Section AP Wire

Pro-choice group sues La. over abortion rules

After court victories against abortion laws in Texas and Louisiana, a reproductive rights group filed a federal challenge on Tuesday of a Louisiana licensing law it blames for more than a thousand burdensome anti-abortion regulations.

JBE vetoes campus ‘free speech’ bill

A proposal aimed at protecting controversial speakers’ appearances at Louisiana colleges and calling on campuses to penalize students who disrupt them has been vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, who described the bill as a “solution in search of a problem.”

Cindy comes ashore in southwest Louisiana

National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast — and more rain is on the way.

Budget deal could resolve Gov.-AG dispute

Lawmakers say they have a struck a deal they expect to end a budget feud between Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry, and the lawsuit the AG filed over an escrow account containing millions.

La. senators hear grim predictions of budget impact

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has presented to senators a grim picture of the fallout from the House-proposed version of next year's budget, with the governor threatening a veto if anything resembling the spending plan reaches his desk.

Judge strikes down La. abortion law

A federal judge has struck down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have permission to admit patients to a nearby hospital, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision against a similar Texas law.

JBE’s business tax shelved amid opposition

Facing certain defeat, Gov. John Bel Edwards gave up Tuesday on his effort to levy a new tax on business sales to help stabilize Louisiana's budget, a move that throws his budget-balancing tax plan into disarray.

La. coastal loss declared state emergency

A proclamation will be sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress, trying to raise the profile of the state's erosion troubles as it seeks federal assistance to speed up restoration projects.

Caretaker accused of exploiting La. federal judge

Louisiana authorities are investigating allegations that a personal assistant financially exploited U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi, whose alcoholism is so severe that a colleague asked a court to rule she cannot take care of herself.

Museum director resigns, wags finger at Nungesser

The interim director of the Louisiana State Museum resigned this week, issuing a letter accusing the lieutenant governor and his staff of interfering with museum management and attempting to "commandeer" museum-owned apartments for personal use.

Minaldi ordered to rehab for alcoholism

The federal judge, whose unusual behavior preceded her mysterious removal from a string of cases, was ordered to get treatment for alcoholism so severe a colleague believes she cannot take care of herself, according to court records.

La. colleges threatened with more cuts

Hammered by budget cuts over nearly a decade, Louisiana's public colleges are staring down the threat of another round of slashing in a state with one of the least-educated populations in the country.

AG Landry sues JBE over money transfer

Attorney General Jeff Landry's lawsuit against Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is the latest in a string of feuds between the two men since they both took office last year.

JBE: La. needs tax reform, not ’soundbites’

The Democratic governor said Louisiana’s leaders need to remedy the cycles of unstable state finances in this two-month regular session without falling into partisan talking points.

Fiscal accord still out of reach at La. Capitol

Gov. John Bel Edwards unveiled a tax overhaul package that targets big companies and seems certain to put him at odds with the business lobbying organizations he’s battled during prior tax debates.

JBE, superintendent clash over rules rewrite

At issue is a proposal required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which is reviving old feuds between Edwards and the state education superintendent he once hoped to force out of the job.

As Ackal walks, 7 former deputies go to prison

The Iberia Parish sheriff, accused of ordering deputies to beat inmates, was cleared on federal civil rights charges, yet seven of those deputies, some of whom testified against him, are headed to prison.

JBE’s tax plan surprises many

Where did that come from? That's the question plenty are asking about a centerpiece of Gov. John Bel Edwards' tax law rewrite, a proposal to replace existing corporate income and franchise taxes with a corporate tax on sales.

Lawmaker vows to fix La. marriage law

Republican state Rep. Valarie Hodges of Denham Springs said she had always intended for the law to include a waiver process to allow foreign-born U.S. citizens to get marriage licenses.

Lege auditor sounds budget alarm

The head of a nonpartisan legislative office that digs into the spending of state and local government agencies is warning state lawmakers that he's teetering on the financial edge.

JBE urges Congress to keep Medicaid expansion

Louisiana's Democratic governor says he has "serious concern" with the GOP health plan because it would end the higher federal financing rate for Medicaid expansion in 2020.

La. State Police travel to get auditor review

After a newspaper reported that state police shelled out thousands of dollars in overtime and expenses for several troopers who drove to a conference in California with a state SUV, diverting to a Las Vegas casino resort and the Grand Canyon on the way

La. GOP in Congress mostly mum on health plan

Louisiana's majority-Republican congressional delegation hasn't exactly embraced the GOP proposal to replace President Barack Obama's health care law, with most members instead offering a cautious, noncommittal response.

JBE to meet Monday with Trump

Besides the get-together with Trump, Edwards will meet with FEMA's acting administrator, Robert Fenton, to discuss flood recovery and recent tornadoes that damaged Orleans and Livingston parishes.

Dividing lines drawn: House, Senate try to negotiate deal

The Louisiana state House and Senate have staked out their positions on closing Louisiana's $304 million deficit. Now, the two sides have three days remaining in the budget-rebalancing special legislative session to reach a deal.

House debates deeper budget cuts than Gov. Edwards wants

The proposal from Rep. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, would cut $128 million more than Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to help eliminate Louisiana's deficit, primarily because it doesn't use any money from the state's "rainy day" fund.

House panel rejects gov’s deficit-closing plan

With the special session nearing its halfway mark, House Republicans are demonstrating they intend to take a sharply different approach to rebalancing this year's budget than Gov. John Bel Edwards wants.

’Rainy day’ legislation advances in Senate

The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposal Tuesday to the full Senate for debate without action, meaning committee members didn't vote in support or opposition of the idea.

JBE, lege leaders negotiate on ’rainy day’ fund

With opening day formalities behind them, lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards sat down Tuesday in hopes of negotiating a deal to close Louisiana's $304 million deficit during a 10-day budget-rebalancing special session.

Grim budget reality awaits returning lawmakers

Louisiana's lawmakers trudge back to work Monday for a special deficit-closing session that many of them didn't want to have, called to the Capitol by Gov. John Bel Edwards for distasteful decision-making on spending cuts.

Veterinarian charged with horse doping plot

The federal indictment accuses the veterinarian, Kyle James Hebert, of providing trainers with mislabeled syringes of dermorphin to inject in at least four horses that competed at Louisiana racetracks.

GOP: Edwards’ plan has too few long-term cuts

Edwards' plan, released a day earlier, recommends cutting about $60 million in state agencies and using more than $240 million in reserves and other financing to close the $304 million deficit for the budget year that ends June 30.

Ex-vets secretary sues lege auditor

Former VA Secretary David LaCerte this week filed a lawsuit in which he accused Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera and Inspector General Stephen Street of writing an inaccurate report and unfairly attacking his military record.

JBE: deficit-closing special session begins Feb. 13

Gov. John Bel Edwards laid out his reasoning to lawmakers Friday for a deficit-closing special session, saying he won't seek tax increases to close the $304 million gap and will try to protect education programs from cuts.

JBE: GOP leader’s plan ’vague’

Rep. Lance Harris released a spreadsheet Thursday recommending how to make $304 million in cuts without calling lawmakers into a special session.

