85 percent of Louisiana’s population in recovery from natural disasters

By Caitie Burkes and Sarah Gamard

Here’s a sobering statistic: 85 percent of Louisiana’s population, in 56 out of 64 parishes, is in recovery of some sort from natural disasters since March. That was part of the data poured out Thursday (Feb. 23) to the state Senate Select Committee on Women and Children.

Representatives from the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, the Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy and the Office of the Attorney General testified. All presenters, many who work directly with mental health, domestic abuse and housing issues for families affected by these disasters, stressed the need for money to provide emotional support in Louisiana’s affected communities.

Read the story in NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune


In Louisiana’s $27 billion budget, what’s a $293 cut?

Louisiana state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, watching Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, move a resolution through the Finance Committee on Feb. 14, 2017, complained that broad-brush approaches to cutting spending do not shrink government or make it more efficient. Photo by Sarah Gamard.

By Sarah Gamard

Budget reductions large and small hit a number of state agencies during the Louisiana Legislature’s nine-day special session that ended Wednesday (Feb. 22). Lawmakers erased the $304 million midyear deficit, in a $27 billion annual operating budget, by having some offices “contribute” millions of dollars to the cause.

Most of the cuts were accompanied by the grinding of clenched teeth. Then there was the $293 cut to the Department of Transportation and Development’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Fund.

Read the story at NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune


State rep. wants to make recalls easier

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler speaks with aides following the House and Government Affairs Committee meeting Monday. Photo by William Taylor Potter.

By William Taylor Porter

BATON ROUGE — After witnessing a “charged public” fail to trigger a recall election in St. Tammany Parish, Paul Hollis wants to make it easier for recall petitions to succeed in Louisiana’s more populated voting districts.

And he is in a position to do something about it.

Read the story in The Advertiser