Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.

Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors national summit at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on June 30, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Louisiana’s education chief to address extremist Moms for Liberty group

By: - July 19, 2023

Louisiana’s superintendent of education will speak to a local chapter of a national group a civil rights watchdog has identified as an extremist organization.  Cade Brumley, who oversees the state’s K-12 public schools, will be the featured speaker of the East Baton Rouge chapter of Moms for Liberty at its monthly meeting July 24. The […]

Protestors hold signs — such as "Trust, protest, love queer kids" — on the steps of the Louisiana Capitol

Louisiana Legislature overturns veto of ban on transgender youth health care 

By: - July 18, 2023

In a rare occurrence, the Louisiana Legislature has overridden a veto from Gov. John Bel Edwards, allowing a ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender youth to become law.  House Bill 648 by Rep. Gabe Firment, R-Pollock, was overridden in the House on a 75-23 vote and in the Senate on a 28-11 vote. The […]

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks to reporters on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Louisiana AG Jeff Landry wants info on out-of-state abortions, gender-affirming care 

By: - July 17, 2023

Louisiana’s Jeff Landry joined 17 other state attorneys general in signing a letter Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Finch sent last month to the Biden administration saying those states need access to information about residents who obtain abortions or gender-affirming care in other states.  The letter calls on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary […]

A man speaks at a podium

Diversity, equity and inclusion backlash baffles Southern University System president   

By: - July 17, 2023

Across the Southeast, state legislatures have passed bills to curb tenure and diversity, equity and inclusion, which has led to schools in those states having trouble hiring and retaining faculty.  Dennis Shields, president of the Southern University System, told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday he doesn’t understand the backlash to diversity, equity and inclusion […]

A map of Louisiana is overlaid over a handshake. The silhouettes of several people can be seen in the background.

Louisiana governor hopefuls want to make the state more business – and worker – friendly 

By: - July 14, 2023

After Louisiana was ranked as the second-to-worst state for business, candidates vying to be its next governor agree something must be done – but don’t always concur on just what the answer is.  Five of the top contenders for governor spoke with the Illuminator about their plans to lift Louisiana from the bottom of such […]

St. Tammany Library Board weighs policy changes in the wake of new law 

By: - July 13, 2023

The St. Tammany Parish Library Board is weighing how to best restructure library policy to deal with a crush of materials challenges under a new law that seeks to restrict minors’ access to material it defines as sexually explicit.  At a special board meeting Thursday, library officials discussed changes to their challenged materials process. St. […]

The Memorial Tower on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge

Many LSU graduate assistants denied promised wage hike despite state dollars set aside for it 

By: - July 12, 2023

LSU was given $8 million in the state budget on the promise it would raise its minimum pay for all Ph. D.-seeking graduate assistants to $23,000 per academic year — the highest among schools in the Southeastern Conference — but many qualified students aren’t seeing the benefits.  In  phone and email interviews, seven Ph. D.-seeking […]

John Bel Edwards

Louisiana creates new position for environmental resilience policy chief

By: - July 10, 2023

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed legislation to create a state chief resilience officer, a position that will coordinate policy response to environmental hazards.  The position was created by House Bill 526, which Rep. Jerome “Zee” Zeringue, R-Houma, authored. It will be housed in the office of the governor.  “This is an urgent need not […]

Cars sit parked near the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on March 20, 2023, on LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge.

LSU Maravich Assembly Center project won’t receive ‘problem’ $50 million appropriation 

By: - July 6, 2023

Because of an improper appropriation, LSU’s plans to upgrade the Pete Maravich Assembly Center will get started with significantly less funding than anticipated. But just how the inappropriate expense got in the state budget remains a mystery.  In a buzzer-beater addition to the state construction budget, approved June 8 in the final minutes of the […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaking at a press conference podium

Louisiana governor vetoes bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth 

By: - June 30, 2023

As promised, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has vetoed three anti-LGBTQ+ bills the state’s Republican-majority legislature approved.   In his veto messages, Edwards called out the bills as harmful for youth, discriminatory and extremist. “The effects of this bill may be to simply give legislative blessing for sanctioned bullying of LGBTQ children in schools […]

Senator Health Cloud speaks about a bill she introduced as Representative Julie Emerson and Attorney General Jeff Landry listen.

Louisiana governor signs bill restricting minors’ access to certain library materials 

By: - June 30, 2023

Although he previously called the measure unneeded, Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a controversial bill into law that seeks to restrict Louisiana minors’ access to material it defines as sexually explicit.  “I don’t think the bill is necessary,” Edwards, a Democrat, said earlier this month. “The biggest challenge we have with kids in libraries […]

The Memorial Tower on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge

Pay for Louisiana graduate assistants has not kept pace with inflation 

By: - June 29, 2023

In 1994, Jim Henderson was offered a graduate assistantship that came with a stipend the equivalent of almost $16,000 today. He turned it down.  Nearly 30 years later, Henderson is now president of the University of Louisiana System, where graduate assistants are sometimes paid as little as $10,000.  As the cost of living has steadily […]