Capitol Access

  • Hosted by Wallis Watkins

Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

Ways to Connect

Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham solidified themselves as the frontrunners of their respective parties Thursday night in the first gubernatorial debate of 2019.

Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman and self-described political outsider, dismissed Edwards and Abraham as “career politicians,” but struggled to provide detailed policy proposals of his own.

Voters will have the final say on four proposed constitutional amendments when they head to the polls next month.

While most voters' will be focused on the gubernatorial candidates at the top of their ballot, they know little about the constitutional amendments down below.

The Governor's race is heating up. As we approach the October 12 primary, the three major candidates vying to become the state's chief executive, and their supporters, have flooded the airwaves with their pitches to Louisiana voters.

And claims about the economy are front-and-center. 

With candidates referencing their own economic statistics and offering conflicting outlooks, it can be hard for voters to know what to think.

On this week's Capitol Access, Greg Albrecht, chief economist of Louisiana's Legislative Fiscal Office, provides some non-partisan context.

Louisiana’s higher education leaders recently boosted the goals of postsecondary education in the state. By 2030, they want 60% of Louisiana’s adults to have earned some sort of college degree or certificate.  To hit that target, the state’s colleges and universities will need to double the number of credentials awarded each year.

On this week's Capitol Access, Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, discusses what it will take to get there.

It’s been nearly a year since trade tensions between China and the U.S. began escalating. Since then, both countries have introduced several rounds of tariffs, hitting multiple industries in Louisiana.

On this week's Capitol Access, Greg Upton, an assistant research professor at LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, discusses the impact in Louisiana so far. 

Every seat in the Louisiana Legislature is up for election this October. A third of those races have already been decided, as candidates went unopposed.

The call to rewrite Louisiana’s constitution, adopted in 1974, has been growing over the last few years. But inside the Capitol, lawmakers haven’t been able to get enough support to approve a constitutional convention. The non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) of Louisiana published a report recently, calling the state's constitution one of the major issues in this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races.

A new law will take effect in August establishing a minimum age for marriage in Louisiana.

In order to get married, a person must be at least 16 years old — an age limit the state previously hasn’t had. Any 16 and 17-year-olds will have to have both parental and judicial consent and can’t marry anyone more than three years older.

On this week's Capitol Access, Morgan Lamandre, legal director with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), discusses the new law and how it moved through the Legislature.

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Trump announced plans to eliminate the spread of new HIV cases in the U.S. by 2030. The initiative will focus on 48 areas across the country seeing the majority of new HIV cases, including East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes.

The first round of funding was recently announced and sends $1.5 million to East Baton Rouge Parish.

On this week's Capitol Access, Dr. Alexander Billioux, Assistant Secretary of Louisiana's Office of Public Health, talks about what the investment could mean for HIV care in the state. 

As Hurricane Barry was developing in the Gulf of Mexico, so was the race for governor in Louisiana. In light of the storm, Governor John Bel Edwards officially postponed a campaign bus tour across the state. And one of his opponents, Republican congressman Ralph Abraham, followed suit, putting his campaign on pause. 

Pages