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Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders take top spots in New Hampshire primaries Tuesday

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Doral, Fla. An overwhelming majority of Republican voters believe Donald Trump would be the GOPs strongest candidate in a general election, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights a sharp contrast between the partys voters and its top operatives regarding the billionaire businessmans ultimate political strength. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders swept to victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primaries, adding crucial credibility to their upstart candidacies and underscoring voters' insistence on shaking up American politics. Trump and Sanders entered Tuesday's contest as favorites in New Hampshire, but needed to deliver on expectations after second-place finishes in Iowa's leadoff caucuses. Trump appealed… Continue reading →

Boustany lists his Senate credentials to Press Club

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate Monday, December 14, 2015, at his family home in Lafayette, La.

Republican Congressman Charles Boustany said Monday he has the proven track record as a conservative that Louisiana voters are looking for in their next U.S. senator, to take on challenges like repealing the Affordable Care Act and growing the economy. Boustany, a cardiovascular surgeon from Lafayette who is in his sixth term as a GOP U.S.… Continue reading →

Scrutiny raised on outside voter registration groups

Louisiana residents have several options for registering to vote. They can fill out a form on the secretary of state’s website; sign up when they get their driver’s licenses or renew their car tags; mail in registration cards; or sign up in person at local libraries, schools and public assistance agencies, among other outlets. But a task… Continue reading →

Louisiana delegation responds to Obama’s oil tax proposal

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wants oil companies to pay a $10 fee for every barrel of oil to help fund investments in clean transportation that fight climate change. Republican members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation condemned the plan. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, swiftly deemed Obama’s proposal as “dead on arrival.” “The… Continue reading →

Governor keeps juvenile justice, financial agency leaders

Gov. John Bel Edwards is keeping his predecessor’s picks to lead Louisiana’s juvenile corrections office and the state’s financial regulatory agency. The governor announced Wednesday he is reappointing Mary Livers as deputy secretary for the Office of Juvenile Justice and John Ducrest as commissioner of the Office of Financial Institutions. Livers was appointed to the position… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards to builders union, 'I never once — not one time — tried to distance myself from labor'

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- As Louisiana Building and Trades Council president Robert "Tiger" Hammond, left, watches, Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, makes a point while speaking at the Louisiana State Building Construction Trades Council Annual Convention.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is openly embracing the labor groups that helped elect him last fall, vowing to them that he won’t turn his back now that he’s in office. “I never once — not one time — tried to distance myself from labor while I was running for governor in this state that is supposed to… Continue reading →

Voter registration deadline is today for presidential primary

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Katie Bell, 23, changes her voter registration from Ouachita Parish to East Baton Rouge Parish at the Registrar of Voters Office in City Hall Tuesday as clerk Pat Fugler assists. Bell said she will be voting for the first time in the upcoming elections. The deadline for registering or changing party affiliation is Wednesday at 4:30pm. Voters can do that at City Hall, the Coursey and Baker locations as well as online.

Louisiana voters who want to take part in the March 5 presidential primaries have through Wednesday to decide whether they will do so as Republicans or Democrats. The presidential preference primary is a rare closed election in Louisiana in which only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP primary and only registered Democrats will… Continue reading →

Records: Inside look at Bobby Jindal’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, its $1.4M price tag

Bobby Jindal

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal spent more than $1.4 million on his five-month campaign for president before ending 2015 with no money left in the bank but also no campaign debt, new records show. Jindal’s presidential campaign filed its termination documents with the Federal Elections Commission on Sunday — the FEC’s most recent financial disclosure deadline. Jindal, who… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards: $1.9B shortfall might get worse; 'I don't have a handle on how much worse'

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks during a press conference held to discuss budget options, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La.

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday said Louisiana’s $1.9 billion shortfall starting July 1 likely will get worse. Edwards said comments by officials of the Legislative Fiscal Office and others mean there is little reason to think the financial forecasts for state revenue will get better. “There are considerable reasons to believe the numbers get worse,”… Continue reading →

House committee assignments unveiled

Rep. Cameron Henry Jr., R-Metairie

Republican Rep. Cameron Henry was one of two New Orleans-area representatives named Thursday evening to lead the Louisiana Legislature’s powerful money committees that will decide how the state’s deficit-ridden budget will be balanced. Henry, of Metairie, was expected to be named to the House Appropriations Committee. He had run for speaker, then helped Taylor Barras win. Henry… Continue reading →

Kennedy: Budget solutions possible without tax hikes

State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate John Kennedy said Wednesday the state can address its immediate, $750 million shortfall without raising taxes. “The problem is on the spending side,” Kennedy told the annual meeting of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana. “We need to get our costs under control,” he said. “Until we do, I… Continue reading →

John Bel Edwards, Jeff Landry agree lawyer contracts will fall to AG’s office, rather than administration

Louisiana has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending anti-abortion efforts led by former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. New Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have now agreed those cases will fall under the purview of the Attorney General’s Office, rather than handled as private contracts under the Department of Health and Hospitals.… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards says reducing prison population a priority in 2017 session

Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to present a comprehensive legislative package for the Legislature’s 2017 session to reduce the state’s prison population. “We can substantially reduce the incarceration rate here while improving public safety,” he told a group of corrections leaders meeting in New Orleans on Tuesday. “I believe we have a lot of work to do.”… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards keeps Bobby Jindal-era salaries he criticized as ‘exorbitant’

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a news conference held to discuss budget options, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at the State Capitol.