La. flood recovery programs leave victims short

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is struggling with a problem that has become all too common for Louisiana's governors: How do you pick the winners and losers among disaster victims as you divvy up federal aid?

JBE calls special session; eyes mid-Feb.

Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to call the special session to make cuts and consider use of Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to close an estimated $313 million deficit in the state's $27 billion operating budget.

Cuts to TOPS payments proposed

Freshman would get 80 percent of tuition covered, while sophomores would get 90 percent. Juniors and seniors would get the full 100 percent.

Flooded homeowners should see money by April

Louisiana is submitting its plan Friday to spend $438 million in federal flood aid, and Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration says money should begin flowing for recovery work by April.

Audits unveil new Jindal-era financial problems

Financial troubles left behind by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration continue to surface, with recent audits describing misspent money, shoddy bookkeeping and lost state-owned property.

Tough inaugural year winding down for JBE

Gov. John Bel Edwards has taken a round of political blows recently, watching favored candidates lose their elections, a judge reject his LGBT-rights executive order and House leaders thwart his budget cut plans.

JBE’s LGBT rights order thrown out by judge

State District Judge Todd Hernandez ruled that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' anti-discrimination order is unconstitutional because it seeks to create or expand state law.

Early voting for Saturday runoffs lagging

December elections historically have had low turnouts, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office expects about 35 percent of voters statewide to show up for the election, compared to 68 percent for the presidential election.

JBE going back to DC seeking flood aid

Louisiana has received $438 million in disaster block grant assistance from Congress, but the Democratic governor is asking for a total of $4 billion.

Former foes now friends in La. Senate runoff

One-time rivals who hammered each other in bitter exchanges ahead of the primary election are now suggesting they're forgiving and forgetting in the runoff as they endorse intra-party competitors who earlier in the election cycle said awful things about them.

JBE delays budget cuts amid higher-ed worries

Gov. John Bel Edwards agreed Friday to postpone budget cuts for another month, as lawmakers pushed to spare college campuses from the slashing needed to close a $313 million deficit.

State looks into another debt refinancing

Louisiana refinanced debt earlier this year to generate quick cash. At the time, the state's financial adviser recommended against doing the same maneuver again.

Trump becomes focal point in La. Senate race

A super PAC supporting Republican candidate John Kennedy, the state treasurer, says Louisiana's voters should support Kennedy in the Dec. 10 runoff because he will work with Trump in Washington.

New hearing set on Edwards LGBT protection order

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry says the Democratic governor's anti-discrimination executive order violates the state constitution. Edwards accuses Landry of repeatedly exceeding his authority and is asking Hernandez to define the attorney general's role in office.

Boustany backs Kennedy

The two men had traded attacks ahead of this month's primary, with a super PAC supporting Kennedy heavily hitting Boustany.

Fayard backs Campbell for Senate

The competition between Fayard and Campbell had been particularly bitter ahead of the Senate primary election earlier this month.

Tax panel gives solons its ideas

Louisiana's lawmakers are being urged to make sweeping changes to the state's sales, personal income and property tax policies, in an effort to end state government's boom-and-bust budgeting cycles.

Ackal trial opens

The Iberia sheriff is charged with ordering the beatings of prisoners and orchestrating a brazen cover-up.

La. Senate race: a circus

With an open seat, two dozen candidates, prostitution allegations and a white supremacist contender, the only sure thing in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race seems to be that it won't be decided Nov. 8.

Official: La. coast ’issue of a lifetime’

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Johnny Bradberry told dozens of participants in a discussion Monday at LSU that the current coastal situation will affect every part of the state's economy.

Changes to tuition rules among 6 amendments on La. ballot

The proposed constitutional change, which would end the requirement of a two-thirds vote of state lawmakers for college tuition and fee hikes, is the highest profile constitutional amendment of six awaiting voters on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Louisiana AG challenges LGBT-rights order

The attorney general is asking for a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the Edwards administration from enforcing the order, and ultimately for the order to be declared unconstitutional and voided.

La. Senate candidates spar over records in TV debate

Major candidates vying for Louisiana's U.S. Senate seat clashed Tuesday night over health care, finances and each other's records in their first televised debate, slamming each other as they sought to break away from the pack.

Hebert lawsuit on Senate race debate drags on

Only five of the 24 Senate candidates met the debate criteria, which required participants to have raised at least $1 million and polled at 5 percent support. Troy Hebert is not fundraising for his campaign.

DOTD pushing roundabouts

Louisiana's transportation department has kicked off an ad campaign touting the safety benefits of the roundabout, those traffic circles that are cropping up more and more in the state.

Dardenne suffers heart attack

He said he was heeding his doctors' advice regarding rest but looks forward to returning to work as soon as he's cleared.

Ooo-ooo, that smell!

Sugar cane grinding season has started in Louisiana and with it the familiar, often acrid aroma of burning fields.

Contentious Medicaid contract gets leges’ nod

Lawmakers have agreed to another one-year, $46 million contract extension for the firm that processes bills and handles health provider enrollment for Louisiana's Medicaid program.

JBE sues AG Landry over anti-discrimination clause

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards sued the state attorney general Friday for rejecting contracts with an anti-discrimination clause that would protect LGBT people, language the governor ordered to be included in nearly all state contracts.

La. tries to revive Planned Parenthood funding cut

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction blocking the cut, which would have kept needy Louisiana women from getting non-abortion services at Planned Parenthood facilities.

La. flood aid drowns in D.C. paralysis

The Senate has blocked a spending bill needed to keep the government open beyond Friday's midnight deadline. The bill includes $500 million to help Louisiana after last month's flooding.

Court asks judges to respond to Ackal’s claims

Iberia Sheriff Louis Ackal's attorney argues that U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi's mysterious removal from the sheriff's case violated court rules and apparently was done without her consent earlier this year.

Buckwheat Zydeco has died

Stanley Dural took zydeco music mainstream. He went on to jam with musical greats like Eric Clapton, play at former President Bill Clinton's inauguration and perform at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony in Atlanta.

Not again, Blue Bell!

No illnesses have been reported from the latest recall of ice cream distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Speaker Ryan backs La. flood aid

The flood aid question is one of a handful of unresolved issues involving the stopgap funding bill, which would prevent a shutdown next week and keep the government running through Dec. 9.

USDA: $328M oil spill restoration plan for Gulf

Undersecretary Robert Bonnie says the agency will use that focus through 2018 as it helps coastal producers plan improvements to improve water quality and improve coastal ecosystems under several Farm Bill programs.

Medicaid expansion tops 300,000 in La.

More people still are needed to enter the program to reach the savings projected by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration for this year's budget. The budget assumed 375,000 people will enroll in the Medicaid expansion.

Analysis: La. flooding disrupts candidate outreach, polling

Flooding that ravaged south Louisiana and damaged homes across the Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions has put a crimp in fall election planning, making it more difficult for voter outreach and tracking when tens of thousands are displaced.

