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Early voting starts Saturday for senator, other Dec. 6 contests

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., at a ceremonial investiture for new U.S. Attorney Walt Green, aAugust 1, 2014 at Russell B. Long Federal Building and Courthouse.

Early voting begins Saturday for the Dec. 6 runoff election in which voters statewide will choose between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy for a U.S. Senate seat and decide many other contests. Early voting will continue daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 29 at parish registrar of voters offices… Continue reading →

Vacant jobs eliminated to help balance the state budget

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols

The Jindal administration eliminated 167 vacant positions and found some extra dollars to balance the budget halfway through the fiscal year. “None of the positions that were taken were filled,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief budgetary adviser, said Friday. “The bottom line is we protected higher ed. We protected health care. There were… Continue reading →

‘Daily Show’ takes on Mary Landrieu, Keystone XL efforts

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill sponsor, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal to fast-track the approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Jon Stewart, on Thursday’s “Daily Show,” poked fun at Louisiana’s U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her unsuccessful effort this week to get the Senate to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. See the clip here.… Continue reading →

State changing Medicaid contracts

Kathy Kliebert

The Jindal administration won’t renew a contract with Magellan of Louisiana to coordinate services for poor residents with mental health and addictive disorder problems. Instead of the one company caring for Medicaid patients’ maladies, such as drug addiction, schizophrenia and other behavioral problems, the care will be covered by the five private insurance… Continue reading →

Diabetes costly for Louisiana

Associated Press file photoA diabetic tests his blood-sugar level in 2009.

Direct and indirect costs of diabetes in Louisiana hit $5.4 billion annually, which an economic impact study released Thursday by the American Diabetes Association called alarming. The new statistical data puts the national price tag at $322 billion associated with medical costs and lost productivity — 48 percent higher than just five years prior.… Continue reading →

Tax Amnesty gathers $142 million

Louisiana’s tax amnesty program has brought in $142 million for the sagging state budget this year — several million more than expected. The state budget relied on at least $100 million coming in through the monthlong effort, which gave thousands of tax scofflaws a chance to pay the taxes they owed with discounted interest and without penalties.… Continue reading →

LSU expands urgent care into MidCity

LSU Health Baton Rouge will open its second urgent care clinic Dec. 15 at MidCity Clinic, officials announced Thursday. The center, 1401 N. Foster Drive, will be open seven days a week. The hours will be 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Patients will not need… Continue reading →

Graves, Edwards to debate in Denham Springs

Garret Graves and Edwin Edwards will debate each other once more before the Dec. 6 runoff to fill Louisiana’s 6th District congressional seat. Graves, the Republican front-runner in the race, and Democratic former Gov. Edwards will answer randomly selected questions and have an opportunity to rebut each other at an event organized by the Livingston Parish Chamber… Continue reading →

Steve Scalise’s bill would modify Clean Air rules to spur growth

Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITEHouse Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., right, smiles as he walks from the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Friday after the Republican-controlled House passed legislation approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Clean-air rules regulating new or expanding factories would be modified with the goal of spurring more chemical manufacturing under a bill by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, that won House approval Thursday — and that has prompted a veto threat from Democratic President Barack Obama. The bill effectively has no chance… Continue reading →

Report: Cannabis group endorses Bill Cassidy in Louisiana Senate race against Mary Landrieu

A file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.  ( AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

A Louisiana pro-marijuana group has endorsed Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, according to a WWL-TV report. The endorsement was based on the candidates’ positions on medical marijuana, a group spokesman said.… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal joins Republican governors in Florida

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is spending part of this week at a posh beach resort with some of his closest allies, but ones who also could turn to foes depending on how the Republican field for president shakes out. Republican governors, governors-elect and major GOP supporters from across the country are in Boca Raton, Florida, through… Continue reading →

Politics blog: U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's campaign moves office locations in Jefferson Parish

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, left, talks withDonald J. 'Don' Cazayoux, Jr., left,  a former United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, talks to Donald J. 'Don' Cazayoux, Jr., right, a former United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana,before a cerimonial investiture in which the Oath of Office was administered to to new U.S. Attorney Walt Green, at Russell B. Long Federal Building and Courthouse, August 1, 2014.

