WRKF News

Opinion
12:59 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

It's Easier to Buy a Gun than a Used Guitar

In Louisiana, the wait for a Glock 19 like this one can be just 30 minutes, while it's 30 days for a used guitar.
Credit Keith LaFaille / Flickr

In a national poll released Thursday, Quinnipiac University found no significant voter opposition to background checks for all gun buyers.

It didn’t take long for commentator J. Cullens to pass the background check when he bought a gun in December.

But after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, he’s not sure if buying a firearm in Louisiana should be so easy.


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Medicaid
11:47 am
Thu February 7, 2013

DHH Secretary on Healthcare Cuts: It's All About Efficiency

Bruce Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Credit Dept. of Health and Hospitals

Almost $83 million in cuts to healthcare programs and services went into effect Friday to shore up a mid-year deficit in the state budget. These are separate from a previous round of cuts made in July.

The latest round of reductions includes cuts to services for at-risk children and low-income moms, as well as a one percent drop in the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary Medicaid services. 


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Politics
4:06 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Tax Rebate Proposals May Move to Odd Years

Louisiana lawmakers are limited to what topics they may consider when - one senator hopes his amendment would better categorize tax rebates.
Credit Jack Cox

State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.

Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency

Lawmakers will consider a bill that could curtail the Governor's privilege to classify documents.

After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.


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Grading Teachers
4:12 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

EBR Schools Official: Teacher Evaluations Difficult, But Necessary

Compass -- the evaluation system being rolled out in public schools across the state -- has raised the stakes. Teachers who don’t score highly effective under the new measures face the loss of salary and tenure. Ineffective teachers could lose their jobs.

The state Department of Education says so far attrition has remained steady, but the East Baton Rouge Parish School District is still wary of turnover. Beanka Williams, the coordinator of support programs for EBR, says the district is having job fairs monthly to make sure schools are fully staffed.

Williams has also been fielding questions from anxious teachers since last summer when they were first asked to set goals for what their students would learn this year.
 


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Business
3:41 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Baton Rouge Patent Growth Lags Behind Cities Nationwide

Patent production isn’t growing as quickly in Baton Rouge as in other metro areas, according to a new national study.

The Brookings Institution ranks Baton Rouge 141st out of over 350 metro areas for patent production. The capitol city averaged 71 new patents yearly between 2007 and 2011. But it is on the bottom of the list for patent growth.

High patent production typically coincides with low unemployment. And patent growth can indicate coming industry expansion.

Politics
12:26 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vitter's New Clout Could Bring Changes to Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for many flood control projects around the state - like the Morganza floodway.
Credit US Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets Thursday to discuss reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers.

One of Louisiana’s senators, David Vitter, now sits as the ranking minority member of the committee.

Vitter saif the Corps has a history of putting projects on the back burner because of cost and bureaucratic entanglements.

“Important projects take twenty years or more, deadlines are almost never met,” Vitter said. “It’s just one paper shuffle after another.”

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Politics
9:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Tobacco Tax Could Nearly Close Budget Gap

Credit Geierunite / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax reform proposals may include raising the tobacco excise tax. Health officials have suggested raising the tax by a dollar per pack. A study shows raising the tax by that much would raise $223 million a year – that’s almost enough to have closed this year’s $240 million budget gap. 

Jindal has said his tax reforms would be revenue neutral, replacing the income tax with higher sales tax.

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Super Bowl 2013
3:42 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

BR Gets Tourism Bump From Super Bowl Spill-Over

Baton Rouge promoted its accommodations to Super Bowl fans.
Credit Visit Baton Rouge

Preliminary data from the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation shows Super Bowl XLVII brought an estimated 150,000 visitors to New Orleans, and is expected to rake in an estimated $432 million for the city’s economy.

Just about 80 miles up the road here in the capital city, tourism spill-over from the Super Bowl-boom gave Baton Rouge a bit of an economic bump as well.

Visit Baton Rouge President and CEO Paul Arrigo says Baton Rouge started planning for Super Bowl 2013 in 2009, when New Orleans was initially chosen for the site.

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LSU Football
4:55 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Winning Coach of the Tigers Gets Raise

LSU football coach Les Miles has been with the Tigers since 2005, and hasn't gotten a raise since 2007.
Credit Louisiana State University

 

LSU's governing board has approved a $549,000 annual pay raise for football coach Les Miles.

The change has bumped Miles' salary to $4.3 million a year and extended his contract through the 2019 season.

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