Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House is set to try again on Friday to reach a compromise over next year's budget, a day after deadlocking on the $25 billion in spending plans. Conservative Republicans and the Jindal administration are at odds over whether to use $270 million in one-time cash — or to make deeper cuts to state agencies. 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A House health care committee has moved ahead with a proposal that would mandate drug testing of welfare recipients, despite objections from Catholic leaders who said the bill raises moral issues by vilifying poor mothers. Supporters say they want to make sure welfare checks pay for family needs, not drugs. 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — House lawmakers have decided Louisiana taxpayers shouldn't be required to get their tax refunds on debit cards if they don't use direct deposit.

The House unanimously agreed Tuesday to a proposal by Jonesboro Rep. Jim Fannin that would allow people to continue to get a paper check if they don't want the debit card.

Louisiana's revenue department has replaced refund checks with pre-paid Chase Visa cards for taxpayers who don't get their refunds through direct deposit, as a way to save money.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House has upended Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to create a new retirement plan for rank-and-file workers. Lawmakers narrowly backed a requirement that any new employees put into the revamped retirement plan also be enrolled into the federal Social Security program. 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The House budget-writing committee has patched together a $25 billion budget for next year that would cut public colleges and health care services, force state worker layoffs and continue privatization efforts in state agencies. Conservative lawmakers say the cuts included in the 2012-13 spending plans don't go far enough. 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to increase the flow of water through the Old River Control Structure into the Atchafalaya Basin. Jindal says abnormally low water levels in the basin have spawned complaints about their effects on water quality and the wild crawfish harvest. 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The House budget-writing committee is unveiling its plans Tuesday for filling a $211 million deficit this year, after working behind the scenes with the governor's office on ideas for plugging the gap.

The Appropriations Committee also is expected to rework next year's $25 billion budget proposal to account for a more than $300 million drop in projected state revenue in the new year that begins July 1.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House has narrowly refused to extend an existing tax break given to the New Orleans Hornets that saves the team $3.7 million a year.

The extension proposed by Metairie Rep. Cameron Henry, a Republican, fell four votes short of passage in a 49-46 vote Wednesday.

The NBA team gets a tax break through the state Quality Jobs Program. Henry proposed continuing that for the length of the Hornets' new lease with the state, which is set to go through 2024.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A proposal that would allow gay couples and other unmarried couples to adopt children together in Louisiana has been defeated by a House committee. The bill would have allowed adoptions by people who aren't related to a child by blood but live in the same home and establish a relationship with the child. 

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Democratic U.S. senator, Mary Landrieu, will be an honorary co-chair of an upcoming small business conference in Baton Rouge, along with Wendy Vitter, wife of Republican Sen. David Vitter.

The two-day event, set for May 3-4, in Baton Rouge will be the Louisiana Women's Leaders Conference on Small Business Entrepreneurship. It's sponsored by the Louisiana Center for Women and Government, headquartered at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.