Today in The Rundown: Joe Biden wishes he could give the state more money for transportation; state Senate agrees to plug part of budget hole; social services brace for hit; and more.

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Today is the fifth day of the special session.
Days until the Louisiana presidential primary:15
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session: 24

The News

VP: Joe Biden was in New Orleans on Wednesday to tout transportation efforts.

Budget crunch: The state Senate has agreed to use money from the rainy day fund and BP oil spill settlement to help plug the budget hole. (Via AP)

Social services: Budget cuts could mean furloughs, layoffs at the state agency that oversees foster care, food stamps, child abuse claims and other social services programs.

DCFS: A state worker has been accused of falsely reporting checks on foster kids, but that may expose how overworked DCFS workers already have been.

Abortion: One of two abortion clinics that operate in the New Orleans area has abruptly shut down.

Presidential race: Early voting starts Saturday in Louisiana for the presidential primary.

Higher ed: Legislators continue to bicker over funding for the state’s colleges and universities.

Lobbying: Former House Speaker Chuck Kleckly has signed on as an “adviser” to the lobbying arm of a law firm.

Polls: A poll out this week shows Gov. Edwards has an uphill battle in building public support for his tax proposals.

Transportation: Despite cuts, the head of the state Transportation Department says projects are on schedule.

Hospitals: Health care for Louisiana’s poor could revert to a “rationing”-style system under cuts that have been proposed to shore up the state budget this year.

HIV: Baton Rouge already leads the nation in diagnosed HIV and AIDS case rates, but up to 1,000 people in the capital region are likely living with the disease and haven’t been diagnosed.

Death penalty: The Louisiana Supreme Court has delayed the March 14 execution of a serial killer convicted in five brutal slayings of well-to-do, older residents in the mid-1990s.

Taxes: The chemical industry is pressing ahead with its lawsuit challenging a tax change aimed at raising millions of dollars to balance the state budget, adding more uncertainty to the state’s already fragile financial situation.

Demos 2016: Mitch Landrieu has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

LSU: A group that advocates for free speech on college campuses has named LSU to its list of worst offenders this year.

At the Capitol today

  • Appropriations meets at 9 a.m. in Room 5.
  • Ways and Means meets at 9 a.m. in Room 6.
  • The State Bond Commission meets at 8 a.m. in Rooms A-B.

House convenes at 5 p.m., and the Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m.

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