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Louisiana News & politics focus on Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana legislature

Louisiana higher education will hit bottom as legislature says bye to TOPS 

The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is wildly popular and successful in Louisiana. Since 1989, TOPS has helped over 500,000 students pursue a higher education degree in Louisiana, which would not have been possible for many of them without this program.

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by Jim Brown
And I thought voters were distrustful, angry and confrontational a few years back when I held public office in Louisiana.  This coming federal election is viewed by many, including yours truly, as a herculean and rather grim battle between good and evil, left and right, the good guys and the scum, Wormwood and the Patient, and Saint Michael vs. Satan.  But guess what?  There could be no victors.  We all could lose on November 8th.

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At least they listened to this space and took another whack at it. But there’s no real evidence that the bill offered will provide any real benefits and threatens unseemly costs. Indeed, it heads in the wrong direction.

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by Lou Gehrig Burett, Publisher of Fax-Net

‘Religious freedom’ bill up in House
    Bossier City state Rep. Mike Johnson’s so-called “religious freedom” legislation passed in the Civil Law and Procedure Committee and will be considered on the House floor on Tuesday, April 19.
    The controversial bill passed out of committee with all Republicans voting for it, including Johnson and state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, and the three Democrats on the committee voting against it, including Shreveport state Rep. Sam Jenkins.

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by Jim Brown

One of the hot issues in the current session of the Louisiana Legislature, meeting at the state capitol in Baton Rouge, is the repeal of a law that currently mandates the wearing of a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle.  Proponents of such a repeal site “freedom of choice” concerns, saying it should be an individual decision as to whether to wear or not wear a helmet.  They say there should be no role for government to play in this decision.  And I sure agree that the issue is one of freedom of choice (but read on).

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In a John Bel Edwards press release, the Louisiana governor defended his budget proposal which he presented to the House committee today.  Also, one Koch-supported organization, Americans for Prosperity has slammed the governor for claiming that taxes would be needed. 

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Louisiana need not abandon the idea of asking Medicaid patients for some reimbursement to arrest wildly increasing costs, but must design the program with an understanding of the inculcated culture of poverty in order to make it effective.

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It's Monday and our mailbox is swollen.

Here are some of the latest we have received, that we would like to share with you--TOPS and the legislature, Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni speech regarding West Jefferson Hospital, blogger Lamar White offers consulting and attorney Fred Herman criticizes blogger Jeffrey Sadow's The Advocate column:

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Louisiana’s Department of Corrections might want to rethink its budgetary poormouthing strategy, especially when there exist realistic solutions to cuts costs that take only the political will to implement.

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by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

The myriad of political and policy changes afoot in the State Capitol have dominated many a headline over the last year or so. We have a Louisiana economy in recession, a state budget seemingly in constant deficit, a host of previously passed reforms under reconsideration and an increasingly chaotic political landscape. Negative consequences of every possible scenario are well documented in excruciating detail, although real analysis on consensus-driven plans to reform the system is much harder to come by. While fiscal analysts remain unsure of the actual amount of taxes raised just last month, there is already a growing drumbeat for more taxes this summer.

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