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.

Louisiana Capitol Building

Legislature votes to give itself more power over emergencies such as COVID-19

By: - October 21, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature voted Tuesday to give itself more authority over state emergency orders and restrictions, including those that have been in place for months because of COVID-19.  The approved legislation could give lawmakers an opening to throw out Louisiana’s coronavirus rules, though Gov. John Bel Edwards may be able to block it from becoming […]

Louisiana families could receive a tax break for COVID-19 tutors

By: - October 19, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature is close to passing a tax break for families that hired tutors to help their students with virtual schooling supplied by a public or accredited private school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tutor would have to have been hired between March 13 and Dec. 31, 2020. The tax break […]

Louisiana likely to have sales tax holiday Nov. 20-21

By: - October 19, 2020

Louisiana is close to establishing a new sales tax holiday for Nov. 20-21 of this year — the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving.  If approved, the tax holiday will give patrons a sales tax break on purchases up to $2,500 during those two days.  The tax holiday does not apply to vehicle purchases or restaurant […]

House passes qualified immunity bill

Louisiana legislative leaders steer millions to their communities

By: - October 16, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly passed a budget bill Thursday (Oct. 15) that included more than $25 million in pet projects, many of which benefit the communities of the legislative leadership.  House and Senate members approved the bill after only having a few minutes with the final version, and their vote came less than 24 hours […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

New Orleans says it needs more money from Louisiana

By: - October 13, 2020

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wants the Louisiana Legislature to allocate more federal pandemic relief funding to her city, but her efforts seem like a long-shot at this point. The state has other  priorities and dwindling dollars. It also doesn’t help that Republicans, who hold a majority of the seats in the Legislature, are frustrated […]

Election Plan Kyle Ardoin

Appeal of Louisiana’s emergency election rules comes too late to change Nov. 3 rules

By: and - October 13, 2020

In a move that has the potential to confuse Louisiana residents who will start voting Friday for president, the U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry on Tuesday appealed a federal judge’s ruling that establishes the emergency rules for that election. However, the appeal will […]

Gov. Edwards will likely approve early end to unemployment supplement

Louisiana lawmakers push COVID-19 relief for businesses, but not workers

By: - October 13, 2020

Louisiana lawmakers approved several bills Monday (Oct. 12) that would provide relief to businesses in light of the state’s unprecedented, pandemic-related unemployment rate, but mostly left behind proposals that would benefit unemployed workers. The House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee rejected a bill that would have boosted the state’s unemployment benefits from a maximum of […]

Pastor could avoid criminal charges if resolution passes

Louisiana House will consider law to protect pastor who violated COVID-19 restrictions

By: - October 7, 2020

The Louisiana House will take up legislation that would protect a pastor who defied state regulations by holding church services during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 6-3 Wednesday (Oct. 7)  to send a bill aimed at clearing Pentecostal Pastor Tony Spell of charges he faces for […]

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 […]