WRKF News

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.

It’s been almost exactly one year since record-breaking rains flooded much of the city, and the city’s pumping and drainage system couldn’t keep up. Later it was revealed that many of the Sewerage and Water Board pumps and turbines weren’t working. Sewerage and Water Board officials say since then they've made $82 million in repairs, and today, the pumping and drainage system is in much better shape.

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? 

The Army Corps of Engineers has a system for classifying river and hurricane levees across the country. On Thursday, officials announced the final classifications for Southeast Louisiana. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans levee systems are considered “Moderate to High Risk.”

Though that may sound concerning, the Army Corps stresses that these classifications are not safety ratings. New Orleans District commander Colonel Mike Clancy says the levees themselves are in good shape.

Wallis Watkins

Election season is officially underway, as qualifying for the fall election ended Friday, July 20. Voters in Louisiana will head to the polls Nov. 6 to choose the state’s six members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Secretary of State in Louisiana. 

Wallis Watkins

Friday was the last day for candidates in Louisiana to get their name on the ballot for fall elections. The only statewide race in November will have nine candidates vying for the job of Secretary of State, responsible for overseeing elections throughout Louisiana.

State Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge) qualified for the race Friday, saying he’s ready to build transparency and integrity into the office.

It’s been nearly 13 years since Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and its school system. And a lot has changed since then. Now the city is the first, large school district in the nation where nearly all students attend charter schools. But the reforms are controversial, and have left many wondering, did they work?

School is out for most New Orleans kids, but many of them are still learning at summer camps. Some of them are taking on big topics, like the history of civil rights. At the Leona Tate Foundation For Change camp, students get to interview real leaders in the battle for racial equality. 

Wallis Watkins

It took multiple special sessions, but the Louisiana Legislature avoided the fiscal cliff. With a budget crisis behind them, Stephanie Grace, columnist for The Advocate, says lawmakers, including the Governor, will focus their attention on other issues, like an upcoming election. 

Grace discusses which policy issues may or may not get traction in an election year with Capitol Access Reporter Wallis Watkins.

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