Sue Lincoln

Sue Lincoln is a veteran reporter in the political arena. Her radio experience began in the early ’80s, in “the other L-A” — Los Angeles.

Since her transplantation to Louisiana 25 years ago, she has covered the state, the capital, and its colorful cast of characters for Louisiana Radio Network, LPB and the Southern Education Desk.

Now she’s focusing her experience and expertise on producing WRKF’s Capitol Access.

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NPR Story
3:03 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Religious Objections Bill Shelved, Jindal Issues Executive Order

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:39 am

The House Civil Law Committee heard arguments on both sides of HB 707 Tuesday. That’s the controversial measure prohibiting state action against those that exercise religious beliefs about marriage, including refusal to deal with same sex couples. It's also known as the "Marriage and Conscience Act".

“Religious observers need this basic protection,” said Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City, the bill’s author.

He urged swift action before the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

“June 18, the world is going to change,” Johnson warned.

It is expected the high court will rule that all states must recognize same-sex marriage.

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NPR Story
3:03 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Budget Chess: Senate vs. House

The Senate Revenue and Affairs Committee met Monday to consider the eleven tax bills approved by the full House on May 7th. It quickly became apparent that Chairman Neil Riser had a strategy for dealing with them: just move them along.

“Any objection? Hearing none, that bill will be reported favorable. Next bill,” Riser steadily announced.

No amendments were offered for any of the revenue-raising bills, and while numerous people put in cards either supporting or objecting to the bills, public testimony was limited.

These bills also face hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, prompting Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston-Broome to observe, “It appears that people are forfeiting their opportunity to speak today, to wait for Senate Finance.”

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Gazing into the Budget Crystal Ball

Senate President John Alario confers with LSU economist Jim Richardson May 14, 2015

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:35 am

When the Revenue Estimating Conference met last Thursday, they only found an additional $79-million to help with the FY 2016 budget shortfall.

“We still have a long way to go,” House Speaker Chuck Kleckley declared.

Senate President John Alario was marginally more optimistic.

“We’re getting closer, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” was Alario’s pronouncement.

With 24 days left in the session, I asked Kleckley and Alario to gaze into the crystal ball and make a few predictions about the budget.

“I think we can probably answer that better after we get it off the House floor,” Kleckley said, referring to the budget bill — HB 1, which will be debated by the full House on Thursday.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Fiscal Notes Can Be Fatal

Did you know a piece of paper could kill? Natchitoches Rep. Kenny Cox found that out Wednesday, when the fiscal note for his HB 590 was delivered just a few minutes before its hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee.

Cox’s bill would require industrial plants to install air quality monitors along their fence lines.

“This bill is about safety: safety for the people who live along the fence lines,” Cox said in explanation of the proposed law.

Before too much testimony on the bill was given, Houma Rep. Joe Harrison advised Cox that the estimated state cost for implementing the bill – the fiscal note – was going to be the real issue.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Equal Pay Bill Passes Full Senate

Louisiana’s Senate approved a bill requiring private businesses to provide equal pay for equal work, and setting up a mechanism for enforcement.

“This bill is important to our wives, our mothers, and our daughters. But it’s equally important to our fathers and sons,” said New Orleans Senator J. P. Morrell. “The message we’re sending to people around this state is that we believe that people should be paid equal pay for equal work.”

The debate over Senator Edwin Murray’s SB 219 was fierce, with the business lobby pushing lawmakers to vote no.

“All we’re doing with this bill is we are putting one more little nail in the coffin of businesses across the state,” said Senator Jack Donahue.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Chasing Change Under Couch Cushions

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 7:52 am

The House Appropriations Committee approved the budget bill – HB 1 – Monday. But first, members exhibited their expertise in using the news for clues which couch cushions to look under for loose change.

Houma Rep. Joe Harrison snagged some Racing Commission money for the Board of Regents, which he discovered in a recent report from the Legislative Auditor.

“The Racing Commission, since the inception of ‘gaming’, was supposed to be giving a percentage of its money, its budget, to Regents,” Harrison told the committee. “So we can only go back five years, but that amounts to $2.8 million.”

Covington Rep. John Schroder found some spare change for disabilities programs by looking in the Department of Economic Development.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Halftime: 'Unfortunately, It’s Not a Game'

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 12:50 pm

For the first time in months, LSU System President F. King Alexander was able to relax a bit over the weekend.

“I spent it with our daughter, at her soccer tournament Saturday and Sunday.”

Last Thursday, Louisiana’s full House passed some revenue raising bills, alleviating some of Alexander’s worry that no solution to the $1.6 billion budget deficit – and the crippling cuts looming over higher education – would be found. Today, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to add that additional funding into the budget bill, with the bulk going toward higher education.

Alexander says the situation appears brighter than before, but, “We’ve got a long ways to go. We’re not there yet.”

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Red River Radio
3:03 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Political Potholes: Raising Taxes for Roads

Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole is doing nothing to help with the state’s $14-billion backlog of road and bridge projects.

“We kicked the can down the road, but we lost it in a pothole. And we can’t get the can out,” says House Transportation chair Karen St. Germain.

So she offered two tax-raising measures to solve the problem. One, HB 778, increases the state’s sales tax by a penny. The other, HB 777, ups the tax on fuel, gasoline and diesel, by ten cents per gallon.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Tue May 5, 2015

For Medicaid Expansion, It’s SSDD (Same Subject, Different Decision)

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley

“This is not, and should not be a partisan issue, Rep. John Bel Edwards said last Thursday.

When it comes to Medicaid expansion, want to bet? The same concept with the same arguments supporting it was heard from a different author in a different committee Monday, and got a very different reception.

Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley’s resolution sailed through House Appropriations yesterday, while Democratic Rep. John Bel Edwards’ resolution failed to pass out of House Health and Welfare last Thursday.

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WRKF
3:03 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Lobbyist: The Art of Persuasion

Lobbyists are an integral part of the legislative process. But what do they actually do – besides stand around in the hallways and talk?

“We, as individuals, represent trade associations, companies, individual public groups. We’re their voice and their ears to keep them advised on their legislative issues.”

So says Randy Haynie, considered the “dean” of Louisiana lobbyists. A fixture at the Capitol since 1980, his clients include pharmaceutical companies, banks, Blueprint Louisiana, and the New Orleans Saints. He’s effective; credited with getting his client, Harrah’s, the land-based casino deal in New Orleans in the late 1990s.

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