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Needle Exchange Programs Officially Authorized By State of Louisiana

Locally-run needle exchange programs were officially authorized by the state on June 3rd as Governor Edwards signed bill HB250 into law. The bill, sponsored by Representative Steven Plyant (R), declared that the state “shall not prohibit the establishment and implementation of a needle exchange program within the jurisdiction of a local governing authority.” While the law does not devote any specific funding from the state for local needle exchange programs, or provide any mandate that localities develop programs of their own, it is without question a big step towards the development of resources for harm reduction across Louisiana. 

Study Shows Most Louisiana Citizens Want Medicaid Expansion, Remain Divided on Obamacare

The Louisiana Legislature began its 2017 session at noon on Monday (4.10). Over the next 60 days, state lawmakers will consider a number of issues that affects its constituents, from reforms to the state budget and criminal justice system to the public’s needs and concerns for social healthcare. On Tuesday, results from the latest installment of the 2017 Louisiana Survey were released, revealing that the majority of the state’s residents favor the expansion of certain social healthcare programs but are divided about healthcare reforms like the Affordable Healthcare Act — findings that may impact the discussions during the next two months of legislative reforms. 

J.P. Morrell Wants Review of State's Campus Sex Assault Policies

After a nationwide report that showed many colleges and universities fail to investigate sexual assaults on campus, State Senator J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) is asking the Louisiana legislature to begin reviewing the state's policies. On Friday, Morrell requested the state's Board of Regents to gather data on rape and sex assasult reports within the state-run higher education system.

Letter: Lawmkers Shouldn't Have Special Gun Rights

SB 651 allows Louisiana Senators and Representatives to carry firearms in restricted areas. They can carry anywhere that law enforcement can except the State Capitol Building itself. The measure passed the state legislature this spring, but has yet to be signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. Today, Gun Rights Across America's Louisiana coordinator weighs in with an open letter to Jindal:

Voters to Weigh Proposals for Increased Taxes, Lower 9 Lot Sale

State lawmakers wrapped up this year's session in Baton Rouge this week, but the voting isn't over for New Orleanians. A pair of New Orleans-focused bills passed the legislature, but will require voters' approval to become law. One bill proposes raising taxes to provide money for New Orleans police and fire, while another would allow the City to sell vacant Lower 9th Ward lots for $100.

La. Legislature Votes to Move Up 2016 Presidential Primary

by Meg Barbor

The RLC and renewed Hillary chatter have minds turning to 2016 this week. Never to be left out of a political conversation, Louisiana is among those jockeying for primary position. The state House and Senate sent legislation to Governor Jindal which would enhance the Boot’s position on the 2016 presidential primary calendar. The bill passed the Senate and House with no opposition and will now head to Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk.

Bill to Kill Big Oil Suit Passes Legislature

A measure that would effectively kill a local levee board's massive lawsuit seeking money from Big Oil has cleared the Louisiana legislature. Late this week, the state House of Representatives and Senate each voted to send Sen. Bret Allain's bill to Gov. Bobby Jindal for signature.  

Anti-Abortion Bill Passes Committee, Pending Senate

The anti-abortion bill with the potential to close most of Louisiana’s abortion clinics was approved this afternoon by the Health and Welfare Committee. The law, authored by state representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), is called the “Unsafe Abortion Act,” and it requires abortion providers to gain admitting privileges to a hospital no more than 30 minutes from their location. 

La. Reps Turn Down Wine Ice Cream

A pair of companies want to add wine ice cream to the many alcoholic party treats found around the Bayou State, but the booze-infused dessert can't make it out of the House. On Monday, the state House of Representatives turned back a bill that would have allowed the product to be sold in Louisiana.

State Senate Panel to Weigh Medical Marijuana Bill

A bill that would clear the way for medical marijuana in Louisiana is set to be considered by the state Senate's Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. SB 541, offered by Sen. Fred Mills (R-New Iberia), would allow neurologists, oncologists, and ophthalmologists to prescribe therapeutic cannabis "for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition."

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