WRKF News

Session 2013
9:27 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Capitol Access: 2013 Session Preview

Lawmakers from across the state convene Monday to kick-off the 2013 legislative session. It’s an odd-numbered year, so officials are tackling mostly fiscal matters – including Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate the income tax. He wants to make up the revenue by increasing the sales tax by 2.25 percent. The proposal has already met a litany of criticism.

Bob Mann – a political analyst and communications director for former Governor Kathleen Blanco – thinks the bill has slim chances. “It looks as if it’s not going to make it out of committee – at least not in its current form," Mann said.

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State Budget 2013
5:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Appropriations Questions DOE Surplus

House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin and Vice-Chair Simone Champagne hear testimony from Department of Education officials as they continue sifting through the state's proposed budget.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 While departments across the state are seeing steep cuts, the Department of Education has been getting more than it needs, according to accusations Wednesday in a House Appropriations Committee meeting.

Committee chairman Jim Fannin noted: year after year, the department has been allocated more money than it spent. In fiscal year 2012 the department's actual expenditures were $400 million dollars less than its $5.6 billion dollar operating budget.

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Budget 2013
6:01 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Appropriations Committee Frowns on BESE Transparency Efforts

The House Appropriations Committee is questioning the number and necessity of contracts that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains with private entities.

At a committee meeting Tuesday Chairman Jim Fannin told BESE President Chas Roemer that contracts should be reviewed more often, so that the board can ensure the funds are being spent wisely. BESE cut costs last year by reducing the number of meetings from ten to seven a year, which gave them less time to review contracts.

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Tax Reforms
9:36 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Robideaux Covers Tax, Budget Reform

Representative Joel Robideaux has been a part of nine legislative sessions. He spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday about this session's initiatives.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

The lawmaker sponsoring Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax reform package is saying the administration has learned from his mistakes last session. 

After the blow back from the abbreviated debate on education reform in 2012, Representative Joel Robideaux said discussions on the Governor's initiatives got underway sooner this year. “Some may say that wasn’t a good way to go," Robideaux told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, "because we’ve taken two months of opposition, but from a legislative standpoint, I think it’s great because we’ve had two months of debate we wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded.”

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The Affordable Care Act
5:00 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Rep. Cassidy On Affordable Care Act, Offers Up Alternative Reforms

Rep. Bill Cassidy, LA-6th District
Credit Bill Cassidy

News broke Tuesday that 6th District Rep. Bill Cassidy will announce his candidacy for Senate Wednesday.

While Congress has been off last week and this week for their annual April recess, Cassidy has spent some of his time off here in Baton Rouge.

Cassidy recently co-sponsored the Defund Obamacare Act, which is part of the Republican handling of the Affordable Care Act three years after the healthcare overhaul was signed into law.


 

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High School Athletics
12:08 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

High School Football Playoff Split Issue Heads to the Legislature

A state lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that aims to make it illegal for an association or organization to prohibit any school from participating in athletic activities based on its admissions criteria.

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Tax Reform
9:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Jindal Speaks to Tax Plan Opposition

More stakeholders are turning their noses up at the governor’s plan to eliminate income and franchise taxes in favor of raising and broadening the sales tax.

House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards said the plan is a play from a national conservative think tank that will look good to voters in other states, if the governor decides to run for national office. His caucus thinks it will hurt low- and middle-income families, as well as small business, like those in the tourism industry.

The Louisiana Association for Business and Industry released a statement saying it will oppose any change to the system that raises tax on businesses.

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Tech Industry
4:14 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Baton Rouge to See 800 Tech Jobs with IBM

An artist's rendering of the proposed IBM building, which will also include almost 100 river-view apartments.
IBM

Louisiana, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and software company IBM are partnering to expand LSU’s computer science program, revamp downtown property, and bring 800 jobs to Baton Rouge.

IBM will open a new service center downtown in 2015, but will employ 300 locally in 2014.

Under the partnership, LSU’s school of engineering is expected to double its computer science faculty and jump to the top 15 nationally in number of graduates.

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Affordable Care Act
1:31 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

DHH Report: Could Be Savings In Medicaid Expansion

A new report by the state Department of Health and Hospitals shows Louisiana could save millions of dollars over the next decade by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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Dept. of Health and Hospitals
7:52 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Greenstein Skips DHH Budget Hearing Amid Investigation

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has been instructed to stay quiet about the specifics of the cancelation of a nearly $200 million Medicaid contract.

That’s what State Inspector General Stephen Street told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday before a hearing on the Department of Health and Hospital’s budget for the next fiscal year got underway.

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