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Capitol Access

Tuesdays at 4:44pm and Wednesdays at 8:44am

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

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Wallis Watkins

The call to rewrite Louisiana’s constitution, adopted in 1974, has been growing over the last few years. But inside the Capitol, lawmakers haven’t been able to get enough support to approve a constitutional convention. The non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) of Louisiana published a report recently, calling the state's constitution one of the major issues in this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races.

CC0 PUBLIC DOMAIN

A new law will take effect in August establishing a minimum age for marriage in Louisiana.

In order to get married, a person must be at least 16 years old — an age limit the state previously hasn’t had. Any 16 and 17-year-olds will have to have both parental and judicial consent and can’t marry anyone more than three years older.

On this week's Capitol Access, Morgan Lamandre, legal director with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), discusses the new law and how it moved through the Legislature.

Wallis Watkins

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Trump announced plans to eliminate the spread of new HIV cases in the U.S. by 2030. The initiative will focus on 48 areas across the country seeing the majority of new HIV cases, including East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes.

The first round of funding was recently announced and sends $1.5 million to East Baton Rouge Parish.

On this week's Capitol Access, Dr. Alexander Billioux, Assistant Secretary of Louisiana's Office of Public Health, talks about what the investment could mean for HIV care in the state. 

Wallis Watkins

As Hurricane Barry was developing in the Gulf of Mexico, so was the race for governor in Louisiana. In light of the storm, Governor John Bel Edwards officially postponed a campaign bus tour across the state. And one of his opponents, Republican congressman Ralph Abraham, followed suit, putting his campaign on pause.

But the lines between natural disasters and politics can be delicate in Louisiana.

Louisiana has struck a deal with a pharmaceutical company to provide Hepatitis C treatment to the state's Medicaid patients and prisoners.

Wallis Watkins

Rice is one of Louisiana's signature agricultural products. But it’s more than just the base for gumbos and étouffées - it’s an economic driver across the state. So lawmakers in Louisiana recently passed a bill aimed at protecting the industry by defining what is rice and what isn't. 

Wallis Watkins

Every twelve years, Louisiana’s Legislature goes through a shake up when a large number of legislators are termed out. 

Wallis Watkins

Louisianians will not be playing daily fantasy sports or betting on games outright anytime soon, after the final chaotic minutes of the legislative session sank both efforts. 

PIXABAY LICENSE

Lawmakers and the governor entered the legislative session agreeing the state should raise teacher salaries and increase education spending. But it took the Legislature all session to determine exactly how much more money to spend and where to send it. 

The Louisiana legislature debated a total of seven bills dealing with the issue of abortion during its 2019 session. The bill that got the most attention would make abortion illegal after about six weeks — before many women know they’re pregnant.

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