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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SARAH GAMARD/LSU MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE

Louisiana’s legislature is about three weeks away from the start of a fiscal session. For two months, lawmakers will debate tax policies in the state.  Taking center stage could be a bill from Representative Tanner Magee (R-Houma). 

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Included in Governor John Bel Edwards’ budget proposal for next fiscal year is a fully funded TOPS scholarship program, an increase to higher education, and a $1,000 teacher pay raise. Left out is any additional money for early childhood education, a program whose funding could end up being a point of contention during the legislative session that starts in April.

Wallis Watkins

More than 36,000 convicted felons in Louisiana will regain their right to vote Friday, March 1. One of those people is Checo Yancy.

Wallis Watkins

Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration  presented a $31 billion proposal for next year’s budget on Friday. But before it can become a reality, a legislative stalemate would have to break. 

Wallis Watkins

The Louisiana Board of Ethics voted on Friday to allow political candidates to use campaign funds to pay for certain child care expenses. Some say the decision breaks down a barrier that working parents, especially women, face getting on the ballot.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump announced a plan to eliminate the spread of new HIV cases in the U.S. by 2030.  The initiative could propel efforts already underway in Louisiana to prevent and treat the virus.

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The Industrial Tax Exemption Program, or ITEP, is the most expensive tax incentive program Louisiana offers to manufacturers. In exchange for spurring economic development, manufacturing companies can get a break on their property taxes for 10 years.

Back in October, Congress passed a law fixing the duplication of benefits penalty, a policy that blocked more than 6,000 homeowners who flooded in 2016 from accessing recovery grants from the state. But Louisiana homeowners impacted by the change still haven’t received the money.  

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A Louisiana law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is set to go into effect after a long court battle. Last week, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied a request to rehear the case. Opponents worry this law will make it nearly impossible for a woman to access an abortion in Louisiana, a right protected by Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling issued 46 years ago this week.

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Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could collect sales tax on internet purchases from retailers who don't have a physical location in the state.  Since then, Louisiana has been ironing out how that process will work.

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