$15M in property tax breaks for manufacturers stalled

Cleco Power, which received approval because it had been in the pipeline before Edwards' executive order, will get more than $12 million in tax breaks over 10 years for a project expected to create 12 jobs in St. Mary Parish.

La. asking feds to shoulder more of March flood

The state's congressional delegation and Gov. John Bel Edwards have asked the Obama administration to drop Louisiana's share of response costs from 25 percent to 10 percent for the north Louisiana flooding.

Governor asks Congress for $2B for flood recovery

At a House subcommittee hearing reviewing the federal response, Edwards said the money is needed for housing, economic development and public works after August flooding that caused more than $8.7 billion in damage.

Deadline set by Edwards on reworked hospital deals

Gov. John Bel Edwards has given the private operators of the LSU hospitals and clinics until next week to decide if they agree to renegotiated terms of their financing deals with the state.

1st UL lab chimps arrive at Ga. sanctuary

University officials say they've been planning retirement and sanctuary for its chimpanzees for more than two years, and "the vast majority" were never part of any research.

NOAA: Global warming upped odds for deluge

Man-made climate change about doubled the chances for the type of heavy downpours that caused devastating Louisiana floods last month, a new federal study finds.

Feds won’t block removal of New Orleans monument

Two federal agencies say they won't try to block the city of New Orleans' attempt to remove a monument to an 1874 white supremacist revolt against Louisiana's federally backed post-Civil War government.

JBE visits Youngsville

Every third or fourth house still had a pile of flood debris on the lawn, and occupants were still gutting and clearing damage.

Louisiana closely monitoring tropical weather

The governor said Wednesday he is “fervently praying” that a hurricane or tropical weather won’t hit the state. He added: “I would appreciate other people’s prayers as well.”

Trump tours flood damage

Casting his campaign chairman aside with just 11 weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump moved ahead with the reboot of his White House bid on Friday with a tour of flood-ravaged Louisiana.

Housing crisis looms in flood-stricken Louisiana

With an estimated 40,000 homes damaged by deadly flooding, Louisiana could be looking at its biggest housing crunch since the miserable, bumbling aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago.

As floodwaters recede, disbelief mixes with determination

The smell of muddy water hung heavy in the air as people began sorting through waterlogged belongings and ripping out carpets Wednesday in flood-wracked southern Louisiana, which now faces a long-term challenge of how to house thousands of displaced people.

Thousands in shelters across SoLa

The weather had improved from the torrential downpours that began Friday but rivers and creeks in many areas were still way above flood stage, and people downstream eyed the deluge with concern.

Aug. 5-6 is Louisiana’s annual Sales Tax Holiday

Shoppers will pay three percent sales tax rather than the full five percent. The discount applies to many purchases, including back-to-school supplies, electronics, furniture and most other retail items.

Judge: Ackal cannot carry gun

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal already is prohibited from possessing firearms following his indictment, but his attorney says recent killings of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas demonstrate he needs a gun to protect himself.

Energized white supremacists cheer Trump message

Seizing on that energy, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke on Friday announced a bid for the Senate. The Louisiana Republican likened his policies on trade and immigration to Trump's in an announcement video.

La. may need short-term loan for temporary cash flow

The state usually borrows from its own savings accounts until tax collections and other payments roll in, but former Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers raided many of those accounts to patch together prior budgets.

Medicaid expansion reaches 250K in La.

Louisiana is the first state in the Deep South — and the 31st state nationwide — to expand its Medicaid program under the health law championed by President Barack Obama.

GOP leads in La.’s US Senate race fundraising

Republican contenders for Louisiana's U.S. Senate seat are outraising their Democratic opponents and sitting on more cash in their campaign accounts for the November election, as the race's profile rises with the candidate signup period next week.

Edwards heads to Iowa for governors’ meeting

According to the meeting agenda, discussions are scheduled on trade, agriculture, renewable energy, opioid addiction, attracting foreign investment and computer science and technology education for children.

La. transportation task force meets Tuesday

Legislative, industry and business leaders are on the panel, which means any agreement also backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards stands a good chance of becoming reality.

Protests over police killings aim to occupy interstates

Riot police in full gear stopped a group of protesters in Baton Rouge from walking onto an interstate on Sunday evening, thwarting a protest tactic that social justice activists have increasingly tried in several U.S. cities.

Initial unemployment claims in La. decline

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims fell to 2,871 from the previous week's total of 2,966. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,707.

Ugh in service of ahhh

Louisiana is getting a $60 million federal grant to complete a nearly 15-mile pavement replacement and lane addition project between the Interstate 10/I-49 interchange and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.

Feds open probe into deadly BR police shooting

The U.S. Justice Department opened a federal civil rights investigation Wednesday into the videotaped police killing of a black man who was shot as officers wrestled with him on the pavement outside a convenience store.

Man describes taking video of BR police shooting

Arthur Reed told The Associated Press that on the day of Alton Sterling's death, two teams of people drove to the scene, outside a convenience store, after hearing about the incident on police radio.

Sans incentives, Hollywood exits La. en masse

Louisiana's once-booming film industry — dubbed "Hollywood South" — was off by as much as 90 percent this past year, a drop attributed to the state's decision to wind down its generous incentives.

Incentive attitudes shifting in Baton Rouge

After years of generosity with tax breaks and subsidies, Louisiana’s leaders are taking a new approach with business, responding to years of budget problems with scaled back support for companies and questions about the value of such investments.

La. first state in Deep South to expand Medicaid

More than 233,000 people — largely the working poor — have been enrolled so far in the government-financed insurance coverage offered under the health law championed by President Barack Obama.

LSU mascot Mike VI will be hard to replace

In past years, LSU has gotten its tigers from zoos or from two animal sanctuaries, both of which have since been shut down by the federal government for failing to provide proper care.

State to focus on young students

Louisiana's latest push to improve student achievement will focus in part on why some of the state's youngest students are failing to master basic skills.

Six constitutional changes on Nov. ballot

All the amendment proposals will be on the Nov. 8 ballot at the same time voters are choosing a new president, the person to fill an open U.S. Senate seat and the state's six U.S. House members.

Administration splits with unions on bill

On the final day of the second special session last week it went largely overlooked that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law HB 887, despite appeals from the teachers unions to veto it.

Senate spending plan prioritizes colleges, cuts K-12 schools

Behind the scenes, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate President John Alario were trying to persuade lawmakers, particularly House Republican leaders, to agree to more tax changes, to further boost revenue in the financial year that begins July 1.

House votes for more tax changes

Louisiana House members agreed Monday to raise $70 million more for next year's budget by lessening business tax breaks, then divvied up all the money raised in the tax special session with a spending plan to give most of it to education and health care.

La. jobless claims fall

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims fell to 3,445 from the previous week's total of 3,590. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,888.

Bill to raise $100M-plus advances in House

To get the bill out of the Ways and Means Committee, lawmakers agreed to make the tax break reduction a short-term loan to the state. Louisiana would be on the hook for paying back as much as $257 million to taxpayers in two years.

