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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Voucher Eligibility: “C” is for “Choice”

  A bill that would take students attending “C” rated public schools out of eligibility for the voucher program failed to get out of the House Education Committee Wednesday.

“Either ‘C’ schools are failing schools, or they’re not,” stated Amite Representative John Bel Edwards, explaining the proposed program change as simple logic. “This program was premised upon giving choices to parents whose kids were trapped in failing schools. A ‘C’ school is not a failing school. It’s just that simple.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

State Education Superintendent: Elect or Appoint?

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White

  State Representative Joe Harrison of Houma wants the people to decide whether to elect the next state superintendent of education, or let the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education keep making that appointment. Harrison is the author of that constitutional amendment, now headed to the House floor.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Coastal Restoration Spending Advances

Scientists' rendering of the Louisiana coastline in 2100--if land loss is not reduced or halted.
Credit sciencenews.org

 

   Members of the House Transportation Committee put their stamp of approval on the Coastal Restoration Spending Plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Jerome Zeringue, director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, says they’ll spend $725-million. Most of that money is oil-spill funds from BP.

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First Bell
3:34 am
Mon April 14, 2014

First Bell: Twin Sisters, Separate Schools

Fraternal twin sisters Megan (left) and Kendall Smith.

 

The First Bell series is a growing collection of stories from students, parents, and educators about pivotal experiences in education. To tell your story, email amy@wrkf.org with "My First Bell" in the subject line or tweet with the hashtag #MyFirstBell.

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Judging from the way that the fraternal twin sisters laugh and finish each other’s sentences, you might think Megan and Kendall Smith had never left each other’s side. 

But, as Kendall told fellow LSU student Morgan Louviere, they started going to separate schools — and leading separate lives — in the third grade. 

Megan got into a private school and Kendall didn’t. 

Megan says they didn’t really get different “educations” as a result, but getting their education “differently” did make them who they are. 

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Public Invited for State Budget Input

  As the sixth week of the twelve week session begins, the budget takes center stage on Monday and Tuesday.

“Our public comment days are April the 14th and April the 15th,” explains House Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin. And he says they will work into the evening both days, to ensure everyone can be heard.

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Insight
3:07 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Insight: Congressman's Scandal Yields Political Turf War

Vance McAllister, shown in a photo provided by his campaign, will be the next representative from Louisiana's 5th Congressional District after winning Saturday's special election.
Credit AP

Vance McAllister swept into Congress six months ago, elected in a special election to finish out Rodney Alexander's term representing the 5th District in north Louisiana. And already, McAllister has been ensnared in a scandal, caught on tape kissing a woman who is not his wife. 

Now political opportunists on all sides are calling for McAllister's resignation and chomping at the bit to fill his seat.  

JR Ball, NOLA.com's news manager in Baton Rouge, has had an ear to the frenzy. 


Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Committee Says No to Higher Minimum Wage

Workers await their time to testify on minimum wage bills.

The House Labor Committee heard and rejected several bills Thursday, aimed at setting a state minimum wage higher than the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

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Culture
4:41 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Lil Buck Sinegal: 'With the Blues, You Can Express Yourself'

Lil Buck Senegal
Credit High ISO Music

Lil Buck Sinegal, a Louisiana Music Hall of Famer, started playing as a kid in Lafayette on a Harmony box guitar before his father, a cement finisher, bought him an electric guitar -- paid for in installments of $10 a week.

Buck played in zydeco legend Clifton Chenier's band for 17 years, and he says it was Chenier who taught him the blues.


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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

'Crime Against Nature' Repeal Effort Advances

Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith

Not every bill a legislator files is to make new law. Sometimes a bill is needed to repeal an old law. Such was the case Tuesday in the House Criminal Justice committee.

“No matter what you might think about the language, it is unconstitutional,” said Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith, in reference to the state’s sodomy law, also known as “crime against nature”, and her bill to repeal it.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Pistol Packing Politicians?

   “This is for personal protection,” Senator Bret Allain said of his bill to allow legislators to carry their guns in the state capitol. The Senate and Governmental Affairs committee considered the Franklin lawmakers’ bill on Tuesday.

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