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Capitol Access
9:03 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Budget Deal Reached, Final Vote Awaits

After lawmakers negotiated for days, Gov. Bobby Jindal was the first to call a press conference, at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, to announce the budget deal had been reached.

According to The Advocate, the conference was premature — many representatives had yet to talk to their delegations and the final papers had yet been signed.

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Capitol Access
8:10 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Money-Generating Bills Held Hostage for Budget Reforms

The fate of next year’s budget rests in the hands of a few legislative leaders, picked by the chambers’ chairs to sort things out behind closed-doors.

This year is a little different than years past. 

First, the House changed some rules so that more voices could be at the table for the final negotiations. 

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Education
5:29 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Career Diploma Given Short Shrift

Welding in action at Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences.
Credit Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s Department of Education is hosting a series of regional meetings this month to talk about simplifying the state’s high school diploma options.

The department is looking to put more emphasis on career training, after lawmakers’, employers’, and teachers’ repeated complaints that the state is too focused on sending kids on to college, instead of preparing them for real-world jobs.


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Politics
12:02 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Bill Seeking Reduced Marijuana Possession Sentences Advances

A bill aiming to reduce the sentences of marijuana possession in Louisiana advanced Tuesday in the Senate.

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Capitol Access
8:28 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Lawmakers Scurry to Keep Bills from Dropping Dead

Monday lawmakers and lobbyists hustled across the rotunda that connects the chambers to assemble the votes to keep their bills alive, lest they fall victim to “Drop Dead Day” at the Capitol.

Sound ominous? 

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Capitol Access
8:25 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Time Running Short for Budget Passage

The Senate has given the House a tough decision.

Senators rewrote the representatives’ version of the budget, re-allocating arguably unstable funds that the House had painstakingly removed. But it may be hard for representatives to vote against the budget. 

This audio is pending

That’s because it sets aside $50 million for a one-time salary bonus for public school teachers.  

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Education
5:44 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Suit Over Teacher Tenure Changes Kicked Back to District Court

The Louisiana Supreme Court has asked a Baton Rouge district judge to review his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws – called Act 1.

Judge Michael Caldwell had ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional because it bundled together too many items spanning Louisiana's education laws.

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Environment
5:08 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Keeping Track of Refinery Emissions

In its "Poisoned Places" series, NPR reports that industry here in Louisiana is emitting more smog-producing chemicals than it should and regulators aren't doing enough to curtail the pollution.

Elizabeth Shogren honed in on Exxon's Baton Rouge refinery and the smoke Almena Poray sees from the front porch of her house, a block from the refinery's south gate.

"That's something you see every day," Poray told the NPR reporter. "Sometimes it's a darker gray, sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

Ed Overton, professor emeritus of environmental science at LSU, and Robert Berg, state regulatory advisor for Exxon talk more about what Poray is seeing and breathing from her front porch.


Capitol Access
5:30 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Senate Shoots Down Fiscal Hawks' Bills

After yesterday’s committee approval, Senators will consider whether to try a new way to write the budget, which will more clearly designate what the legislature has the power to allocate.

They’ll also consider whether to try limiting the use of money that doesn’t come from taxes on expenses that occur annually.

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Education
5:23 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Senators Reject Delay of Teacher Evaluation, School Grading Changes

Attempts to slow down parts of a public education overhaul have been quashed.

The Senate Education Committee opted Thursday not to take action on a bill that would have put off changes to the school grading system that take ACT results into account.

Rep. Kenny Havard, who authored the bill, said using the college entrance exam in performance score calculations will penalize schools where career-bound students opt not to prepare for or take the test. Schools graded a “C” or worse by the state can lose students and resources.

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