Edwards signs cursive writing mandate

The measure requires public schools, including charter schools, to introduce cursive writing instruction by third grade. Instruction will have to continue through 12th grade.

House mulls compromise on income tax bill

The compromise would involve making the bill temporary and including a mechanism to shrink the money raised from the bill if other taxes bring in more than expected.

Initial unemployment claims in La. climb

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims rose to 3,590 from the previous week's total of 3,138. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 3,368.

Governor approves Lafayette assessor car allowance

Conrad ComeauxLafayette Parish Assessor Conrad Comeaux can soon receive a car allowance on top of the position's six-figure salary, under a bill signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards.The governor's offi

Construction budget bill moving again in House

Striking a conciliatory tone, House lawmakers started advancing a new multibillion-dollar construction budget on Tuesday, after tanking the Senate's version in the waning minutes of the regular legislative session.

Legislative session ending as another begins

The House and Senate struck a compromise Sunday on the $26 million operating budget for next year — sort of a rough draft; lawmakers will fill in holes with any revenue they raise in second special session.

Lingo undercuts abortion restriction bill

An amendment added to a legislative proposal aimed at prohibiting abortions performed because the fetus has a genetic abnormality appears to have nullified the ban entirely.

Lawmakers boost penalties for texting while driving

The bill would increase those fines to up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for additional violations. Drivers under 18 could face license suspension for up to 60 days for second and later violations.

Edwards, Landry spar over spill recovery money

The oil spill money is among a variety of financial and legal issues over which the Democratic governor and Republican attorney general have been at odds since both men took office in January.

Governor asking senators to strip all House budget changes

“We ask you to consider starting over,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor’s chief financial adviser, told the Senate Finance Committee, asking it to strip the House changes “in their entirety.”

GOP lawmakers question legality of LGBT executive order

Edwards' anti-discrimination order is similar to orders enacted by two former Louisiana Democratic governors — but he added language protecting against discrimination based on "gender identity," a provision that protects transgender people.

Budget debate begins Thursday in the La. House

The biggest disagreement for the financial year that begins July 1 centers on whether to prioritize the TOPS free college tuition program and give it full funding at the expense of health services for the poor, elderly and disabled.

Lawmakers toughen criteria for abortion doctors

With a 35-0 vote Tuesday, state senators gave final legislative passage to a measure that will require doctors who perform abortions to be either board certified or certifiable in obstetrics and gynecology, or family medicine.

Edwards pans some House budget changes

Gov. John Bel Edwards says he'll "reserve final judgment" on the House version of next year's budget until he gets more details. But he already has concerns about the approach.

La. House sours on ’raw milk’

Louisiana lawmakers have killed an attempt to lift the state's ban on sales of unpasteurized — or "raw" — milk for the third year in a row.

House aims to punish Louisiana ’sanctuary cities’

The House voted 67-27 Wednesday in support of the proposal that targets so-called sanctuary cities — jurisdictions that don't enforce federal immigration law without a court order. The bill advances to the Senate for consideration.

Governor wants to suspend state worker pay raises

The governor's chief budget adviser Jay Dardenne asked the Civil Service Commission on Wednesday to block annual "performance adjustments" for rank-and-file government workers, called classified employees, in the budget year that begins July 1.

La. lawmakers try to cut state spending on office leases

The bill comes on the heels of revelations that state Treasurer John Kennedy, a U.S. Senate candidate and fiscal hawk, has spent hundreds of thousands on space in privately owned buildings while state-owned space was available.

Governor sets May 15 target for tax ideas

Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging a study group looking at state budget and tax policy to give him preliminary recommendations for ways to raise money to fill financial gaps.

Edwards defends proposed $6M cut to vouchers

Gov. John Bel Edwards pushed back Thursday against criticism he is ousting children from Louisiana's voucher program, telling pro-voucher pastors that they are being misled.

Pro-voucher group hits governor in TV ad

The ad from the Louisiana Federation for Children shows women accusing the Democratic governor of taking away school choice and of lying when he said he didn't want to kick people out of the voucher program.

Lawmakers look to regulate drone use

A number of proposals under consideration in the House and Senate would criminalize drone trespassing, outline surveillance and privacy laws and establish registration and licensing guidelines.

Dems pouring own money into US Senate race

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell put up $250,000 for his Senate bid. New Orleans lawyer Caroline Fayard poured $150,000 of her own money into her campaign account and raised another $193,000.

La. governor issues order banning LGBT discrimination

Edwards' LGBT protection order prohibits state agencies, boards and contractors from harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability or age.

Longtime Saints radio color analyst dies

Hokie Gajan was an all-state back at Baker High School and later a back at LSU. He went from being a 10th-round draft choice to a prominent runner with the Saints.

Schedler working to return museums to locals

Amid years of spending cuts, Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been working to shrink the footprint of state-run museums, returning smaller museums to local community management.

La. governor: Time to sober up

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that the budget cut proposals his administration will unveil next week to cope with a $750 million gap will be "very sobering."

Bill to protect Confederate monuments rejected

Republican Sen. Beth Mizell's bill to create a state commission with the power to review any decisions regarding removal of such monuments was defeated by the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee in a 5-4 vote along party lines.

TOPS is turvy

Louisiana's budget problems are creating uncertainty for thousands of college students who rely on the state's TOPS free tuition program.

Lawmakers pushing work mandate for food stamps

For 19 years, Louisiana has had a federal waiver of a requirement that childless adults ages 18 to 49 work 20 hours per week or be enrolled in a job training program to receive the food aid.

Trump looks to decertify La. delegates

"The problem we're having here is there was a secret meeting in Louisiana of the convention delegation, and apparently all the invitations for our delegates must have gotten lost in the mail."

Trump threatens lawsuit over La. delegates

The Republican front-runner took to Twitter Sunday to complain that he won the most votes in the state's primary, but could emerge with fewer delegates than rival Cruz. "Lawsuit coming," he wrote.

Critics question House vote-change policy

A practice little-known to the public that lets House lawmakers change their votes after bills have passed or failed — as long as the switch doesn't change the outcome.

Veto override effort fizzles in House

Appropriations Committee Chairman Cameron Henry, a Republican, said he got more information from the governor that answered questions lawmakers had about the vetoes, ending discussion about an override.

REAL ID bill advances to the Senate floor

The Democratic governor's position is a reversal from his Republican predecessor, Bobby Jindal, who vetoed a similar bill in 2014 amid privacy concerns from conservative groups.

La. budget shortfall could still top $50 million

Tax bills were rushed through in such frenzy in the final minutes of the special legislative session that the governor, lawmakers and their financial advisers were still trying Thursday to sift through the implications.

Session ends with gaps remaining

Louisiana lawmakers cobbled together enough money through tax hikes in the closing hours of a special session Wednesday to keep colleges and health services from facing hefty cuts, but only for the remaining three months of this budget year.

Special session reaching its end Wednesday

The Democratic governor and leaders of the majority Republican Legislature negotiated behind closed doors on a possible budget and tax agreement that, if reached, would require a flurry of votes before the special session ends Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Out of office, Jindal looms over budget crisis

Criticism of former Gov. Bobby Jindal is bipartisan and widespread, with irritated lawmakers left sifting through the highly-unpopular choices of raising taxes or taking a hatchet to higher education and government services.

