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.

Speaker gives Louisiana House day off while asking judge for more redistricting time

Louisiana House Speaker gives lawmakers who voted with him plum committee assignments

By: - May 2, 2022

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, has given two political independents desirable committee assignments after they sided with him in a March standoff with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards over a veto of Louisiana’s congressional map. Schexnayder appointed Rep. Joe Marino of Gretna chairman of the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice last week. […]

Catholic Church interior abuse victims

A Louisiana law was supposed to make it easier for abuse victims to sue. It needs fixing.

By: - April 26, 2022

The Louisiana Legislature is considering a bill aimed at fixing a law created last year that was supposed to make it easier for abuse to sue institutions like the Catholic Church. Instead, it might have imposed unintended restrictions on the very litigation it was designed to help. 

abortion rights

Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly votes for abortion pill restrictions

By: - April 25, 2022

The Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly approved more restrictions on abortion pills in a 33-2 vote Monday (April 25). Every Republican and eight out of 10 Democrats in the chamber supported the legislation carried by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell. No senator spoke out against the restrictions on the Senate floor before the vote took place.  Senate Bill […]

Bob Dean warehouse

Louisiana House votes to give health department authority over nursing home evacuation plans

By: - April 25, 2022

The Louisiana House voted 101-0 Monday (April 25) to give the Louisiana Department of Health oversight over nursing home emergency preparedness plans in the wake of the horrific evacuation of nearly 850 nursing home residents to an old pesticide warehouse for Hurricane Ida. The Senate will now take up the proposal. House Bill 291, by […]

Louisiana House of Representatives

Proposed Louisiana budget includes at least $650 million with no specific purpose

By: - April 23, 2022

The Louisiana House moved a budget package Thursday that gives K-12 public teachers and university faculty members pay raises. It also leaves hundreds of millions of public dollars with no specific spending purpose.

Rape survivors in Louisiana closer to gaining access to their written medical records

By: - April 21, 2022

With no opposition, committees in the Louisiana Legislature moved forward two bills Wednesday that would guarantee sexual assault survivors access to their written medical records. The House Judiciary Committee advanced House Bill 313 from Rep. Thomas Pressly, R-Shreveport, which guarantees victims access to their written forensic medical exam report at no cost. The bill also […]

Nursing Home Scandal

Edwards administration scraps proposal for secret nursing home reports

By: - April 21, 2022

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has pulled a proposal that would require nursing homes to submit reports on their emergency responses to natural disasters after it faced criticism for suggesting a secretive review process.  The Edwards administration had initially recommended those nursing home “after-event” reports be shielded from public release, but it dropped the obligation […]

Auto insurance rates climb despite Louisiana’s new tort reform law

Louisiana lawmakers initial budget plan leaves Mississippi River bridge funding up in the air

By: - April 18, 2022

The Louisiana Legislature’s Republican leadership on Monday unveiled its tentative $44 billion budget plan outlining how it intends to spend the unprecedented amount of money available to the state, though a high-profile section of the proposal was left unfinished.

Louisiana’s high fees, cumbersome process for expungement could be curbed

By: - April 15, 2022

Louisiana legislators are considering automating a large portion of the state’s criminal record expungement system again. It’s a move that could allow thousands to scuttle old arrests and convictions that proponents of the change say prevent them from getting better-paying jobs.  The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice on Wednesday forwarded House Bill […]

Bob Dean warehouse

Louisiana lawmakers look to assign responsibility for nursing home evacuation plans

By: - April 14, 2022

Louisiana edged closer Tuesday to assigning responsibility for nursing home emergency plans to a specific state agency and closing a regulatory loophole that may have contributed to the horrific evacuation of over 800 nursing home residents to an old pesticide warehouse last year. The House Health and Welfare Committee moved forward House Bill 291 to […]

Louisiana lawmakers consider more restrictions for abortion pill

By: - April 12, 2022

Senate Bill 388, sponsored by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, is part of a national anti-abortion push to prohibit medical staff from prescribing abortion pills online or over the phone and then sending the pills through the mail.

Nursing Home Scandal

Private reports from Louisiana nursing homes would allow industry to be ‘candid,’ official says

By: - April 12, 2022

Louisiana officials are pushing a secretive process for nursing home evacuation reviews because they believe the process will allow the facilities to be frank with the state about how their emergency plans fare in the face of natural disasters.  “The after-event reports are recommended as exempt from public records law to ensure that facilities are […]