WRKF News

Tax Overhaul
6:20 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Revenue Neutral Tax Overhaul a Tall Order

Gov. Jindal has promised that his proposal to eliminate the state income tax will be “revenue neutral to avoid budget cuts. 
 


2010 BP Oil Spill
5:42 am
Mon March 11, 2013

From Oiled Shores to the Courtroom: NPR's Debbie Elliott on the BP Oil Spill

Credit Christy Haynes/NPR

Debbie Elliott is NPR’s national correspondent based in Alabama. She has covered the 2010 BP oil spill, and its aftermath, since the beginning.

Reporting in Terrebone Parish in 2010, Elliott met the Chauvin family that had been shrimpers for five generations before the disaster. Now covering the trial over BP’s liability for the spill, Elliott tells WRKF’s Ashley Westerman that family story is one that has stuck with her.

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Affordable Care Act
4:53 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Jindal Still Opposing Medicaid Expansion, Awaiting Details of Arkansas Deal

Gov. Bobby Jindal still opposes Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, despite the federal government having recently approved some  flexibility on the issue.

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Bayou Corne Sinkhole
6:59 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Jindal Ducks Questions on Sinkhole Visit

Gov. Jindal didn't say he'd go to the sink hole, but didn't say he won't go.
Credit Frank Barnett, WRKF News

 Gov. Bobby Jindal evaded directly answering questions about whether he'll visit the site of a massive sinkhole that has swallowed nine acres of land in swampy Assumption Parish at an unrelated press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Some residents of Bayou Corne have been under a mandatory evacuation since August. They’ve publicly criticized the governor for having never traveled to see the sinkhole or speak with the families, according to the Associated Press.

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Tax Reforms
10:05 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Jindal Agrees to Tax Plan Due Date

Representative Chuck Kleckley was picked by Governor Jindal to become Speaker of the House in 2011, but lately, they've been butting heads.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 Governor Jindal’s administration has agreed to finish and release its proposal to overhaul the state’s tax system by the end of next week. In a reversal of the usual power-dynamic, Jindal is now yielding to pressure from legislators.

Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley, who was hand-picked by the governor sent Jindal an open letter yesterday evening pressing for the release of details of his tax overhaul. He asked that the plan be released to legislators by March 15 so that committees could properly debate it before session starts.

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High School Athletics
2:37 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Football Playoff Split Goes Before Legislative Commitee

Members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association met Tuesday with lawmakers to discuss the recent vote to split high school football playoffs into two separate divisions; one for public schools and another for select-admission schools, such as private or parochial schools.


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Tenure Laws
5:42 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

On Second Thought, Tenure Changes Tossed

Judge Michael Caldwell heard this case in the 19th District Court for the first time in December. Then, he upheld parts of the law - now he's struck down the whole thing.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

A state judge has thrown out rules passed last session tying teacher tenure and pay to classroom performance. Monday's decision is a turnaround from the same judge’s previous ruling.

In December, Judge Michael Caldwell threw out parts of what’s been called the “Teacher Tenure Act,” – parts that didn’t directly address teacher tenure, but made rules for school boards, visiting teachers, superintendents and principals.

That day, the governor touted the ruling as a success because it kept his tenure overhauls. Now the judge is saying the whole thing has to go. 

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Education
8:10 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

State Supt. Aims for Vouchers, With or Without School Funding Formula

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is slated to approve the school funding formula next week. The new proposal, released Thursday, still pays for the voucher program with dollars that would otherwise go to local districts. But, state Supt. John White is pitching alternative financing that would skirt the formula.


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FY14 Budget
5:28 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Fact Check: Completing Nichols' Numbers

On the Jim Engster Show Thursday morning, Division of Administration Commissioner Kristy Nichols relied on talking points that have been repeated by officials in the Jindal administration. 

The Commissioner has cherry-picked her facts.

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State Pensions
5:44 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Cash Balance Plan Could Tiptoe Back to Lawmakers

Chairman of the House Retirement Committee, Representative Kevin Pearson, brought forth the Jindal-backed cash balance plan last session.
Credit Louisiana Legislature

Representative Kevin Pearson, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, has prepared a bill that he hopes will improve the cash balance plan – despite that the plan is the subject of ongoing litigation. The plan was overturned in court because it didn’t get a two-thirds vote in the legislature. 

If the State Supreme Court does uphold the decision, the bill could be used as a safety-net, and the cash balance plan could be brought before the legislature a second time.


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