Sharon Hewitt

Wallis Watkins

Governor John Bel Edwards now has two Republican challengers in the 2019 gubernatorial campaign.

Congressman Ralph Abraham became the second Republican to announce his candidacy for the job. Abraham’s formal campaign won’t launch until the beginning of the year, but in a brief statement Thursday, the Congressman said “I’m running for Governor and I intend to win.”

LSU-Shreveport Political Scientist Jeff Sadow and former state lawmaker Melissa Flournoy of Shreveport square off on the political turns in Baton Rouge and the Beltway. Senator Sharon Hewitt explains her support for legislation regulating Uber and Lyft in Louisiana. Writer Michael Lennon recaps the contributions to the 60s of the controversial Norman Mailer.

Wallis Watkins

Legislators will start grappling with a $1 billion budget shortfall next week.

Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a republican from Slidell, says budgeting becomes even harder when certain accounts automatically get money — they call these dedicated funds. 

'Not In Our State's Best Interest'

Jan 23, 2018
screenshots from legis.la.gov

“What you have before you are a list of cuts that we should not make. They are not in our state’s best interest,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said as he presented his proposed budget for the next fiscal year to the Joint Budget Committee Monday. As required by the state constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, the proposal reduces state spending by $994 million.

legis.la.gov

"These are mega-contracts, and they entail 25 percent of our budget," insisted state Senator Conrad Appel, during the Joint Budget committee's fourth hearing on extending Louisiana's current managed-care contracts for Medicaid.

But the two-month-long tug-of-war over the 23-month extensions for the five companies — a total of $15.6-billion — finally ended late last week.

Managing Medicaid Contracts

Nov 3, 2017
wikimedia commons

Louisiana’s Joint Budget Committee meets today to vote on two-year contract extensions for the state’s Medicaid-managed care organizations.

“Why two years? Because we have made dramatic changes to these contracts, not just tweaks,” Health Secretary Rebekah Gee explained when lawmakers began debating the extensions two weeks ago.


Don't Come Easy: Unlocking Stat Deds

Oct 24, 2017
Mark Carroll

It’s an oft-repeated theory among state lawmakers: “Our hands are tied because we have dedicated funds,” and “There’s money in stat deds. So isn’t that money just sort of sitting around?”

Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is a proponent of that theory, and she ‘s heading a task force looking at eliminating many statutory dedications. But, as she found out during the group’s initial meeting – it don’t come easy.


Surplus? So Tempting On A Fiscal Diet

Sep 25, 2017
Sue Lincoln

Have you ever been on a strict diet, counting every calorie, journaling every bite you take? For lawmakers, the state budget process has been like that for quite some time.

But now legislators are being told: “The confidence that we are going to end last year in a surplus is there.”


Fiscal Myopia: Missing the Cliff Warning Signs

Aug 15, 2017
California Coastal Commission

“I see a deficit of just over $1.5-billion, correct? That's the fiscal cliff we keep talking about?” New Orleans Representative Gary Carter asked, as the latest tally of next July's fall off in state revenue was presented to the Joint Budget Committee last week.

Yet despite all the warning signs, some lawmakers don't see the drop as being all that steep.


Fiscal Myopia: Legislative Nearsightedness

Aug 14, 2017
wikimedia commons

Having worn glasses since I was six years old, I'm very familiar with myopia, which is also known as nearsightedness. Lately it seems some lawmakers have it, too, when it comes to Louisiana's fiscal issues.


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