Senate

Jay Curtis / KEDM

Senate candidates visited the University of Louisiana Monroe on Thursday night for the first of three KEDM political forums.  Jim Fannin, Jay Morris, and Matt Parker spoke with forum moderator Cory Crowe.

The forums are an opportunity for residents, business and community leaders to learn more about the candidates. Forums are broadcast live on 90.3 KEDM Public Radio, KEDM.org and Facebook Live; and archived at KEDM.org. 

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United States Senator John Kennedy is asking President Trump to put even higher tariffs on Chinese crawfish and shrimp. In a letter to the White House, Kennedy accused the Chinese of not trading fairly with the U-S.

 

Earlier this month, President Trump instructed the United States Trade Representative to consider whether 100-billion dollars in additional tariffs would be appropriate. Kennedy says he’s asked the Trump administration to give full consideration to the inclusion of Chinese crawfish and shrimp.

 

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A bill that would allow riverboat casinos to expand onto land is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate today, after being pulled from consideration last week. The bill would remove restrictions for Louisiana’s 15 floating gambling halls. Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty says more profitable casinos means more revenue for the state.

 

Duty says, "Having these boats on the water does not necessarily lend itself to a good revenue base for the state and also for predictable jobs."

 

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A Senate committee approves legislation that would prohibit abortions in Louisiana after 15 weeks from conception, but there are concerns the legislation could bring upon unintended consequences. Kaplan Senator Jonathan Perry urged the bill’s author to work on the language of the bill with an attorney, before bringing it up to the Senate floor.

 

Perry says that the bill is unclear "to the point that it can hurt."

 

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A bill by New Orleans Senator Troy Carter to ban the sale of assault rifles to people under 21 was killed on the Senate floor. The 9 to 26 vote ends that anti-gun legislation for the rest of the session. Baton Rouge area Senator Bodie White says the bill is not strong enough to stop the bad guys.

 

White says, "I don't know that this bill fixes that. How do you fix that person that is delusional and thinks about killing people and killing children?"

 

White compared the domestic killers to terrorists.

 

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A bill to allow the state’s 15 licensed riverboats casinos to expand their gaming operations on to land and change the rules regarding gaming space has been sitting on the Senate floor for over two weeks, but a vote in the upper chamber could happen today. Senator Troy Carter says many senators are concerned about the numerous pieces of legislation that seek to expand gambling.

 

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The full Senate could hear arguments today on a bill that would strip local jurisdictions of the ability to mandate real estate developers set aside a certain portion of their housing as lower rent. Metairie Senator Dan Martiny, the bill’s sponsor, says affordable housing initiatives should be voluntary, not mandatory.

 

Martiny says, "If the city's going to give that incentive, that's fine. But we don't want the cities to mandate to the developers that they have to include the low income unit." 

 

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A bill requiring the motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public schools passed the Senate Education Committee. The legislation by Baton Rouge Senator Regina Barrow mirrors efforts in several other southern states to have the motto displayed prominently in public schools. Barrow says young people are suffering from a lack of proper values.

 

Barrow says the legislation was inspired by a meeting with the governor, where the talk turned to how to best prepare children for the adult world.

 

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Shreveport Senator John Milkovich’s legislation that would give teachers more freedom to decide how to handle bullies in public schools passed through the Senate Education Committee. The bill gives teachers a wide leniency to “take all steps deemed necessary” to stop bullying, including involving the police, and personally restraining offending students. Milkovich says it would cut down on the red tape involved in stopping bullies.

 

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House and Senate committees are meeting today to discuss legislation that if adopted would trigger a constitutional convention. Much of the interest is due to the state’s current budgetary law that restricts cuts to only higher ed and health care when faced with a budget deficit. Senator Troy Carter, who has proposed his own bill to tackle the issue, says it’s time to bring our government into 2018.

 

Carter says, "In order for us to enjoy reform, we have to go back and look back at our practices and bring them in line with the 21st century."

 

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