A proposal in the Louisiana Legislature would increase maximum allowable fines for nursing homes and other healthcare providers that repeatedly violate safety standards.

The state Senate backs the measure. A House committee has approved the proposal for full House debate.

In related news, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) could sign off on a bill that would allow elderly or disabled voters to cast their vote in elections by absentee ballot by mail. Voters who are 65 years old or older as well as those who are mobility impaired and have a special identification card from the state Office of Motor Vehicles would qualify under the measure.