State

Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge (left) and Sen. Fred Mills, R-New Iberia, listening to testimony Tuesday in Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/ Manship School News Service)

Senators debate bills for cheaper medicine, lowering obesity, tighten opioid regulations

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee reported to the full chamber for debate Tuesday bills to create cheaper medicine, to lower obesity rates and to provide more stringent opioid regulations.
Senate Bill 14 by Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, expand the legal definition of “auto-injector” to include more than EpiPens, which treat allergy emergencies.

Highway construction priority list question

The joint Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works set the tone for what is expected to be a raucous debate in the 2017 Legislative session that opened Monday over the proposal to raise the gas tax.
The committee approved the Highway Priority Construction Program for the next fiscal year, but stripped it of its provisions that would take effect if the state came into more state or federal money.

Louisiana House Speaker Taylor Barras, left, and Senate President John Alario, both Republicans, await the arrival of Gov. John Bell Edwards, a Democrat, to address a joint session of the opening session of the 2017 Legislature. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/Manship School News Service)

Legislature marked by sharp political divide

When state lawmakers ended their work last year, having passed a host of temporary tax increases to help fill a looming budget hole, many shrugged off the fact they did not make significant long-term changes to a tax code widely considered broken.
After all, the temporary taxes, most notably a one-cent increase to the sales tax, would roll off in 2018, putting pressure on the Legislature this year to make bold changes to the tax code and budget.

Gov. John Bel Edwards addresses the convening the 2017 Legislature Monday. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/Manship School News Service)

Gov. Edwards: Challenges Republicans to come up with solutions

Gov. John Bel Edwards had a message for Republicans opposing his plans for tax reform: Chart a new path.
The call to action came during his State of the State address – the second of Edwards’ tenure – that opened the 60-day Louisiana State Legislature’s 2017 regular session. Much of the speech centered on the governor’s proposals for tax reform, which includes eliminating one penny of the five-penny sales tax and implementing a commercial activity tax (CAT) for businesses.

State ranks 2nd in nation for male-female wage gap

Louisiana ranks second in the nation for greatest wage gap between men and women, 32 cents less per dollar of wages than men. Wyoming women make 36 cents less.
The gap increases even further for women of color.
Of Louisiana women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, black women earn 52 cents less, Latinas 49 cents less and Asian women 42 cents under every dollar earned by white males, the National Partnership for Women and Families reported this week.
Yet, this is an improvement over last year when Louisiana women earned 35 cents less per dollar.

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