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.

Tax reform would reduce tax rates and enact tax cut triggers

Louisiana Legislature’s veto override session: 6 things to know

By: - July 19, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature will hold a session to override the governor’s vetoes for the first time in the state’s modern history. It’s set to start Tuesday and must end by Saturday at midnight, though lawmakers could vote to adjourn early. Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed 28 bills and several lawmakers’ pet construction projects from three […]


Louisiana’s prison system allowing in-person visits with attorneys again

By: - July 16, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections has started to allow attorneys back into state prisons for in-person visits with incarcerated clients. “Our institutions are encouraging Zoom meetings for visits. If necessary, they will allow non-contact visits for attorneys,” wrote Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the prison system, in an email earlier this month. Attorneys […]

Louisiana prison system’s COVID-19 reimbursements are questionable, audit says

By: - July 13, 2021

Auto repairs. Horse feed. Chair reupholstery.  Those are some of the services the Department of Public Safety and Corrections had reimbursed through the Coronavirus Relief Fund set up to deal with the public health crisis. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor questioned whether the state should have used federal pandemic relief funding to pay for them in […]

Abortion pill

Louisiana has three new abortion laws: Here’s what they do

By: - July 6, 2021

Louisiana has three new laws aimed at restricting and deterring abortion. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who opposes abortion, announced last week he signed the measures. Here’s a rundown of what they do: Medical professionals will be required to suggest ‘abortion reversal’ may be possible  Act 483 — which will take effect Aug. 1 […]

LSU Student Union

LSU posted bad information about restraining orders on its website. Why did it take the university almost six weeks to change it?

By: - July 2, 2021

On April 19, about a month after LSU unveiled its new website on sexual assault and dating violence, Morgan Lamandre told the university about a problem with it. The guidance on how to seek a restraining order on the new website was wrong, she said. “A restraining order is a court order that prohibits someone […]

Republicans block 'Jim Crow jury' reform

How Louisiana prisons have handled COVID-19: 9 Things to Know

By: - June 29, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections has no information on whether nearly half the state’s prison population was screened for COVID-19 or has been offered a COVID-19 vaccine yet, according to a report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor released Monday.  Louisiana houses 46 percent of the people it imprisons — 13,051 people — […]

Tax reform would reduce tax rates and enact tax cut triggers

Louisiana Governor, Legislature remove PAC contribution limits for political campaigns

By: - June 28, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards approved a new law last week that will make it easier for special interest groups to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates running for office in Louisiana. The governor and state lawmakers removed the current caps on donations from political action committees over the objections of the Louisiana Board […]

Louisiana state workers, teachers will have access to weight-loss surgery

By: - June 28, 2021

Louisiana’s health insurance plans that cover state workers and public school teachers will now help pay for weight-loss surgeries that people had previously had to cover out of their own pockets. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law Senate Bill 150, sponsored by Sen. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge), to provide weight-loss surgery coverage to people […]

Governor vetoes bill that would've allowed concealed guns without a permit

Louisiana governor vetoes bill to allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit

By: and - June 25, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed legislation this week that would have allowed residents over the age of 21 to carry concealed guns without a permit and without training — a move that has heightened calls from Republican lawmakers for an unprecedented veto override session in July. “I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, […]

Pink tax bill passes Louisiana Legislature

Louisiana governor signs law to eliminate state sales tax on menstrual products, diapers

By: - June 24, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a new law Thursday that will eliminate the state sales tax from feminine hygiene products and diapers. The tax break will take effect July 1, 2022. The so-called “pink tax” removal, sponsored by Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, is expected to cost the state $11.1 million annually for the next […]


Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes ban on transgender women and girls in women’s sports

By: - June 22, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a ban on transgender women and girls participating in women and girls sporting events. The veto didn’t come as a surprise. The governor, a Democrat, had said in April that he intended to reject the legislation if it passed.  “As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana lawmakers rejected proposal to deter euthanasia of dogs from dog fights

By: - June 22, 2021

Louisiana lawmakers killed a bill during the legislative session that was intended to deter the euthanization of dogs seized at dog fights. Supporters of House Bill 231 pulled the proposal once it became clear it wouldn’t get through the Senate Agriculture, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee. Veterinarian associations opposed the legislation, though they didn’t explain […]