Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

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

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Teachers across the country, including Washington, Arizona, and West Virginia, are calling for higher pay and in some cases, going on strike.  According to a recent IPSOS/USA Today poll, a majority of Americans don’t think that public school teachers are compensated fairly. The issue is resonating in Louisiana.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Louisiana’s casinos and gaming laws got a lot of attention from the Legislature this year. Lawmakers approved a bill to let riverboat casinos move onto land, but a bill that could have paved the way for legal sports betting in the state failed to gain traction. 

Wallis Watkins

The cost of printing a newspaper has grown by more than 20% this year, in part because of a tariff the Trump administration placed on imported newsprint - the paper that newspapers are printed on. But the industry could soon be seeing some relief. Last week, the United States International Trade Commission voted to lift the newsprint tariff. 

Wallis Watkins

When Governor John Bel Edwards came into office in 2016, one of the first steps he took was signing an executive order expanding Medicaid in Louisiana. Under the new rules, more people qualified for the health insurance plan. A recent survey by LSU shows since then, the number of uninsured in the state has been cut in half.

Wallis Watkins

Soybeans are a $700-million dollar industry in Louisiana.  It’s the second largest row crop industry, just behind sugar cane. So when China imposed a tax on imported soybeans, it put a financial strain on farmers across the state. 

About 40 people gathered Wednesday evening at a New Orleans Labor Union hall to coordinate voter registration outreach efforts, and to educate people on a ballot initiative this fall that could change Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury rule.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

Two years ago, tens of thousands of homes in southeast Louisiana were flooded by historic rainfall. Recovery continues, but fewer homeowners than anticipated are applying for financial assistance from the state. Capitol Access caught up with Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development, to discuss what’s been done and what’s left to do.

Wallis Watkins

Governor John Bel Edwards will be in New Jersey Thursday to meet with President Trump about criminal justice reform. Louisiana revamped its criminal justice system last year, but the effort is facing criticism from some of the Governor’s staunchest political opponents, including Senator John Kennedy.

In 2017, bipartisan legislation was approved by the Louisiana legislature that expanded probation and parole opportunities for non-violent and non-sexual offenders. As a result, the state granted an early release to nearly 2,000 prisoners.

Across the country, more and more women are running for elected office - at the local, state and national level. But in the south, women’s representation lags behind the rest of the country.

United Soybean Board / Flickr Creative Commons

Louisiana plants more soybean per acre than any other row crop in the state. Last month, China introduced a tariff on American soybeans, making them 25% more expensive for Chinese buyers. The move was a response to tariffs announced by President Trump on Chinese goods. How will the soybean tariff impact Louisiana farmers? 

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