Edwards urges House GOP to support more tax bills

The Democratic governor met privately with GOP House and Senate members Wednesday morning in the basement of the Louisiana Capitol, urging action as a special legislative session he called to stabilize state finances nears closer to its March 9 end.

Former US Rep. Cao enters Senate race

Cao became the nation's first Vietnamese-American congressman with his unexpected defeated of a scandal-plagued incumbent Democrat, William Jefferson, in 2008. Two years later, he lost the New Orleans-based seat to another Democrat, Cedric Richmond.

La. hit with credit rating downgrade

The decision by Moody's Investors Service to drop the state's credit rating is another blow to a state teetering on the edge of financial calamity.

Proposed budget cuts would hit public education

The measure strikes at the governor's efforts to shield K-12 education from most cuts, and approval came despite opposition from education officials who said the plans could damage classroom instruction and jeopardize spring standardized testing.

Chemical association appeals tax change ruling

A Baton Rouge judge ruled against the Louisiana Chemical Association in December, saying lawmakers properly approved the temporary suspension of a 1-cent sales tax exemption on business utilities.

$328M in patches backed by Senate

With those votes, Senate President John Alario said the Senate has done all the work it can for now to help rebalance the budget, which has a gap ranging from $850 million to $950 million.

$60M cut from state spending so far to rebalance budget

But that's only a fraction of the action needed to close an estimated $850 million to $950 million budget gap before the financial year ends June 30. Next year's shortfall is larger, estimated to top $2 billion in the year that begins July 1.

Louisiana revenue forecasts drop again

Louisiana's budget gap has grown worse, now projected at around $850 million, while a more than $2 billion shortfall is projected in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Gov. Edwards fills out remaining cabinet positions

Gov. John Bel Edwards named Marketa Garner Walters to lead the Department of Children and Family Services, the social services agency, and Thomas Harris to head the Department of Natural Resources.

Economist: ’Almost all minus signs’ for La. finances

As they dug into the details of Louisiana's latest budget problems, state senators were warned Thursday that the news could get bleaker still, with the state's monthly financial reports offering little room for optimism.

Project aims to mark U.S. slave trade ports

The Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project has been working to place markers at 40 ports along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts where slaves arrived or where ships were sent to be used in the trade.

Judge OKs removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled against a collection of groups seeking to block the removal of four monuments, including a towering marble column and bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a landmark on the cityscape.

Edwards releases tax proposals to balance budget

Gov. John Bel Edwards proposed a broad array of tax hikes Tuesday on shoppers, smokers, phone services, business utilities and more, saying Louisiana needs to bring in more money to steady its finances and end the cycles of perpetual budget crises.

Judge skeptical of case against removing Confederate statues

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier heard the pleas of lawyers for preservationists and a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans seeking to halt the city from moving ahead with plans to take down statues of Confederate leaders.

Grand shooter’s journal offers few clues

A journal left behind by the gunman who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater last summer doesn't provide a clear motive for the deadly shooting, but the drifter's own words portray him as a mentally unstable man.

Grand shooter thanks Charleston counterpart

The gunman responsible for a deadly rampage inside a Louisiana movie theater last summer left a journal thanking the man accused of killing nine black people in a South Carolina church.

Edwards officially only Democrat in Deep South

Saying he won't be a "business-as-usual" leader, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards took his oath of office Monday, promising to stabilize the budget and end cycles of financial crises that threaten public health services and colleges.

At least 4 La. governors to attend Edwards inauguration

Former Govs. Edwin Edwards, Buddy Roemer and Kathleen Blanco also will be on hand at the event. Former Gov. Mike Foster's attendance is questionable because Carbo said the two-term Republican governor hasn't been feeling well.

Edwards sets July 1 for planned Medicaid expansion

To make that happen, his new health care leader said Louisiana will have to hire nearly 250 new health department workers to handle the enrollment and find the dollars to pay them, in a state saddled with deep budget problems.

Edwards preps menu for special session

Only days away from taking office, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards said Monday that he will soon release a "menu of options" for digging Louisiana out of its continuing budget troubles.

First Lady Edwards to champion music education

Donna Edwards has told media outlets that while she is unsure if her advocacy will become a formal platform, she will stress the importance of teaching music and art in each school.

Edwards to remove work requirements for food stamps

Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards intends to remove work requirements that Gov. Bobby Jindal has enacted for more than 60,000 food stamp recipients, job mandates that were challenged in a federal lawsuit last week.

Interim president named for UL System

Dan Reneau was named Thursday as interim system leader during the transition. Reneau was president of Louisiana Tech University for 26 years before retiring in 2013.

Initial jobless claims in La. fall

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims fell to 2,414 from the previous week's total of 2,554. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,796.

Lafayette man accused of shirking state taxes

Alan Bernard filed state tax returns reporting no income from A-Team Home Improvements LLC in 2012 and 2013, but subpoenaed bank records and Bernard's federal tax returns show that it brought in $144,000 in 2012 and more than $324,000 in 2013.

LPSB approves new tax props

Two new tax proposals to generate money for Lafayette Parish schools will be on the April 9 ballot.

Another $48M taken from roadwork to plug deficit

The maneuver, backed by lawmakers on the joint House and Senate budget committee, got little public discussion and came after months of election campaign promises that such sidetracking of roadwork money should end.

’School choice’ community wary of Gov.-elect

In a sign of the strength of John Bel Edwards' ties to the unions, the Democrat's first speech since winning the weekend runoff election was Monday at the Louisiana Federation of Teachers convention in Lake Charles.

Edwards, Vitter criticize Jindal deficit plan

Both men vying to follow Gov. Bobby Jindal into office lambasted the governor's plan for closing the state's $487 million budget deficit, saying it punts the problem to the next governor.

Jindal proposes cuts, patchwork financing to close deficit

Governor wants to cut $150 million across agencies, tap into the state "rainy day" fund and use piecemeal financing to close a $487 million budget deficit, his final budget rebalancing plan before he leaves office in January.

He’s ba-ack!

Gov. Bobby Jindal returns to Louisiana after ending presidential bid.

30-day tax amnesty opens Monday in La.

Louisiana's latest tax amnesty period has started, giving delinquent taxpayers time to pay what they owe with fewer penalties and interest than they would otherwise be charged.

Weekly unemployment claims drop

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,439 from the previous week's total of 2,502. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,178.

Willie Horton 2.0

David Vitter is raising the specter of crime committed by released prisoners, putting a partisan spin on an effort that has bipartisan support to overhaul criminal sentencing laws.

Vitter running against La. politicians in gov race

As he looks for a message to gain ground with voters, Republican candidate for governor David Vitter has returned to a strategy that served him well in past elections: criticizing other politicians.

Poll: Trump takes Louisiana over Democrats

Republican Donald Trump would best both Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, two of the most recognizable names on the Democratic side, in a Louisiana vote for president.

La. Planned Parenthood ruling imminent

A federal judge says he will rule by Monday on Gov. Bobby Jindal's attempt to cut off state Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood's Louisiana clinics.

Cost of Jindal's security detail has doubled

Protective services for the governor cost just under $1.5 million in the 2007-08 budget year when Jindal first took office. The price tag rose to $3.1 million in the 2014-15 year that ended June 30.

Early voting begins Saturday

The statewide and local races are expected to compete for attention on Election Day with college football games and hunting plans.

PACs pump $1.3M so far into governor's race TV ads

The spending, largely on attack ads, accounts for 29 percent of all $4.5 million in TV advertising devoted to the governor's race so far, according to an analysis of ad spending by the Center for Public Integrity.

Bayou Corne sinkhole becomes Angelle liability

Angelle was head of the Department of Natural Resources in August 2012 when a swampy area of Assumption Parish dissolved into muck about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. He left the job only a few days after the sinkhole emerged.

Vitter rolling in dough with $4M ready

The only major Democratic contender in the Louisiana governor's race, John Bel Edwards, had the largest haul in the latest fundraising period. But Republican David Vitter still has the heftiest campaign account.

Louisiana ended budget year in the red

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is quietly notifying legislative leaders that Louisiana closed the books on the last budget year with a deficit, but the administration isn't saying publicly how deep the problem is.

Brees confident he'll play vs. Panthers

Brees' injury further complicates matters for the Saints' offense, which has performed below the elite standard it has met since coach Sean Payton and the franchise's all-time leading passer joined the franchise in 2006.

Weekly unemployment claims decrease

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,015 from the previous week's total of 2,417. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,071.

Times-Pic/ lays off dozens more

A story on the news organization's website says 28 full-time and nine part-time staffers are losing jobs. It says that will still leave 118 full-time journalists.

$80M in new construction work approved

Backing without objection from the State Bond Commission gives cash lines of credit to dozens of projects that will be financed in the budget year that ends June 30. It also commits the state — and Louisiana's next governor, elected this fall — to a long list of future projects.

Louisiana's sheriffs back Nungesser, Caldwell

The sheriffs' association announced its endorsements Wednesday for five statewide races on the Oct. 24 ballot. It didn't choose among the four major contenders vying to be Louisiana's next governor.

Auditor: Report on Jindal Medicaid privatization improved

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office issued a blistering commentary in 2014 that said Jindal's Department of Health and Hospitals submitted a privatization evaluation to lawmakers that was riddled with errors and unverified data.

Video sparks look at La. transgender driver license policy

A state official says the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles is reviewing its photograph policy — but not guaranteeing any changes — after a transgender woman from Denham Springs said she was turned away from driver's license offices for not looking male.

140K+ Louisianans using Obamacare

The figure released Tuesday was down from 149,954 reported in March. The administration says enrollment was terminated for some people for a variety of reasons, including failing to prove immigration status.

Qualifying for Oct. 24 election opens

Tuesday is the start of the election qualifying period, where candidates officially add their names to the ballot. The sign-up period runs for three days, through Thursday.

Slain Sunset officer killed by own cousin

Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla said Officer Henry Nelson was outgoing and friendly. He was to be off starting Friday for a monthlong vacation with his teenage daughter.

Louisiana trooper dies after being shot in head

A Louisiana trooper died Monday after he was shot by an apparently stranded motorist who stood over the officer and told him afterward, "You're lucky — you're going to die soon."

Initial unemployment claims in La. rise

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims increased to 2,544 from the previous week's total of 2,445. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,342.

Council adopts safety regs for Uber

Drivers with Uber and similar ride-hailing services in Lafayette are now subject to safety requirements similar to those of taxicab drivers.

La., 'Bama told PP actions may violate federal law

Louisiana and Alabama may be violating federal law by ending state Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood, federal health officials warned the states after both announced they were cutting off the payments.

Next year's La. budget shortfall projected at $713M

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Only two months after a difficult budget-balancing session, state lawmakers Friday got their first official glimpse of the shortfall they already face for next year: $713

Scalise faces renewed criticism

Two national civil rights leaders are reviving criticism of a top-ranking House Republican's speech to a white supremacist group 13 years ago, trying to jumpstart action on a proposed strengthening of the Voting Rights Act.

Shrimpers decry low prices, imports

Dozens of Louisiana shrimpers — ranging from Vietnamese-Americans to Cajun fishermen — upset over low prices and farm-raised shrimp imports rallied Wednesday in downtown New Orleans to highlight their industry's woes.

UL bomb hoaxster gets 10 years

The bomb threat in July 2014 prompted evacuation of UL Lafayette, but Devin Haywood didn't even get into the bank he wanted to rob.

Former 'Cro officer sentenced in Desperado's case

Former Carencro police Sgt. Timothy Prejean has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting cash from a strip club owner who handed Prejean $100 bills to ignore the prostitution and illegal drug sales at Desperado's Gentlemen's Cabaret.

State sales tax holiday Friday, Saturday

The holiday applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. It does not apply to sales taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards, and other political subdivisions of the state.

New La. laws taking effect Saturday

Sending "revenge porn" can land you behind bars, new housing protections are being extended to domestic violence victims and enforcement of sea turtle protection laws is tightening as hundreds of new Louisiana laws take effect.

911 tracks harrowing scene after theater shooting

Police radio transmissions released Thursday — a week after the rampage — show that John Russell Houser was dead within four minutes of a dispatcher broadcasting his bare-bones description: white male, white shirt, khaki shorts.

Grand shooter video released

Authorities have released a video that shows a gunman enter the Louisiana movie theater where he shot and killed two people and wounded nine others last week.

UL removed from S&P negative credit watch

The credit agency had put UL and four other institutions on a negative watch in April, as higher education was threatened with hefty slashing because of state budget problems.

Gulf oil wells lingering with temporary seals

Five years after the Obama administration promised to move swiftly to permanently plug unused oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, even more shafts are lingering for longer periods with only temporary sealing, an investigation by The Associated Press shows.

ACLU et al sue Jindal over exec. order

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Louisiana, the Forum for Equality Foundation and six New Orleans residents lodged their challenge of the governor's May 19 order in state court in Baton Rouge.

Scott police officer arrested

A 43-year-old Scott police officer has been arrested after he allegedly charged more than $3,500 in personal expenses to a department-issued fuel card.

New Orleans mayor calls for removal of 'divisive' monuments

"Mayor Mitch Landrieu today called on City officials to begin taking action to remove four prominent divisive statues and consider replacing them with symbols that reflect the culture, unity, hope and future of New Orleans," the mayor's office said in a statement.

La. Senate adopts rules to limit gov's influence

The outsized power Louisiana's governors have historically wielded over the state Senate could be drastically curtailed under rules the chamber adopted following an impassioned debate Wednesday evening.

Final decisions on budget awaited on last day of session

As the final hours of the legislative session ticked away, lawmakers said Thursday they were nearing a final deal on next year's $24 billion budget and the tax plans that will finance it. But it remained unclear if they could strike a tax agreement that would escape Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto.

Legis-latest for June 10

Constitutional amendments offered for road money, reps nix cig tax hike and more from the Capitol

Legis-latest for June 9

Senate finalizes budget, penalties lowered for marijuana possession, high school seniors will take the U.S. citizenship test and more from the Capitol

La. Senate debates $24.5B budget proposal

With the legislative session in its final days, lawmakers are trying to cobble together a deal on budget and taxes that would protect colleges and public health services.

Legis-latest for June 3

Senate tackles budget, rape victims won’t be billed for tests and more from the Capitol

State construction budget bloated

Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted an overloaded construction budget proposal with $258 million more in projects than Louisiana has money to spend and the House Ways and Means Committee loaded up the bill even further Tuesday, adding millions more in road work, drainage and other local projects.

Bill to lower marijuana penalties OK'd by Senate

State senators agreed Monday to lessen Louisiana's penalties for marijuana possession, to remove provisions that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeatedly getting caught with small amounts of pot.

House passes $24B budget proposal for next year

Lawmakers voted 65-37 for the spending plan to finance government operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1, feeling a bit more upbeat about the budget situation than when they opened the legislative session in April.

Legis-latest for May 21

The House opens debate on the budget while critics lambast Gov. Bobby Jindal's executive order.

Legis-latest for May 20

Lawmakers eye the governor's broad exemptions to public records requests, move toward allowing universities to set tuition and attempt to curb the escalating cost of the TOPS program.

Where does he stand?

Gov. Bobby Jindal has formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Here's a look at where the two-term governor stands on various issues that will be debated in the GOP primaries.

Legis-latest for May 19

State senators have spurned a proposal to lift constitutional protections that keep an array of specially created funds shielded from budget cuts.

Legis-latest for May 14

The House agrees to new abortion restrictions, hospitals must align with federal law when it comes to billing rape victims for exams, an equal pay measure advances and more from the spring legislative session at the Capitol.

Anti-union bill gains momentum

A coalition of state and national business groups hopes to deliver a death blow to organized labor in Louisiana, pushing an anti-union bill that would ban automatically deducting membership dues from the paychecks of government workers.

House backs tax changes to raise $670M

The Louisiana House has agreed to raise more than $670 million for next year's budget by scaling back tax break programs and raising cigarette taxes.

Senate passes medical marijuana bill

Roughly a year after a medical marijuana bill was shot down in committee, the Louisiana Senate on Monday passed a similar proposal that could get medical-grade pot to those suffering from cancer, glaucoma and a severe form of cerebral palsy.

Hospitals offer to share in cost of La. Medicaid expansion

As Louisiana struggles with budget troubles, private hospitals are offering lawmakers a way to draw down more federal health care dollars for patient care, but only if the money is used to expand coverage through the Medicaid program.

Lawsuit challenges changes to state worker insurance program

The lawsuit, announced Wednesday, was filed in state district court a day earlier, claiming Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration didn't follow state law in reworking the health insurance plans offered through the Office of Group Benefits.

10 Things to Know Today

E-cigs become nicotine of choice for teens; Death Row mastermind faces murder trial; an AP investigation reveals true nature of decades-old oil leak in Gulf of Mexico; and more international and national news for Friday, April 17, 2015:

Nagin seeks to reverse corruption conviction

Public defenders for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have told a federal appeals court that Nagin's convictions on 20 counts involving corruption during his two terms as mayor should be thrown out.

Public gets its turn on Jindal budget

People who rely on the state for health care services and education programs are getting their turn to tell lawmakers their concerns about the threat of deep budget slashing next year.

NRA: 'If they can ban one, they can ban them all'

Leaders of the National Rifle Association on Saturday cited the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate as evidence of the group's political clout, but warned of looming gun-control efforts in the final years of Barack Obama's presidency.

Higher ed leaders make case to leges

Louisiana's higher education leaders argued their value to the state's economy as they urged state lawmakers Wednesday to keep campuses from deep cuts next year.

Revenue chief: Loopholes allow many companies to skip taxes

Lawmakers have questioned why Louisiana's corporate tax collections have remained largely stagnant despite the national economic recovery and a long list of job announcements and economic development projects from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.

Loreauville mayor killed in weekend crash

A juvenile passenger yanked a pickup truck's steering wheel, causing a head-on crash that killed Loreauville's mayor and injured four other people, Louisiana State Police said Saturday.

Anti-Common Core lawsuit dismissed

A Baton Rouge judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to end Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.

Strawberry festival poster sparks outcry about race

After an outcry over an artist's depiction of two black children with no facial features except bright red lips, organizers of a Louisiana strawberry festival have agreed not to show or sell this year's festival poster, which the local NAACP president called racially offensive.

Film tax credits: 23 cents on the dollar

Louisiana's film tax credit program produced hundreds of millions in household earnings and thousands of jobs last year across the state, but at a steep cost to the state treasury.

Jindal to decide on 2016 run in June

Gov. Bobby Jindal will wait until the state legislative session ends in June before announcing whether he'll enter the 2016 presidential race.

Confidence in La. gov climbs

With a big caveat: Confidence in state government's ability to handle pressing problems is no longer falling.

Jindal outlines plan to jettison Common Core

Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to remove Common Core from state public schools would return Louisiana to its old education standards and testing until new benchmarks are developed.

La. gov: Sell tobacco settlement for upfront cash

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is moving ahead with a plan to sell the state's remaining share of a massive tobacco settlement, despite criticism the move would waste a valuable asset for a quick fix to budget problems.

Jimmy Graham excited for Seattle

Jimmy Graham's hobby is flying small planes. So after completing his morning workout earlier this week he decided to fly a six-seater to a Florida beach for lunch.

Benson's family feud heads to federal court

Tom Benson has taken the legal struggle for control of his NFL and NBA teams to federal court while documents obtained by The Associated Press show distrust was fracturing his family months before their bitter public split in January.

BESE holds firm on opt-outs ... for now

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are asking for a tally of the participation rate and will decide later whether the "opt-outs" are so widespread that they want to take some action.

La. education chief seeks $44M funding bump

Education Superintendent John White released the proposal Wednesday. It will be considered Thursday by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which determines what to recommend to the Legislature.

Senate fails to override Keystone veto

The 62-37 vote is expected to be one of many veto showdowns between Republicans and Obama in his final term. Already, the White House has issued more than a dozen veto threats on legislation.

New lawsuit attacks asset swap by Saints, Pelicans owner

The type of asset swap New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is attempting to try to regain complete control of his business interests from recently estranged heirs is being challenged in a new lawsuit in Texas.

Jindal budget links higher ed funding to uncertainty

Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget hasn't eased concerns that Louisiana's colleges could face steep cuts next year because the proposal relies on financing plans that appear far from certain to gain passage with lawmakers.

Dardenne strays from the pack on Common Core

Among Louisiana's candidates for governor, Republican Jay Dardenne is alone in his support for the divisive Common Core education standards, a position that could help define his campaign.

