Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Medical marijuana in Louisiana could be ready by fall 2018

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 5:30 PM


Medical marijuana products could be available to Louisiana patients as early as September — 40 years after state lawmakers first approved marijuana for medical use.

Officials from Louisiana State University and Southern University — the stewards of the state crops to be processed into marijuana-based medicines — presented rough timelines and budgets to the joint House and Senate agriculture committee April 18, the same week the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy awarded competitive, potentially lucrative licenses to nine medical marijuana pharmacies that will cover the entire state.

These moves follow 2015 and 2016 legislation that tasked several statewide agencies with coming up with the rules for medical marijuana in Louisiana. Those laws followed a dead-end 1978 medical marijuana law that sat dormant on the books without any legal infrastructure to back it up.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Y@ Speak: media groups

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Some takes on Gambit and The Advocate, plus the Pelicans in the playoffs, bad weather, Sen. Kennedy, and an oil slick's surprise drop-in at French Quarter Fest.

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Survey: Louisiana residents trust local media — national media, not so much

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 4:28 PM


Louisiana residents are pretty satisfied with their local news sources, according to the last of six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey, an annual product of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication and the Reilly School for Media & Public Affairs.

However, that trust doesn't extend to the national media, according to the survey.

"Most Louisiana residents (56 percent) think that local news organizations are accurate in
their reporting, which is much higher than the share who think national news organizations generally get the facts straight (32 percent)," according to the survey's summary.

Other findings:

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Would a Louisiana constitutional convention change much?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 2:03 PM


Talk of holding a constitutional convention to address Louisiana’s structural deficit has gained momentum. The idea has merit on several fronts, but it’s also an admission that our state legislators are either unwilling or unable to do their jobs. And, ultimately, there’s a danger that not much would change.

That’s not to say it’s a bad idea or not worth the risk. The sad political reality is that most Louisiana lawmakers know perfectly well what needs to be done to stabilize our state’s revenue stream, change our budgeting process, and make state government more efficient. Unfortunately, most of them lack the political will to do it.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Louisiana House committee rejects comprehensive sex ed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 6:05 PM


Louisiana has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections among people age 15-24. The state also has the seventh highest rate of teen pregnancies. Public health advocates and officials have pointed to a gap between the state's lack of comprehensive sex education and disproportionately high rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancies among school-aged young people.

But repeated attempts to change state laws to incorporate those programs — or at least anonymously ask young people if they've engaged in the kinds of behavior that would produce those kinds of statistics — have failed.

On April 4, after pushback from conservative Christian lobbying groups, a pair of bills to support comprehensive sex ed died in the state House Committee on Education.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Louisiana Senate committee backs proposal to raise age for assault weapon purchases

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 1:40 PM

Students participating in the New Orleans March for Our Lives on March 24. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Students participating in the New Orleans March for Our Lives on March 24.

A bill to raise the age for purchasing assault weapons in Louisiana narrowly passed a state Senate committee April 3, after debate among legislators, gun rights advocates, teachers, students and law enforcement officials including New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison. It now heads to the full state Senate.

House Bill 274 would prevent people from under age 21 from purchasing so-called assault weapons, including guns with high-capacity magazines. It also would raise the penalties for unlawful sale to minors from $300 to $1,000.

Harrison argued the bill — introduced by state Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans — could decrease the number of so-called assault weapons used to commit mass shootings. Among the hundreds of murders and shootings in New Orleans since his became chief, Harrison said there hasn't been a single instance of someone using an assault weapon to defend themselves — but "a large percentage" of those shootings were committed by a person firing an assault weapon.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Y@ Speak: fooled

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 6:15 PM

We celebrate spring's arrival with the ceremonial traffic accidents involving municipal vehicles.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

$15 minimum wage rejected by Louisiana House committee

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 12:26 PM

A "Fight for $15" march in 2016 rallied on Canal Street. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • A "Fight for $15" march in 2016 rallied on Canal Street.

Ryan Jones earns $290 every two weeks from his job at Popeyes in New Orleans. The check is gone the day it arrives, after bills are paid and his family's needs supported. "I can't afford to buy myself lunch," he said March 29. "I work hard on an empty stomach."

Baton Rouge lawmakers sitting on the Louisiana House Labor and Industrial Committee heard several stories about the cost of full-time work earning minimum wages — from the impacts to children in poverty while parents earn a low wage to workers' reliance on public assistance while big business earns millions of dollars in profit.

A few days after the Louisiana Senate rejected a mere $1.25 increase in a statewide minimum hourly wage, state Rep. Joe Bouie, D-New Orleans, introduced his bill to bring it up to $15 in 2019 — the first-ever attempt in the Louisiana legislature for a $15 wage. The committee rejected the proposal, with only three representatives in support.

A second attempt to extend the state's equal pay protections to women who work for state contractors also failed in the committee, after a Senate version was voted down earlier this week.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Louisiana Supreme Court halts Gov. Edwards' order to protect LGBT workers from discrimination

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 5:47 PM

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. - PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has sided with Attorney General Jeff Landry in his challenge against Gov. John Bel Edwards' executive order to protect state government workers from discrimination against their gender or sexual orientation. The court's 4-3 decision to not take up Edwards' appeal of a lower court ruling.

In a statement, Edwards said while he accepts the ruling, he's disappointed in the decision, which rejects protections for state workers and people in services provided by state agencies from discrimination on the "basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age."

"That disappointment is only overshadowed by my frustration that the courts believe that discrimination is something we should tolerate in Louisiana," he said. "I, for one, do not think discrimination of any kind has a place in our society, much less the workplace. More importantly, Louisiana’s diversity is what makes it the greatest state in the union. Unfortunately, this puts us on the wrong side of history."

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Y@ Speak: Krewe of St. Chadrick's Day

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 4:55 PM

Your week in Twitter: Tom Benson, school walkouts, tourists and Airbnb.

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