"We've heard everything from 18,000 people laid off, to we can balance it without laying off people, to 20,000 [laid off]," says Sen. Don Cravins. "I don't think anybody truly has a real grip on that right now. I can tell you, with absolute confidence, that we don't need to cut any more state employees, other than those who have come out of the affected areas and where they're no longer needed."
Gov. Kathleen Blanco called for legislators to come together to tackle the current crisis, adding, "Some of you will consider these cuts too painful, and you will try to avoid them. Let me warn you ' this is just the beginning." Despite Blanco's call for unity, Cravins says there's been more contention than consensus. "In my 14 years, this is the worst I've seen it," he says. "It's the worst division I've ever seen because it's factionalized in several areas. I'm not saying that it may not come together, but it's not going to be easy."
Earlier this month, about 4,000 state employees were dropped from the state payroll, most of which had been with LSU's hospitals and medical schools that were devastated in New Orleans. As of press time, Anne Soileau, acting civil service director, says that only two state agencies had submitted plans for layoffs.
Greg Albrecht, chief economist for the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office, says that more state job cuts are likely. "Only because the magnitude of the cuts being contemplated are so large, I don't see how you can do it without some kind of layoffs," he says. "However, I've been listening to the cut proposals coming from the departments so far, and the first round they're attempting to cut without large numbers of body layoffs. If they have vacancies, those are going. Student workers, those are going. Temporary people, those are going. They're trying to avoid or minimize reductions of filled positions of people that are on board and that have been there. If we're ever going to come back, you kind of need those people around.
"But realistically, to cut the entire billion or so dollars out," he adds, "I don't see how you can do it without some meaningful layoff reductions in the workforce."
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand: