Attorney general raises concerns about Edwards Medicaid plan

Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is raising “concerns” that Louisiana’s governor cannot legally sidestep lawmakers to enter into $15.4 billion in Medicaid contracts through an emergency process.

Sixteen Republican state senators asked Landry to determine if Gov. John Bel Edwards can use emergency provisions to keep five managed-care companies operating services for 1.5 million Medicaid patients. The guidance issued to lawmakers by the GOP attorney general suggests that if the Democratic governor’s administration continues services by invoking the emergency statute, the contracts could be subject to legal dispute.

“It is possible that, if challenged, the ‘emergency’ (managed-care) contracts created pursuant to the emergency procurement process could be declared null and void,” Assistant Attorney General John Morris IV wrote in a “letter of advice” sent to senators over the weekend…


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Gov. John Bel Edwards, others offer prayers and support for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco after cancer diagnosis

Louisiana officials on Sunday offered prayers and support to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who announced she is fighting melanoma in her liver, for which she said there is no cure.

In a statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Blanco is a “strong woman of incredible faith” and asked Louisianans to join him and his wife, Donna, in prayers for the former governor.

“Donna and I have been blessed to come to know Gov. Blanco and her large, beautiful family over the past several years. She is a strong woman of incredible faith, a deep and abiding love of Louisiana and all its people. Now we ask the people of our state to join their prayers to ours that she, aided by the Great Physician as well as her medical team, wins a great victory over her cancer and is restored to full health,” Edwards wrote…


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Funding deal buys time, but Congress still needs answers on CHIP, disaster-recovery by holidays

A short-term spending deal struck on Capitol Hill last week gives states more flexibility in cobbling together federal cash to keep the Children’s Health Insurance Program running.

But lawmakers will need to get back to work Monday on a deal to renew CHIP, which provides health coverage to roughly 9 million low- and moderate-income children nationally, including about 121,000 kids in Louisiana.

Politicians from both parties have expressed confidence that they can settle a squabble over how to pay for the program and reauthorize it before the end of the year…


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Former members of Louisiana delegation recall less polarization

Three former members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation regaled a rapt crowd Thursday with stories from the nearly seven decades combined that they spent representing the state in Washington and reflected on how things have changed since they left office.

U.S. Sen. John Breaux and ex-U.S. Reps. Billy Tauzin and Rodney Alexander, who are all now Washington lobbyists, got together during the Council for a Better Louisiana luncheon to discuss the polarization that they have seen in politics and the gridlock that has mired Washington. All shared particularly grim views of where things currently stand.

“Many of them just hate each other today,” said Tauzin, 74, who represented Louisiana’s 3rd District the U.S. House from 1980 to 2005…


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A legislatively created task force has been touring the state visiting as many locales as possible that hold historic Louisiana documents, from universities and clerks’ offices to courthouses and private foundations.
But the research has become so time-consuming, and archiving needs so profound, that Sen. Mike Walsworth said the task force may ask for an extension beyond its March 2018 expiration.
“We’d like to be ready to ask for legislation by then,” said Walsworth, chairman of the Historical Archives Task Force, “but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
The task force is currently in a “fact-finding” phase, but it’s beginning to narrow its scope of interest…


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La. Attorney General talks opioid epidemic

On Wednesday, political reporter Fred Childers interviewed Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry about his effort to combat opioid abuse.

The A.G. said the problem is an epidemic sweeping the nation, and it’s impacting communities right here in Louisiana.

His office has taken several initiatives to combat the public health hazard which includes investigating pharmaceutical companies, changing current laws, and actively taking some drugs off the streets through the use of designated “take back” drop-boxes throughout the state…


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The Rundown: Sexual harassment task force formed; voter issues examined; and everything else in Louisiana politics today

Today in The Rundown: Updates in the state’s response to sexual harassment allegations; A look into voter issues; Congress works toward CHIP renewal; and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today.


Days until the 2018 regular legislative session begins: 111

The News

Harassment: Gov. John Bel Edwards has created a new task force to look into sexual harassment and discrimination in state government, after a top aide resigned amid allegations.


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Secretary of State asking how much will it cost to change the way Louisiana votes

Louisiana is looking for new voting machines and a new way to vote.

The Secretary of State’s office is seeking proposals to replace voting machines across the state and for software that will create a paper ballot on those machines that the voter can review before casting the vote.

“It takes away the perception that the machine switched the votes,” Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Tuesday…


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New treasurer, Medicaid contracts and LSU’s pay gap: Louisiana politics today (Dec. 6)

John Kennedy’s ‘Look-At-Me’ Politics

As we learned heading into last weekend, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has decided to vote in favor of Kyle Duncan, the president’s 5th Circuit nominee, whenever the next opportunity arises. This follows weeks of speculation, some of it in national media coverage, about why Kennedy was withholding support.

The former Louisiana treasurer had everyone right where he likes them, which is asking, “What in the world is John Kennedy up to?”

Sources tell LaPolitics that Kennedy had a conversation Thursday afternoon with both Duncan and Congressman Mike Johnson and that the sit-down helped move the needle. More to the point, Johnson, a true freshman from the Shreveport area, was directly credited with changing Kennedy’s mind. “A lot of people are going to want to take credit, but it was Mike,” says a well-placed source who’s close to the junior senator. “Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Johnson are becoming really close.”

That may be, but Kennedy’s political opponents have been quick to add that the freshman senator was under intense pressure from conservative-leaning and faith-based political groups. He also had to face off against Attorney General Jeff Landry, who had cut a television commercial in Louisiana promoting Duncan’s nomination…


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