politics

Louisiana’s Senate worked Monday, forgoing the holiday barbeque. The Senate Finance Committee did do some grilling however, as Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols gave them a rundown of HB 1, as approved by the House.

“They did include $31.1 million for LSU Medical School in Shreveport,” Nichols said of the House “priority list” – a wish list if more revenue is found.

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Louisiana's controversial Marriage and Conscience Act failed to win approval in Baton Rouge this session. The bill would have prohibited the state from punishing businesses for having religious beliefs that say "marriage is between one man and one woman." Critics of the bill say it would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

After the the bill failed, Governor Bobby Jindal stepped in and issued an executive order to accomplish the intent of the bill.

Jesse Hardman

Recently Louisiana senators David Vitter and Bill Cassidy signed a letter asking that FEMA eliminate the requirement that states address climate change in disaster planning to receive federal funding. Read the full letter here

It’s past the half-way mark in this year’s session of the state Legislature. One political expert sees a change in tone on the way.

So far the legislative action has been in House committees. Jeremy Alford, publisher of LA Politics Weekly, says the second half is being controlled by Senate lawmakers in a much different political situation than their colleagues chairing major House panels.

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The New Orleans City Council has approved a major revamp of the city’s zoning plan. The vote came after four years of meetings and several hours of last-minute debate.

A bill prohibiting abortions based on the baby's sex was approved by Louisiana's full House Thursday. The bill's author, Houma Rep. Lenar Whitney explained why she brought the bill.

"The practice of sex-selection abortion has made its way from the Asian nations to inside our borders here in the United States," Whitney said.

Whitney said those cultures prefer boys over girls, and this is about protecting mothers and their potential daughters. "In high Asian immigrant populations, many of these women were coerced into abortions and threatened by divorce and violence if they did not bear sons."

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.

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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