WRKF News

"The right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision." So said the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973's Roe v. Wade decision. But 42 years later in federal court in Baton Rouge, lawyers working for major policy groups on either side of the issue are arguing about restrictions on that personal private decision.


Garret Graves has completed nearly a quarter of his first term in Congress. So what does the 6th District congressman think of the new gig so far?

“You know, candidly, it’s one of the most frustrating jobs I’ve ever done in my life,” Graves said, when addressing the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

Graves said the halls of Congress vary from friendly to frenzied. One reporter asked the 43-year-old freshman if he thought his 86-year-old opponent could have handled it.

Lab Tests Heart Devices on 'Crash Test Dummies'

Jun 22, 2015

The University of Louisiana Lafayette’s Artificial Heart Lab, doesn’t make artificial hearts. It uses artificial hearts to test devices designed to help real hearts work better. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Charles Taylor, who started the lab, is leading the testing to get the devices approved for use. 

When the Bond Commission met last Thursday, nothing was said publicly about the precarious situation with the state’s credit rating. Behind the scenes, though, it’s a different story.

“I’ve got a conference call with them Monday,” state Treasurer John Kennedy said in an interview, after the meeting.

Prior to the governor signing the new budget into law Friday, the Jindal administration had conference calls with Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P last week, to which Kennedy was not invited. Instead, he’s remedying that presumed oversight today.

Warren Drake had success running the Zachary School District, and then went over to the state Department of Education for a seemingly good gig working on curriculum.

Now he’s the acting and incoming superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish District. Why would he want to do that?

Because this is where he started, in 1974, as a teacher and then administrator, before  becoming Zachary’s superintendent for its first 10 years after it broke away from the parish district.

Representative Jim Fannin of Jonesboro completed his final session as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee just over a week ago. Now that some of the dust has settled, I asked the term-limited Republican, a former teacher, to grade the session. He gives the Legislature a C+, saying there were some hits—and some misses.

“Higher education was a hit, in that we were able to fund at the level that we did,” Fannin observed. “And, I mean, our health care was funded -- those things that we had priorities for.”

Critics have said lawmakers didn’t really fix the structural problems of state outgo exceeding state income. But Fannin says they laid some foundations.

With all the uncertainty over the budget at session’s end, I wasn’t able to share with you one of the legislature’s charming traditions—the end-of-term farewells.

“Farewell speeches, you know they’re not really farewell. Y’all get that, right?” Rep. Karen St. Germain asked during her speech.

For the 21 term-limited lawmakers leaving the Legislature, it was a chance to say public thank-yous, shed a few tears, and reminisce on their time at the Capitol.

Women in Louisiana could soon be guaranteed full reports on their mammograms, thanks to a bill that passed the legislature last week.  The story Monica Helo told lawmakers helped make that happen.  

Is Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley calling for Medicaid expansion? No, that can’t be right. 

In the 2010 legislative session, Gov. Jindal signed into law a largely symbolic bill declaring all Louisianians free from quote “governmental intrusion in choosing or declining to choose any mode of securing health insurance coverage.” That was shortly after the federal Affordable Care Act passed, and 31 Republican lawmakers, including Kleckley, co-authored the measure.

Fast forward to today. Kleckey pushed the resolution allowing Louisiana’s next governor to pay for Medicaid expansion. Both houses approved, and the governor has no say.

Study Finds Having Been Through Disaster Not All Bad

Jun 15, 2015

In 2005, Dr. Katie Cherry, Director of LSU’s Life Course and Aging Center, was studying the healthy aging of 90-year-olds in Baton Rouge. And then Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck.  


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