Louisiana Legislature

The president of the government advocacy group Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin, will brief the Bossier Chamber of Commerce business community Thursday about topics that will be addressed during the legislative session that opens April 13.

The session boils down to two heated debates: budget and Common Core standards, according to Erwin. Lawmakers face a $1.6 billion budget gap in a system where health care and higher education bear the brunt of the revenue shortfall because the rest of the state budget is less malleable.

Kate Archer Kent

Flanked by supporters, Louisiana District 3 Rep. Barbara Norton of Shreveport explained her motivations yesterday for filing a bill that would require the state to sign on to an expansion of the Medicaid program and participate in the Affordable Care Act. Estimates are that up to 400,000 more Louisianans could be eligible for Medicaid next year and thereafter if the state chose to expand the program, with the federal government picking up most of the tab. Gov. Bobby Jindal has criticized such a move, calling Medicaid an inefficient and poorly managed program.

Airs Friday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m.  With over 83,000 employees, the State of Louisiana is the largest employer in the state. The retirement systems covering these current employees and former state workers have accumulated more than $18 billion in unfunded debt. Last year public employees’ pensions cost Louisiana taxpayers $1.78 billion. Governor Jindal has put forth several proposals this legislative session to transform the system to regain solvency. How will the changes affect current state employees and new hires? And can the system be revamped without breaking the promise to those who have provided years of public service?