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's campaign headquarters has moved locations in Jefferson Parish. The new location is less than two miles from its previous location. Check out our politics blog for more details.… Continue reading →

Early voting starts Saturday for Senate

Screen image

Early voting begins Saturday for the Dec. 6 elections featuring the U.S. Senate race at the top of the ballot. Early voting runs through Nov. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, excluding Sunday as well as Thursday and Friday, which are holidays. Secretary of State Tom Schedler on Wednesday encouraged eligible voters to consider… Continue reading →

No more charges for ex-Louisiana health chief Bruce Greenstein, but investigation not over yet

The grand jury that indicted former state health chief Bruce Greenstein reached the end of its term without issuing further charges, but a state prosecutor says the probe will continue. Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said Wednesday that the investigation into the award of a lucrative Medicaid contract to a former employer of Greenstein’s goes on. “The… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise disputes claim that House leadership is male-dominated

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, speaks during the Baton Rouge Press Club's weekly luncheon Monday.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise defended the U.S. House's Republican leadership on MSNBC, saying there's a "number of other women who are very talented that are part of our conference leadership." The House GOP majority on Tuesday announced white men would chair 20 of 21 standing committees. Check out our politics blog for more… Continue reading →

State bond refinancing yields savings

The refinancing of $228.54 million in state general obligation bonds saved taxpayers $12 million, state Treasurer John Kennedy said Tuesday. “We refinanced to generate savings on money that was borrowed to fund construction projects across Louisiana,” Kennedy said in a prepared statement shortly after completion of the refinancing. “Just like homeowners refinance their mortgages, we… Continue reading →

Gov. Bobby Jindal to announce Louisiana budget cuts Friday

Associated Press photo by JUSTIN HAYWORTH -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition fall fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, in September

While Gov. Bobby Jindal was hopeful but vague Monday about possible cuts to higher education, his top budget advisor said Tuesday that higher education would be protected. The administration won’t wait the month it has under the law to develop a plan to balance the budget. Instead, it will present its proposal at a Joint Legislative Committee… Continue reading →

Stevie Wonder headlining fundraiser for Landrieu

Stevie Wonder, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Stevie Wonder is lending a hand to endangered Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The legendary musician is performing at a $1,000-per-person fundraiser Dec. 1 in New Orleans to drum up campaign cash for the Big Easy Committee, a joint committee that supports Landrieu and the Democratic State Central Committee of Louisiana. The event is being advertised… Continue reading →

Politics blog: ‘Daily Show’ lampoons Bobby Jindal’s ‘weird magic’

Bobby Jindal once again found himself in the crosshairs of “The Daily Show” when host Jon Stewart mocked the Louisiana’s governor’s appearance on ‘Meet the Press.” See the story here.… Continue reading →

MFP changes will not include new pre-K dollars, educators say

State education leaders said Tuesday that it makes no sense to push for new spending on pre-K classes next year through Louisiana’s chief source of public school aid. “It’s a very complex issue to solve,” said Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The state is overhauling its pre-K setup, Continue reading →

Judges’ pay panel keeps status quo

The state Judicial Compensation Commission decided Tuesday that it won’t propose new pay raises for Louisiana judges for at least the next two years. Louisiana judges already are in line for annual 2.1 percent pay increases each July 1 through 2017 under a commission-proposed, five-year plan adopted by the Legislature. “We are in year two of… Continue reading →

Sen. Elbert Guillory explains why he called Rep. Ted James a Chihuahua, hung up on radio interview

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas

State Sen. Elbert Guillory called a legislative colleague a Chihuahua and hung up in the middle of an interview on The Jim Engster Show when challenged about his views. Continue reading →