Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.

Clay Schexnayder

As Hurricane Delta bears down on Louisiana, debate over governor’s authority continues

By: - October 6, 2020

As Louisiana prepares for Hurricane Delta to make landfall later this week, the Louisiana Legislature is still pursuing measures to strip the governor of his authority to manage such disasters over the long term. Lawmakers continued to move proposals that would shift power over emergencies from the governor to the legislature Tuesday, though they have […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana House will consider anti-‘Defund the police’ bills

By: - October 5, 2020

The Louisiana House will consider two proposals aimed at making it more difficult for local governments and public higher education institutions to “defund the police” — a movement to shift government funding from law enforcement agencies to other services like mental health treatment, early childhood education and addiction programs.  State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandra, proposed […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana House backs proposals to undo COVID-19 restrictions

By: - October 2, 2020

The Louisiana House of Representatives made its intentions clear Friday when it passed seven bills that would limit the governor’s authority during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic — and one extra piece of legislation that could throw out all of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions until the end of November. None of the measures can go […]


Louisiana Lawmakers may undo law that helps ‘juvenile lifers’

By: - October 1, 2020

Louisiana legislators said they made a mistake earlier this year when they passed a new law making it easier for some people given lifetime prison sentences for crimes they committed as minors to be released. They are looking to undo the part of the new statute that just took effect in August and helps so-called […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana legislative leaders diverge on how much power they want over COVID-19 response

By: - September 30, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature’s two Republican leaders — Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder — have both said they want to curb the governor’s powers during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. But they have put forward radically different approaches toward doing so. Cortez, of Lafayette, is sponsoring legislation that keeps the governor squarely […]

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana Republicans want power during health emergencies, but haven’t agreed on how much

By: - September 29, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature’s Republican leadership came into their month-long special session this week in part to wrestle more control over the COVID-19 health crisis from the Democratic governor. But there isn’t consensus among them over how much of that power they actually want. Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, presented […]

Louisiana Lawmaker wants to make it more difficult to ‘Defund the Police’

By: - September 29, 2020

State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, has proposed legislation to withhold state construction dollars from higher education institutions and local governments who try to “defund the police”. If it became law, local governments and higher education institutions would be required to submit their law enforcement budgets to the Legislature’s joint budget committee by Nov. 30 each […]

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana legislators want ‘a seat at the table’ when it comes to COVID-19 response

By: - September 29, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature is looking for more of a say over the state’s emergency response as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on into its seventh month. Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol in Baton Rouge Monday evening (Sept. 28) for a special legislative session they organized without any input from Gov. John Bel Edwards.  House Speaker […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana governor, Legislature want to avoid unemployment program changes

By: - September 26, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s legislative leadership are looking for ways to avoid the consequences of draining the state’s unemployment trust fund, which is set to run out of money Oct. 5. Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, used a procedural vote to block official recognition of the unemployment […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana Legislature Calls Special Session Over COVID Restrictions, Unemployment

By: - September 21, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature has called itself into a special session to address Hurricane Laura recovery, COVID-19 policies and the rapidly-dwindling state unemployment trust fund, according to a press release sent out by its Republican leadership. Lawmakers will convene Monday, Sept. 28, and adjourn about a month later, on Oct. 27. More than half of the […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana’s unemployment benefits could drop from low to lowest

By: - September 21, 2020

Without drastic intervention, Louisiana will cut unemployment benefits in 2021 to the lowest payouts of anywhere in the country — a maximum of $221 per week, Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ave Dejoie said Friday. Louisiana businesses will also have to begin to pay more in taxes and surcharges to help keep those benefits flowing starting […]

Louisiana restaurants, casinos, bars get to sell alcohol for one more hour

By: - September 18, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards adjusted his Phase 3 emergency order Thursday to allow Louisiana restaurants, casinos and bars in certain geographic areas to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption for an extra hour — until 11 p.m. Under the original Phase 3 plan announced last week, those establishments had to stop selling alcohol for on-site drinking […]