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Attorney General Jeff Landry’s plan to protect health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions advanced out of a Senate committee Wednesday, while a similar effort backed by Governor John Bel Edwards failed in a House committee.

While the Affordable Care Act faces a challenge in federal court, Louisiana’s Governor and Attorney General are offering competing bills to protect coverage of pre-existing conditions in the state.

But on Wednesday, it became clear to lawmakers like Senator Jay Luneau (D-Alexandria) that without help from the federal government, the state can’t afford to do that.

A bill to legalize betting on professional and college sports in Louisiana casinos started advancing in the Senate Tuesday.

“It’s not a big money maker, but if we don’t do it, it puts us at a distinct disadvantage,” Senator Danny Martiny (R-Metairie) told members of a Senate judiciary committee.

BATON ROUGE-- The House Ways and Means Committee discussed a trio of bills Monday and Tuesday that would give the city of New Orleans more control over local revenue to address its growing infrastructure concerns.

The public discussion came as New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Administration and leaders of the city’s hospitality industry have been unable to reach an agreement on how to pay for repairs to the city’s infrastructure.

Louisiana lawmakers managed to avoid a steep drop in state revenue last year by passing a partial extension of a temporary hike in sales tax. But even with the fiscal cliff behind them, legislators are anticipating another budget battle this session. 

For the first time in a decade, the Louisiana Legislature will take up an across-the-board pay raise for teachers and support staff in Louisiana’s public schools. 

The Louisiana Board of Ethics voted on Friday to allow political candidates to use campaign funds to pay for certain child care expenses. Some say the decision breaks down a barrier that working parents, especially women, face getting on the ballot.

Governor John Bel Edwards now has two Republican challengers in the 2019 gubernatorial campaign.

Congressman Ralph Abraham became the second Republican to announce his candidacy for the job. Abraham’s formal campaign won’t launch until the beginning of the year, but in a brief statement Thursday, the Congressman said “I’m running for Governor and I intend to win.”

Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana’s casinos and gaming laws got a lot of attention from the Legislature this year. Lawmakers approved a bill to let riverboat casinos move onto land, but a bill that could have paved the way for legal sports betting in the state failed to gain traction. 

Wallis Watkins

Soybeans are a $700-million dollar industry in Louisiana.  It’s the second largest row crop industry, just behind sugar cane. So when China imposed a tax on imported soybeans, it put a financial strain on farmers across the state. 

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