WRKF News

Gov. Bobby Jindal called members of the capitol press corps into his office Thursday, sitting down with them to give his impressions of the first week of the session. He spent much of the time speaking of his support for Rep. Mike Johnson’s HB 707.

“This bill simply prevents the state from discriminating against Christians and others with traditional views of marriage,” Jindal stated. “It’s hard for me to see why anybody would be opposed to that.”


“Even if we are challenging the governor, we are asking you to inspire us with leadership, and come up with a solution that will solve this problem,” UNO student government president David Teagle told the House Appropriations committee Wednesday.

Teagle was one of several hundred college students from around the state who showed up at the capitol to protest proposed cuts to higher education.

courtesy LA OJJ

While the Senate Finance Committee began working through the budget Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee was taking public testimony on it.

“Thank you for coming today for this testimony,” Appropriations chair Jim Fannin said in welcome, noting the weather made it more difficult than usual for many who turned up to add their input to the process. “We are appreciative for that,” he said.

Much of the public testimony went as expected: requests for higher allocations to cover jobs and services.

With three whacks of the gavel, Speaker Chuck Kleckley called the Louisiana House to order, starting the 2015 legislative session. The main event of day one was Governor Bobby Jindal’s address.

“Here we are—the moment so many of us have been waiting for: my last state-of-the-state speech,” Jindal began, to appreciative laughter from senators and representatives alike.

Joking aside, the governor made several claims regarding the state of Louisiana’s economy. Democrats, led by Amite Rep. John Bel Edwards, challenged several of those statements. Let’s check both for spin.

Bobby Jindal addresses the Louisiana legislature one last time as governor, kicking off the 2015 legislative session.

It’s a fiscal session, so lawmakers will be focused on finding solutions to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, with the future of higher education and healthcare services at stake. The governor has already made his “guardrails” clear: he won’t accept any tax increases.

Beyond the budget, Jindal is aiming to yank Common Core education standards from Louisiana’s public schools. And he’s looking to frame the debate around a religious freedom bill filed in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on the marriage of same-sex couples.

With host Amy Jeffries, Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, and political scientist Robert Hogan provide context and analysis as Gov. Bobby Jindal lays out his agenda for the 2015 legislative session.
 


Old Cancer Drug, New Formula

Apr 13, 2015
LSU AgCenter

For the past eight years, Professor Zhijun Liu of LSU’s AgCenter has been focusing on a chemotherapy drug called Taxol, used to treat ovarian and breast cancer.  It’s a potent drug, and the body struggles to dissolve and absorb it.  Liu is looking for ways to fix that.

 

The 2015 legislative session convenes today, with just 60 days to solve a one-point-six billion dollar budget deficit. Has it ever been this bad?

“We’ve gone through this a couple of other times; the Arab oil embargo in the early 80s, and then also in the middle 90s when Roemer was governor,” House Clerk Butch Speer recalls. “We had those two crises, and they were actually worse than this one. Certainly in the middle 90s we were over a billion dollars short. We’re a billion and a half now, but the budget is 6, 8 times as large now.”

Congress heads back to Washington on Monday. Freshman House member Garret Graves has been home here in the 6th District during his first long break from Capitol Hill.

Participants in the legislative process can easily get sucked into the intensity of a session. BUT Louisiana lawmaking does not take place in a vacuum. It happens in the tallest state capitol building in the United States—a place filled with symbolism.

Built in the first few years of the Great Depression, it was the brainchild of then-Governor Huey P. Long.

“He completed it in just 14 months’ time, at the cost of five million dollars,” explains Capitol tour guide Audrey Fry.

Arrested Development frontman, Speech.
Courtesy of the artist

The Atlanta-based group Arrested Development hit it big in 1992 with its debut album pioneering hip hop with a message.

Arrested Development disbanded for a while, then came back together about 15 years ago. And, as frontman Speech told WRKF's Amy Jeffries when he called in to the newsroom, they’ve been working mostly overseas since then.

They came back from a tour in Japan just in time to perform at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival this Saturday, April 11. Arrested Development will be talking more with WRKF's Amy Jeffries Backstage at Blues Fest at 2:45 p.m.

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