a fence topped with barbed wire

Criminal justice reforms didn’t cause Louisiana’s crime spike, study says

BY: - December 9, 2022

Louisiana’s recent criminal justice reforms, which significantly reduced prison populations, are not the cause of the recent spike in violent crime, according to a new report from the Pelican Institute. The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a right-leaning organization, released a report Wednesday that analyzes crime numbers and incarceration rates in an effort to inform […]

prison corridor

Chronically understaffed Texas prisons set stage for escape, family massacre

BY: - December 9, 2022

Seven months after Texas saw one of the nation’s deadliest prison escapes, investigations into what went wrong have come back to one factor: The state’s lockups are dangerously short-staffed. On May 12, convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez was on a prison transport bus in central Texas when he managed to escape his handcuffs, cut into the […]

Dillard University

Louisiana Higher Ed: Dillard set for first graduate program, LSU honors Black trailblazers 

BY: - December 9, 2022

The Louisiana Illuminator takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state. Have a tip or want to submit a Louisiana Higher Ed news item? Contact [email protected] Dillard to offer first graduate programs  Dillard University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer […]

Kyrsten Sinema

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent

BY: and - December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced Friday she is leaving the Democratic Party and has registered as an independent. The first-term senator wrote in an opinion piece for the Arizona Republic that she does not intend to change the way she legislates or casts votes, but plans to be “an independent voice […]

two men holding hands with an American flag in the background

Marriage equality bill heads to Biden’s desk following bipartisan U.S. House vote

BY: - December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill Thursday that would ensure same-sex and interracial couples continue holding many of the rights they have now, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the cases that established those constitutional protections.   The measure now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden, who plans to […]

Anti-censorship group in St. Tammany seeks to join frontlines in library battles

BY: and - December 8, 2022

To uproarious applause from a crowded auditorium full of St. Tammany Parish Republicans, local activist and attorney David Cougle decried pedophilic material in libraries, likening children’s books to the experience of walking down Bourbon Street at night.  Cougle spoke to the local Republican Executive Committee meeting as a representative of the St. Tammany Library Accountability […]

marijuana buds in a prescription bottle

Louisiana medical board’s marijuana stance prompts threats from senators

BY: - December 8, 2022

A Louisiana Senate panel on Wednesday accused the state medical board of exploiting nuances in state law to obstruct patient access to medical marijuana as part of an agenda that dismisses the drug’s value to medicine. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee called on the attorney for the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) to testify […]

marijuana bud trimmer

Attempt to help states ease banking for marijuana businesses stumbles in Congress

BY: - December 7, 2022

The annual Defense Department policy bill members of Congress released late Tuesday did not include measures to loosen federal marijuana restrictions, to the disappointment of advocates. That leaves few avenues to pass marijuana measures seen as boons to states where the drug is legal before Congress adjourns for the year. As one of the last […]

Mona Hardin

ACLU, DOJ turn to the public in probe of Louisiana State Police abuses

BY: - December 7, 2022

NEW ORLEANS – In the summer of 2017, Zachary Terrell was exhausted from a long day of work and ready to have a few drinks with friends in the French Quarter. Then Louisiana State Police troopers changed his life forever. Terrell, a Black man, and his friend, “a white male,” according to court records, were […]

Protestors outside the U.S. Supreme Court

Future of U.S. election law at stake as Supreme Court hears North Carolina case

BY: and - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — North Carolina Republicans appeared to have at least three of the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative justices on their side Wednesday in a case that could determine the future of elections nationwide, and leave decisions about federal elections in the hands of state legislatures and beyond the reach of state courts.  The Supreme Court […]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan

‘Worth the wait’: U.S. Senate Democrats celebrate a 51-seat majority with Georgia win

BY: - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer jubilantly announced Wednesday that the Georgia runoff election victory will next year end an evenly divided U.S. Senate, giving Democrats more subpoena power in committees and a quicker turnaround in approving federal and judicial appointments. Schumer, a New York Democrat, congratulated Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock for […]

A United States Marine prepares to receive the Moderna coronavirus vaccine

Congress on track to scrap Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in defense bill

BY: - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. military would no longer be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine under a proposal Congress could pass as soon as this week.  The provision eliminating the vaccine mandate is tucked into the massive National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill that Congress has passed each year for […]