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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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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Senate Committee Ditches House Plan for Budget

The Senate Wednesday dashed the House’s hopes of eliminating from the state budget what some lawmakers consider to be unstable funding.

The fiscal hawks in the legislature would, for example, frown on paying utilities with proceeds from a garage sale.

So the House spent the first half of the session occupied with removing from the budget money that is only available once, like money from the sale of property and court settlements.

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Capitol Access
8:52 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Hospital Stabilization Fund Passes Senate

The Senate signed off on a measure yesterday that aims to restore funding to health care.

Sounds good right?

The opposition, including twenty-plus-year member of the legislature Senator Robert Adley, was quick to point out that approving the measure may back lawmakers into a corner with the budget.

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Opinion
6:17 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Teachers Let Students Imagine Gate Leads to Anywhere

Twin Oaks Elementary teachers pose with the old rusty red gate with the new playground behind them.
Credit Nicole Walker

I volunteer for two reasons: to serve and to learn. One of my volunteering projects delivered a very unexpected lesson.


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University Medical Center
12:35 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Officials Assure Lawmakers University Medical Center Is Fully Funded

Facility planning officials say the construction of University Medical Center in New Orleans is on time and on budget.

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Capitol Access
8:29 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Privatization Oversight Bill Fails

Governor Jindal’s administration has said privatizing state services saves money, but some legislators are wary about the quality of those those services and whether they help the budget.

A measure that would have provided more oversight for contracts died in a Senate committee yesterday, as those that work at the Capitol hunkered down on the holiday to get everything done before the session ends on June 6.

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Capitol Access
5:30 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Ban on Red Snapper Needed?

Credit fusionstream / Flickr

According to federal regulations, Louisiana’s nine-day recreational red snapper fishing season legally starts next weekend. But some fishermen have been landing snapper since the state season started in March — at the risk of also landing a ticket from federal authorities.

The discrepancy between state and federal red snapper authorities is the subject of a bill sponsored by Sen. Bret Allain. Allain wants to put an all-out ban on red snapper, reasoning that if the fisheries are in such dire straits, maybe they shouldn’t be fished at all.

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Education Overhaul
8:57 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Dust Settled, Lawmakers More Measured on Education Reforms

Baton Rouge Democrat Rep. Ted James (left) and New Orleans Republican Rep. Kirk Talbot have both proposed bills this session moderating the education overhaul of 2012.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

Earlier this month, Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled that the way the state's private school voucher program was paid for was unconstitutional. It can't be paid for through the Minimum Foundation Formula, or MFP -- the pool of money that supports public education.

Rep. Kirk Talbot, a Republican from New Orleans who voted in favor of the education overhaul Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed hard for last year, says the missteps in the funding of the voucher program gave some in the legislature, " a little bit of heartburn."

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Capitol Access
8:28 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Frugal Committee Backs Capital Investment for Community Colleges

The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday approved $60 million in capital spending for the state’s technical colleges over the next five years — despite the state’s tight purse-strings.

Chairman Jim Fannin insisted that investing in the technical college system will grow the economy and the tax base.

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