Paul Braun

Capitol Reporter

Paul Braun is WRKF's reporter for Capitol Access, our series of reporting on state politics, government, and the people shaping Louisiana's state policy.

Ways to Connect

Paul Braun / WRKF

Gov. John Bel Edwards has a press conference scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon. He is expected to announce whether the state is ready to move into the third phase of reopening. 

The last time he addressed the public, the outlook was not good. Cases and hospitalizations were trending upward several regions of the state—mostly from community spread.

Since then state health officials have identified a series of clusters tied to so-called “super-spreader events.”

Tim Johnson / Flickr

The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors agreed Friday to remove Troy H. Middleton’s name from the university’s main library. 

Middleton was LSU’s president from 1951 to 1962 and an ardent segregationist. He oversaw the university when A.P. Tureaud Jr.-- LSU’s first Black student-- came to campus, and stood idly by while Tureaud was beaten and harassed by white students.

Louisiana Department of Health

Gov. John Bel Edwards is raising concerns over the recent increase in coronavirus hospitalizations and community spread just days before he’s set to make a decision about a possible third phase of reopening.

On Tuesday, GOP state lawmakers reaffirmed their belief that the best way to get the state’s faltering economy back on track is through tax cuts. 

The Repubilcan-controlled House of Representatives approved a trio of business tax breaks.

Democrats accuse Republican state lawmakers of using the coronavirus as an excuse to add to an already lengthy list of business incentives.

Governor John Bel Edwards has signed a GOP backed bill that would funnel $300 million of coronavirus relief money to Louisiana small businesses through the new Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program. 

The state received $1.8 billion through the federal CARES Act. Lawmakers and Edwards agreed to use about $1 billion to balance the state operating budgets for this year and next. Edwards wanted to send the rest to local governments, but the legislature voted overwhelmingly for this grant program.

Governor John Bel Edwards is approaching the final deadline to sign or veto legislation passed in the regular session that ended last Monday and he’s got a stack of controversial bills waiting on his desk.  

Among them is the tort reform bill prized by Republicans and opposed by Edwards.

Another would direct $300 million of federal COVID-19 relief money away from local governments and into a small business grant program.

And third would mandate strict criminal sentences for anyone protesting on critical infrastructures sites, like levees and pipelines.

Trey Couvillion / LSU Manship School News Service

With Tropical Storm Cristobal in the rearview, Gov. John Bel Edwards spent most of his Monday press conference discussing the state’s ongoing fight against COVID-19 and widespread protests against police violence following the death of George Floyd.

On Thursday, the Louisiana House of Representatives approved the capital outlay bill-- the list of state construction projects to be funded in the coming year-- then minutes later voted down the bill that would pay for it.  

It required a two-thirds vote-- 70 yeas. It got 65.

On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards praised protesters and law enforcement officers across the state for avoiding the violent altercations that have marked demonstrations elsewhere in the country. 

Thousands of Louisianans have taken to the streets to protest the police killing of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died of asphyxiation after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Ashley Dean / WWNO

As more and more states are loosening social distancing measures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that the state will enter the second phase of reopening on Friday.