Paul Braun

Paul Braun is WRKF's Capitol Access reporter.

Louisianans have a love-hate relationship with water.

Our state's waterways are the source of so much of our culture and commerce. But as rainfall increases and storms intensify, once historic flooding events are becoming commonplace. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards has officially chosen the new secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health following the departure of Rebekah Gee, the former head of the state’s largest government agency.

First responders have extinguished a fire inside ExxonMobil’s sprawling Baton Rouge refinery complex that caused concern among area residents and bathed the night sky in an orange glow that was visible for miles.

Last week, Governor John Bel Edwards debuted his $32 billion dollar budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. Unsurprisingly, the second-term governor’s plan highlighted new investments in education. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards debuted a $32 billion state budget proposal Friday, but ongoing disputes between the administration and Republican lawmakers over how much money the state has to spend looms large over the start of this year’s negotiations.

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A Louisiana refinery is one of 10 across the country that is releasing excessive levels benzene into nearby communities, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and other environmental groups.

Paul Braun/WRKF

Governor John Bel Edwards and top Republican lawmakers will start the 2020 legislative session locked in a familiar standoff.

On Friday, the Revenue Estimating Conference, or REC, couldn't agree to update the state's official revenue projections. That means the governor's executive budget would have to be based on last year's estimate — about $100 million less than economists expect the state to have in the coming fiscal year.

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The New Orleans Saints are facing increased scrutiny for their alleged coordination with the Archdiocese of New Orleans after recent court filings said team executives helped the Church with damage control surrounding accusations of clergy sexual abuse.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that lawyers for the Saints were attempting to conceal hundreds of emails between the team and Archdiocese from public view.

Tort reform, was a huge issue in last year's elections, and is a key policy goal Republicans now that they have strengthened their majorities in the Louisiana Legislature. 

The GOP pitches tort reform as a silver bullet to reduce Louisiana's car insurance rates-- the second highest in the nation. Critics say it wouldn't.

The debate is playing out as a political tug-of-war between trial lawyers and the business lobby, two of the state's most influential special interests.

Last week, the 72nd Louisiana Legislature convened for the first time, electing new leaders in a brief organizational session.

After months of backroom negotiations, they settled on Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, for Speaker of the House and Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, as Senate President.

Both positions were hotly contested behind closed doors, but things boiled over in the Speaker's race.

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