The Rundown: Updates on treasurer’s race, early ed, Amazon, criminal justice and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today

Today in The Rundown: Updates on the Louisiana treasurer’s race, early ed, Amazon, criminal justice, sanctuary cities and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today.

Programming note: We will be taking a brief hiatus next week. The Rundown will resume its outside-Louisiana Legislature twice weekly schedule after that.

 Countdown…

Days until the runoff election for state treasurer: 30

Days until the 2018 regular legislative session begins: 145…

 

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Louisiana Medicaid contracts proposed for 2-year extension

Louisiana’s health department wants to keep the five managed-care companies that coordinate health services for most state Medicaid patients in place, extending the lucrative government contracts for another two years.

Lawmakers on the joint House and Senate budget committee on Friday will consider whether to approve the extensions, expected to cost $15 billion with federal and state dollars.

Enacted by former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration, the contracts began in February 2015 and are set to expire in January. The Department of Health is proposing to continue them through December 2019 while working to seek new bids for managed-care work…

 

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Cassidy, Rubio propose bill to speed approval of some natural gas exports

Sen. Bill Cassidy and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Thursday that would speed up approval for small-scale natural gas exports.

The “Small Scale LNG Access Act of 2017” would grant expedited approval for liquefied natural gas exports equal to or smaller than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year, a move they say will help supply U.S. natural gas to markets in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The bill would modify the Natural Gas Act to deem those small-scale exports as “consistent with the public interest,” thus allowing them to be “granted without modification or delay.” It follows last month’s U.S. Department of Energy proposal of a rule that would do the same

 

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Are Cajuns an endangered species? Watch Rep. Garret Graves try to make the case

Should Cajuns be listed by the federal government as an endangered species? U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, tried to make that case with an amendment in the House Natural Resources Committee, but it didn’t go well.

Graves’ effort was somewhat tongue in cheek, judging from the banter at the committee meeting. His larger point was that Washington is largely responsible for Louisiana’s coastal erosion yet is stalling permits for the state’s $50 billion, 50-year master plan to save the southern third of Louisiana from disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Making Cajuns who live there an endangered species, he said, would protect their environment just as plants and animals on the endangered species list get extra help.

“The federal government is managing the Mississippi River system in a way that is causing the greatest coastal wetlands loss on the North American continent,” Graves told the committee Oct. 4. “This is happening over about the last 80 years. … This is some of the most productive habitat on the North American continent. It also happens to be where Cajuns primarily live in south Louisiana…

 

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu slammed as ‘unprofessional’ by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy in D.C. hearing

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana took repeated shots at New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu during a high-profile Senate hearing Wednesday — while also offering to broker a solution to an ongoing spat between Landrieu and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Landrieu administration and the federal Justice Department have been at loggerheads over the New Orleans Police Department’s degree of cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Kennedy, publicly questioning Sessions in front of a packed hearing room, scolded Landrieu for the mayor’s latest letter to the Justice Department — a missive Kennedy called “very unprofessional” — and suggested the city is refusing to obey federal law…

 

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LOUISIANA POLITICS: CHATTER PERSISTS ABOUT SPECIAL SESSION

Lawmakers, administration officials, lobbyists and other government relations professionals are working under the assumption that the next special session of the Legislature will be called some time after Feb. 14.

Louisiana residents up to speed on on next year’s cultural calendar already know that date as Ash Wednesday, or the official end to Mardi Gras. That’s the timeframe — sometime in late February, after the carnival season quiets down — that Gov. John Bel Edwards has mentioned as a possibility in several meetings.

But like all things that radiate from the tall, pointy, Alabama limestone building located in downtown Baton Rouge, there are caveats. Edwards is said to be looking for a true consensus on something — anything — that the House can get behind, his administration can live with and that the Senate can stomach…

 

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The Rundown: Updates on treasurer’s race, early ed, Amazon, criminal justice and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today

Today in The Rundown: Updates on the Louisiana treasurer’s race, early ed, Amazon, criminal justice, sanctuary cities and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today.

Programming note: We will be taking a brief hiatus next week. The Rundown will resume its outside-Louisiana Legislature twice weekly schedule after that.

Countdown…

Days until the runoff election for state treasurer: 30

Days until the 2018 regular legislative session begins: 145…

 

Click Here for Remainder of Article 




The Rundown: Truck stop tiger hotly debated in Legislature has been euthanized; outlook for state Demos is dim; and more in Louisiana politics today

Today in The Rundown: An unexpected death in Grosse Tete may end years of sparring or set off a new fight; the state Democratic Party trying to find its place in Louisiana’s current political climate; LSU loosens post-death restrictions on Greek life; and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today.

Countdown…

Days until the runoff election for state treasurer: 32

Days until the 2018 regular legislative session begins: 147…

 

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Alford: Saturday’s primary election was low on turnout, high on lessons

An astounding 86.5% of Louisiana’s registered voters didn’t participate in last weekend’s statewide elections, Jeremy Alford notes in his latest column.

“The math is a little depressing, but it’s worth a spin on the abacus,” he says. “It basically means that 400,000 voters collectively called the shots for Louisiana’s entire electorate, which numbers around 2.9 million voters.”

The story was a little different in Orleans Parish, which had a number of municipal races on the ballot including a contest for mayor, Alford writes. The parish had 31.8% of its voters cast ballots in the election—that’s higher than the statewide average yet lower than many local politicos had hoped…

 

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Scalise says he’s glad to be back at work

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, received a minute-long standing ovation today as he returned to the local area for the first time since he was shot back in June.

Scalise, who represents the southern parts of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes in the U.S. House, spoke briefly to the South Central Industrial Association about his struggle to recover, his faith and his appreciation for everyone’s prayers and support. He also said he was committed to working hard in Washington to help advance issues for Louisiana and America as a whole.

“To be able to walk into (Congress) and see everyone’s faces again and to get to go vote again and get things done to make sure that after the first week I was there we passed the budget for the first time in two years. I was actually working on that from the hospital, and let me tell you, calling people who are undecided to get them to vote is a lot easier when you tell them you’re calling from the hospital,” Scalise said…

 

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