Author

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 NOLA.com | 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 local pet projects map

Most of Louisiana’s ‘pet projects’ go to parishes of lawmakers who wrote budget

By: - October 28, 2020

Lighthouse repairs in Madisonville. A new generator for a water tower in Iota. Economic development in downtown Houma. Crime cameras in New Orleans. Fire hydrants in Assumption Parish. HVAC equipment for the Washington Parish jail. Town hall repairs in Maurice.  Those are a few of the 118 local pet projects lawmakers voted to spend $25.2 […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Governor vetoes bill to give legislators power over COVID-19 restrictions

By: - October 27, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed legislation Tuesday that gives legislators the power to rescind COVID-19 restrictions and weakens his authority over emergencies overall.  “I have said repeatedly that an emergency cannot be managed by committee and that is exactly what this bill would allow,” wrote the governor in his veto explanation to the legislature. Edwards […]

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana House GOP move to throw out COVID restrictions — for a week

By: - October 26, 2020

This story has been updated to include House Republicans’ threat of a lawsuit and a statement from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Louisiana House Republicans have collected enough signatures for a petition to direct Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, to remove all of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions for seven days, though they aren’t certain […]

Louisiana bill meant to prevent ‘Defund the Police’ efforts dies in the Louisiana Senate

By: - October 24, 2020

The Louisiana Senate killed a bill meant to prevent local governments from “defunding the police” by not taking it up for a vote before the legislature ended its special session Friday. Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, stymied the proposal by conducting a short, 20-minute filibuster. “Sen. Luneau: Are you going to have the floor — are […]

Senate committee waters down bill to preempt ‘Defund the Police’ Efforts

By: - October 21, 2020

A Senate committee significantly watered down legislation that would make it harder for municipalities to “defund the police” in their communities.  The bill allows the legislature’s joint budget committee to withhold construction dollars and other funding from local governments who substantially cut their law enforcement budgets. The original proposal, sponsored by Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, […]

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 […]