LSU: Cassidy cleared of improper payment allegations

During last year's Senate race, then-Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu accused Cassidy of bilking taxpayers, suggesting the Republican collected a $20,000, taxpayer-funded annual salary for little work.

Sexual assault policy created for La. public colleges

Louisiana's public colleges must follow a new statewide policy for handling sexual-assault allegations and bolstering prevention efforts, though the broad guidelines stop short of requiring a specific prosecution response.

John White keeps one step ahead of anti-Common Core movement

Seeking to head off a legislative attack against the Common Core education standards, Louisiana’s public schools chief proposed Monday to speed efforts to review them and delay consequences for schools that perform poorly in the transition.

Jindal spends $1.5M from campaign

Gov. Bobby Jindal has been spending handily from his state campaign account, though he isn't up for re-election and doesn't plan to run for any other office in Louisiana.

EWE trading politics for real estate

Edwards, who was convicted in 2001 of racketeering and served eight years in federal prison, received a 7-2 vote Thursday from the state Real Estate Commission approving his application to be tested for his real estate broker's license.

Layoffs, reduced hours planned by SoS to cope with cut

Secretary of State Tom Schedler announced Wednesday that he will lay off 24 full-time employees and reduce hours at museums under his control to cope with the midyear budget cut assigned to his office by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

More than half of latest spill seafood claims paid

The administrator of claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill says more than half the payments from a $500 million second round of seafood industry claims have been distributed.

Boehner to Obama: Sign Keystone

In a ceremony on Friday, Speaker John Boehner put his signature on the Keystone XL bill and called on Obama to "do the right thing" and add his name.

Health care services threatened

Cuts for services that take care of the poor, elderly and disabled could reach up to $800 million in lost state and federal funding for the year that begins July 1, under scenarios being considered.

Budget cuts disproportionately hit elected officials

While the governor's office will come through the $61 million in cuts with a reduction of $10,000 — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of its budget — departments overseen by the lieutenant governor, treasurer and others are in line for cuts of 3 percent to 4 percent.

A look at Jindal's budget tactics

Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics have heavily relied on quick fixes rather than matching state spending to annual revenue.

LSU offers grim budget scenarios

Widespread layoffs, hundreds of classes eliminated, academic programs jettisoned and a flagship university that can't compete with its peers around the nation — those are among the grim scenarios LSU leaders outlined in internal documents as the threat of budget cuts loom.

Common Core opponents push 'opt-out'

Opponents seeking new ways to upend Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards have targeted public school standardized testing scheduled for mid-March, with some parents refusing to let their children take the assessments.

Oil price slumps again

Oil prices plunged on Wednesday, ending a four-day rally, after the U.S. government reported that crude inventories surged last week.

Special session not to be

A Houma area lawmaker has given up on efforts to convene a special legislative session targeting Louisiana's ongoing budget troubles.

Sensible Jindal backs vaccinations

Gov. Bobby Jindal has waded into the vaccine debate, urging parents to get their children vaccinated and saying he wouldn't send his children to a school that allowed vaccinations to be optional.

Rules are coming on payday loans to shield borrowers

Troubled by consumer complaints and loopholes in state laws, federal regulators are putting together the first rules on payday loans aimed at helping cash-strapped borrowers avoid falling into a cycle of high-rate debt.

Smoking in Big Easy bars, gambling halls ends in April

On Friday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law a new ordinance that does away with smoking inside bars, gambling halls, stadiums and hotels in what will be a big change for a city known for its libertine ways.

Benson's granddaughter criticizes heirs' lawsuit

A granddaughter of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson says a lawsuit filed against her grandfather by his estranged heirs is unwarranted and is unnecessarily humiliating the 87-year-old.

SCOLA urged to rule in same-sex marriage

Lawyers on both sides of a same-sex marriage case have urged Louisiana's Supreme Court to rule on the matter even though the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to do so by June.

Louisiana regs become latest abortion flashpoint

Abortion rights supporters said Thursday that a rewrite of Louisiana's abortion clinic regulations was aimed at forcing clinics to close, as leaders in conservative Southern states continue to add new limitations to the procedure.

Deficit-closing plan from Gov. Jindal delayed

A Jindal administration spokeswoman said Thursday that the proposal to rebalance this year's $25 billion budget will be presented to lawmakers at a Feb. 20 hearing for their consideration.

Both sides in Keystone XL debate bend facts

Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf, say the privately funded, $8 billion project is a critically needed piece of infrastructure that will create thousands of jobs and make the U.S. dependent on oil from friends, rather than foes.

WISE cracked

With the state grappling with deep budget problems, Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to strip financing from a fund that only months ago he described as among his top priorities.

Republican presidential hopefuls court the evangelicals

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have gotten much of the attention in these early days of the Republican race for president, but as they court the party’s elite donors in private phone calls and meetings, a group of likely candidates to their right are just as eagerly chasing support among Christian evangelicals and social conservatives.

Benson's wife will get control of Saints, Pelicans

Tom Benson, who owns the NFL’s Saints and NBA’s Pelicans, has agreed to a succession plan that will give his wife, Gayle, control of New Orleans’ major professional sports franchises after his death.

Trooper pay raise questioned amid state budget troubles

A nearly $15 million pay raise for Louisiana state police could be derailed or scaled back by lawmakers questioning whether the salary hike is appropriate when the state is grappling with deep financial problems.

Feds order Darren Sharper to New Orleans to face charges

California authorities have been ordered to turn former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper over to U.S. Marshals in New Orleans, where he faces state and federal charges that he drugged women so he could sexually assault them.

Analysis: Hospital decision good for Jindal, less for others

Gov. Bobby Jindal got only good news when the federal Medicaid agency signed off on financing plans for his LSU hospital privatization deals. But the result was more mixed for lawmakers and future governors, who learned Jindal’s deals will leave them with a lingering budget worry after he’s gone.

LA: Gay marriage is 'novel' and risky

Louisiana's special counsel tells a federal appellate panel that giving gays and lesbians marriage rights is so risky and unproven that states must be allowed to protect their citizens against it.

Higher ed battle looms

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley says he will fight proposals floated by Gov. Bobby Jindal to slash $300 million from Louisiana colleges next year.

Southern gay marriage bans will be heard in federal court

Bans on gay marriage in three staunchly conservative Southern states were to get a hearing in a federal appeals court Friday — the latest legal battle over an issue expected to be settled by the nation’s highest court.

The 'Blue Dog' heist

The son of the late Cajun artist George Rodrigue says one of his father’s famous “Blue Dog” paintings — valued at $250,000 — was stolen in a brazen daylight theft.

GOP stands firm in defense of Scalise

Republican lawmakers are closing ranks behind the No. 3 House GOP leader, Steve Scalise, as the party aims to move past the controversy over his speech 12 years ago to a white supremacist group.

Scalise responds to white supremacy ties

In a revelation that could put a crimp in Republican efforts to reach out to minorities in 2016, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has acknowledged that he once addressed a gathering of white supremacists, though his office denies any association with the group’s social views.

GOP works on voter interest in La. Senate race

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from...

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