When he was a candidate, John Bel Edwards said Louisiana’s Cabinet secretaries were paid too much by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, calling the salaries “exorbitant.” But since he moved into the Governor’s Office, Edwards has kept most of those salaries in place and boosted them further in some instances. Edwards is paying the leaders of two executive branch… Continue reading →

State Treasurer John Kennedy announces run for U.S. Senate in 2016, says 'I want my country back'

Treasurer John Kennedy

John Kennedy, Louisiana’s well-known and popular state treasurer, on Tuesday became the latest Republican to enter the U.S. Senate race, playing up his outsider status and saying, “I want my country back.” Kennedy, a statewide elected official for 16 years, announced his campaign in a statement noting as a point of pride that he’s often been at… Continue reading →

New governor hasn’t made decisions on Jindal-era lawsuits

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal became embroiled in three high-profile lawsuits involving issues targeted by conservatives during his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination: Planned Parenthood, Common Core and same-sex marriage. His Democratic successor, Gov. John Bel Edwards, however, appears to be in no rush to wade into the controversies. The Jindal administration lost the first… Continue reading →

State ends use of hotel booking service, citing meager savings, harm to Louisiana travel industry

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Incoming Commissioner of the Division of Administration Jay Dardenne discusses the current budget crisis in Louisiana during a press conference Wednesday.

Louisiana state agencies will no longer be required to use a Web-based, out-of-state company to book hotel reservations. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne announced Monday that he has ended the mandatory use of HotelPlanner.com because it has not yielded the savings promised under former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and has hurt the state’s travel industry.… Continue reading →

Donald Trump blames ex-Louisiana state rep., longtime Bobby Jindal ally for 'Two Corinthians’ gaffe

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drew a few snickers this week when he made a reference to “Two Corinthians” in the Bible, instead of the more commonly stated “Second Corinthians.” But now the reality TV star says that former Louisiana state Rep. Tony Perkins is to blame for the gaffe. Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon that Perkins,… Continue reading →

Southern University working to fill 3 chancellor posts

The Southern University system is working to fill three chancellor openings. Six semifinalists have been named in the search for a new Southern University at Shreveport chancellor, and search committees are working to find potential new leaders for Southern University’s Law Center and Agriculture Center. Southern University President and Chancellor Ray Belton previously served as chancellor… Continue reading →

Gov. John Bel Edwards in DC for Mardi Gras, events

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is in Washington, D.C., through the end of the week for meetings with federal officials and festivities related to the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians’ annual Mardi Gras celebration in the nation’s capital. Continue reading →

Louisiana has the nation’s lowest cost of smoking

Cigarettes can cost smokers a lot, but the price may be less in Louisiana than it is in other states. Aside from the obvious health risks, WalletHub, a personal finance website, has calculated the true financial cost of smoking by state and found the habit costs Louisiana smokers an average of $1.2 million over their lifetimes.… Continue reading →

Republicans criticize waiver of food stamp work requirements

Republicans on Thursday criticized Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to waive work requirements for thousands of food stamp recipients, saying the assistance program should only be a short-term safety net. Edwards won approval to sidestep a federal requirement that childless adults aged 18 to 49 have to work at least 20 hours per week or be… Continue reading →

Single-lane interstate? Obama gets peek at what many Baton Rouge drivers see daily, vows to help

President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall styled event at McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, La., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Riding in from the airport, President Barack Obama passed by the part of Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge that squeezes down to one lane and promised to help find the money to expand the section, Gov. John Bel Edwards told a gathering of businessmen on Thursday. The bottleneck had to be pointed out to the president because… Continue reading →

Obama entertains playful Baton Rouge crowd of 1,000 at McKinley -- then stops at Poor Boy Lloyd's

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --President Barack Obama smiles at happy spectators as he exits the room after a town hall meeting at McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. ORG XMIT: LABAT101

President Barack Obama couldn’t leave Baton Rouge without grabbing a po-boy. So Obama, who picked Louisiana’s capital as the location for his second major appearance following this week’s State of the Union address, gave a bit of a surprise to the dozen or so people eating lunch at Poor Boy Lloyd’s when he arrived in… Continue reading →