Capitol Access

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Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

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Lawmakers in the Senate were set to consider a bill to extend the state contract with Harrah's Casino — but they hit the brakes when a report by the Advocate revealed a real estate company is in talks to buy the property.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler has announced his resignation following allegations of sexual harassment.

Several Louisiana lawmakers, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, called for Schedler to resign when an  employee filed a lawsuit in February.

Louisiana’s Legislature is already reconsidering a package of criminal justice reforms they passed last year. The goal was to lower the state prison population, which is the highest in the nation.

Several Louisiana lawmakers have presented bills this session in response to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla. Most were aimed at allowing individuals — like teachers or former law enforcement officers — to carry a gun on school campuses. Others, like those from Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), restrict the type of weapon someone can buy — and who can buy it. 

The Legislature has already shown a willingness to expand medical marijuana use in Louisiana.

But other bills up for consideration this session will show exactly what kind of threshold the Legislature has for loosening marijuana restrictions in the state.

Debate in the House Criminal Justice committee Wednesday was focused on how to untangle a Louisiana law from the the racial injustice that produced it over a century ago.

At the center of it all was a bill by Sen. JP Morrell (D-New Orleans). 

One of the hardest fought battles every year in Louisiana’s Legislature is whether or not to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program. Rep. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge) wants to bring an end to that annual struggle. 

It’s illegal to trespass on critical infrastructure sites in Louisiana, like a refinery or a nuclear power plant. Representative Major Thibaut’s bill would add pipelines to that list.

Lawmakers in the House were able to get just enough votes to pass a budget that cuts $650 million in spending. Now, it’s up to the Senate to determine what happens next. 

The Louisiana House of Representatives narrowly succeeded in passing a budget with $650 million dollars in cuts. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s a failure.

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