Friday is the deadline for pre-filing bills for the Louisiana legislative session that starts March 10. So far, the proposals include renewed attempts at state retirement reform, constitutional amendments to expand Medicaid, and the return of the electric chair.
Advocates of a south Louisiana flood control board's lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies over erosion of coastal wetlands are making plans to fight legislation they say could undermine the suit.
Among other things, the bill filed for this year's legislative session would ensure Gov. Bobby Jindal's power to reject an independent committee's nominations for membership on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. Jindal opposes the lawsuit filed by the SLFPA-E last year.
It’s been nearly two years since Louisiana’s Legislature passed a package of highly-controversial education reforms. Since then, there has been confusion at the local school level and angst for teachers -- especially over changes to teacher pay and tenure under a new evaluation process. Courts have ruled some of the reforms violate the state constitution. Many are now saying the upcoming legislative session is the opportune time for a “do-over” on education reform.
Supporters of legalized marijuana made their pitch to state lawmakers, saying it could generate tax dollars, provide a new agricultural crop, shrink the jail population and lessen pain for people with medical ailments.
State health and law enforcement officials outlined their opposition, saying marijuana users have increased risk of health conditions and describing marijuana as a "gateway drug" to more toxic substances.
The testimony Tuesday was part of a study by the House criminal justice committee, upon the request of Rep. Dalton Honoré, a Democrat from Baton Rouge.
Another Louisiana State Senator has jumped the aisle to the Republican party.
Sen. Rick Ward, who represents parts of the Capitol Region, from Port Allen into Assumption Parish, gives the Republicans a supermajority in the Senate. Several kinds of measures are constitutionally required to pass with a two-thirds vote, like tax increases and procedural items after a certain date near the end of the session.
The Louisiana House alliance of fiscally conservative Republicans and Democrats may have a harder time facing the Senate next session.