WRKF News

Smart Growth
12:53 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

NOLA Adjudicated Property Redemption Window Could Become State-Wide

A bill to shorten the time frame from three years to 18 months for owners of adjudicated properties to pay unpaid taxes has advanced in the house.


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Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
1:00 am
Tue April 16, 2013

De-Institutionalizing Louisiana, Part Two: Demand vs. Expansion

The chapel at St. Mary's Residential Training School in Boyce, La.
Credit St. Mary's Residential Training School

In Boyce, La., St. Mary’s Residential Training School offers both residential care and educational services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

This concludes our two-part series on the state’s goal to wind down the number of individuals living in places like St. Mary’s.


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Culture
6:36 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Postcard from Baton Rouge Blues Fest

Henry Gray, the blues pianist, at work, April 13, 2013.
Amy Jeffries WRKF

The Memphis Blues, the Chicago Blues, the Mississippi Delta Blues have all had their fair share of the spotlight. But what about the Baton Rouge Blues?  -- the Swamp Blues? 

This weekend the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation hosted its annual festival downtown to celebrate the music of our city.


Medicaid
1:04 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Bill to Create Hospitalization Stablization Formula Passes With Few Details

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to try and maintain the level of funding to hospitals that take Medicaid patients.  

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Capitol Access
10:46 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Income Tax Repeal Bills Shelved

Last week Governor Bobby Jindal announced his main priority this session would be repealing the income tax. Lawmakers took that off of the table on Monday.

Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Joel Robideaux, said he’d spoken with constituents, House leadership, and policy analysts. There’s little support for bills that repeal the income tax without making up the revenue. “As a result of my conversations and review of the analysis," Robideaux said, "I would prefer if we indefinitely shelve bills to repeal the income tax. It’s a difficult, but I believe necessary measure.”

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Some Policy Analysts Say Ditch Tax Reform "Plan B"

Now that the governor’s plan to replace the income tax with a higher and broader sales tax is off the table, lawmakers, policy analysts and other officials are coming up with new ideas. 

Governor Jindal isn’t requiring a new plan to make up for lost revenue, but eliminating the income tax would cost the state 23.7 billion dollars if it’s phased out over the next ten years.

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Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
1:00 am
Mon April 15, 2013

De-Institutionalizing Louisiana, Part One: Waivers vs. Facilities

Roberta Fontenot, 70, once lived in the state's largest institution for individuals with developmental disabilities. She now lives in her own apartment on waiver supports.
Credit WRKF

Louisiana's efforts to move more individuals with developmental disabilities out of congregate living and back into the home with supports actually started pretty late compared to the rest of the country.

In the 1980s when other states were beginning to shut down their large, state-run facilities as part of the national de-institutionalization movement, Louisiana was still building. Only in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina forced the shutdown of the New Orleans metropolitan facility did the state start ramping up its de-institutionalizing efforts.

This is the first of a two-part series exploring the progress of that effort over the years since.

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Capitol Access
9:37 am
Fri April 12, 2013

LSU Ok to Lease Hospitals Without Lege Approval, DOE Seeks Restructuring

Legislative approval is not required for LSU to lease its hospitals, that’s according to an opinion issued Thursday by State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. A law passed in 1997 gave governance of hospitals to LSU, and a 2003 amendment didn’t include leases on the list of things LSU has to go to the Capitol for – so Caldwell ruled leasing “intentionally omitted.”

The opinion hasn’t stopped the legislature from trying to intervene in privatization. The House moved a resolution to stop the process until the legislature has more information.

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Capitol Access
6:00 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Earl K Long Closure Officialized, Education Changes Proposed

Lawmakers have put the final nail in the coffin to close LSU’s public hospital in North Baton Rouge. In Wednesday’s Joint Budget Committee, the Baton Rouge delegation pointed to gaps in care for pregnant women, prisoners and mental health services.

Sen. Sharon Broome said she was appalled that the decades-old initiative to revamp facilities at Earl K Long morphed into moving services.  “And we tried our best to get a new facility," Broome said. "Administrations change, goals change. I understand that. But I am very concerned when goals change and people are not considered.”

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Early Childhood Development
7:28 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Study Results Bode Well For Early Childhood Education Act

Results of a ten year study show at-risk students who attended Pre-K do better in elementary and middle school.

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