Society show 73 percent of Louisianians would approve of a tobacco tax increase.


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The Affordable Care Act
1:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Fiscal Office: La. Could Save With Medicaid Expansion

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates Louisiana could save up to $554.9 million over five years and between $185.2 million to almost $511 million over 10 years by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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Capitol Access
9:02 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Budget Restructuring Flies Through Committee; Tobacco Bills Up in Smoke

House committees took up two big ticket items Monday: budget reform and tobacco taxes.  Bills that would makeover the process of building the state’s budget passed favorably in the House Appropriations committee. A packed Ways and Means committee did not vote on tobacco taxes; representatives deferred their bills.


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Sports
4:15 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Democrats Win One in Tiger Stadium

Republicans and Democrats are all smiles after the Truce for the Troops Bowl in Tiger Stadium.
Credit Kayla Reed

Democratic lawmakers claimed a small victory Sunday. But it wasn’t on the House floor. It was at the first annual Truce for the Troops Bowl.


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Politics
12:44 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Tobacco Tax Hike Proposals Shelved

All four bills seeking to increase taxes on tobacco products in the state have been voluntarily tabled amid legislative opposition to raising taxes.

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Capitol Access
9:24 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Women's Health Funding at Risk

Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley last week called on the legislature to restore funding to the state program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to uninsured and underserved women, and Sen. Karen Carter Peterson chaired a committee focused on funding for women’s services.

Women testified about holes in funding for domestic violence shelters, pregnancy care, cancer screenings, and sexual health. Peterson called Governor Jindal’s budget proposal for next year irresponsible. According to Beth Meeks, from the Louisiana Coalition on Domestic Violence, the governor’s slashing of women’s services just doesn’t make fiscal sense.

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Capitol Access
9:36 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Southeast School District Tries Again

The slice of east Baton Rouge between Interstates 10 and 12 may be a step closer to seeing its own school district.

A constitutional amendment that would have funded the district failed to pass in the House last year. The same measure passed through the Senate Education committee Thursday without much debate.

Parents that live from Inniswold to Shenndoah testified that they just want to make schools safer and more academically successful for their children, like Norman Browning, president of the pro-breakaway group ‘Local Schools for Local Children.’

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Capitol Access
12:51 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Legislature Picky on Spending

State lawmakers are being more sensitive to how they spend money.

A bill containing minor change to the state’s Enterprise Zone program failed to pass in the House Thursday.

The Enterprise Zone is an incentive program that works to encourage businesses to expand in rural parts of the state. The bill would have changed the definition of a “multifamily residential housing”, making bigger apartment complexes eligible for a tax credit. 

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