John Bel Edwards

BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote an op-ed in the American Press highlighting the strength of Southwest Louisiana and the state's booming energy economy, as President Donald Trump travels to Cameron Parish. 

The op-ed is below: 

Shining a spotlight on Southwest Louisiana, and Our State’s Energy Sector
By Gov. John Bel Edwards

Religious leaders are trying to build support for ending Louisiana's use of the death penalty, a proposal that has repeatedly failed to gain the backing of state lawmakers.

Two dozen clergy representing Catholic and Protestant churches spoke Thursday on the Louisiana Capitol steps in favor of proposals by Republican Sen. Dan Claitor , of Baton Rouge, and Democratic Rep. Terry Landry , of New Iberia, to eliminate executions in the state.

A renewed effort to boost the minimum wage paid to Louisiana workers edged ahead Thursday in the Senate, with tougher hurdles to passage than prior wage hike bills that failed.

The proposal by New Orleans Sen. Troy Carter would set Louisiana's minimum wage at $9 per hour, up from the $7.25-per-hour federal level currently paid to workers in the state. The labor committee voted 5-1 to send the measure to the full Senate for debate.

Louisiana's legal smoking age would rise to 21 if lawmakers agree to a measure backed by the House health committee Wednesday.

Republican Rep. Frank Hoffmann of West Monroe, an ex-smoker who has repeatedly sought to toughen laws against tobacco use, said his latest proposed change would save lives and cut state health care costs. His bill would prohibit anyone under 21 years old from buying tobacco, alternative nicotine or vapor products.

After decades of planning, officials Wednesday finally began construction of a flood-control canal in Louisiana.

Planned after the devastating flood of 1983, the Comite River Diversion Canal would redirect high water from the Comite and several bayous in northern East Baton Rouge Parish into the Mississippi River during an emergency.

The crowdfunding campaign to raise money for three African American churches gutted by arson in Louisiana began a week ago, but donations surged after flames engulfed the roof of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and the outcry provoked a conversation about the disparate reactions to the tragedies.

Republicans bristling about the rising price tag of Louisiana's Medicaid program on Tuesday questioned whether the state health department was doing enough to respond to audits that found waste or misspending.

GOP lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee grilled health department officials during a budget hearing. They asked about audits from Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office that documented money spent on ineligible services and that suggested millions could have been spent on people who earned too much to receive the government-financed health insurance.

Lawmakers in the Louisiana House are opening their budget hearings amid a new round of partisan financial disputes.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Republican leaders are arguing over how much money Louisiana is collecting in taxes and whether to spend it all.

Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras has blocked economists' recommendations to increase the state income forecast and make more money available for next year's budget.

Edwards proposed a 2019-20 spending plan that assumes the money eventually will be recognized.

A new poll on the governor’s race shows John Bel Edwards at 44%, but Republican challenger Ralph Abraham not far behind at 33%. Abraham’s campaign funded the survey.  UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the poll also shows Abraham with a 23-point lead over fellow Republican candidate Eddie Rispone, who is at 10%.

Cross says Rispone has a tough job in gaining familiarity among voters, saying he’s got deep pockets but has not spent much on his campaign yet.

Abortions in Louisiana Hit 10-Year Low

Mar 14, 2019

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has released data showing that the number of abortions in Louisiana has fallen to a 10-year low. Since 2014, the number of abortions conducted in Louisiana has fallen by 20 percent. 

In 2018, 8,048 abortions were conducted in the state, the lowest since 2008. It represents a 20 percent drop from 2014, when 10,211 abortions were performed in Louisiana.