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Wallis Watkins / WRKF

A three-day celebration of the life of Kathleen Babineaux Blanco begins Thursday in Baton Rouge.

Jessica Rossgard / WWNO

Every seat in the Louisiana Legislature is up for election this October. A third of those races have already been decided, as candidates went unopposed.

Stephanie Landry

Louisiana's first female governor, Kathleen Blanco, passed away Sunday, August 18, after a battle with cancer.

Blanco was 76. She had been diagnosed with her second round of cancer in 2017 and died at a Lafayette hospice center she entered earlier this year.

Blanco served as governor from 2004 to 2008, choosing not to run for a second term after having led the state through Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated the region.  

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.

Two disaster-related bills proposed this week in Congress could offer relief for Louisiana communities affected by extreme weather. One would create a permanent safety net program for commercial fishers who have suffered losses due to environmental damage. Another would create a special fund meant to help cities and towns build more resiliently.

Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019

Environmental disasters can cause commercial fishers to lose money. This year, for example, Mississippi River flooding has dramatically reduced the catch of several kinds of seafood in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

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. 

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