News for Wednesday 012517
By Dave Graichen
The LDWF agent who was shot during a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish is making progress in his recovery. That’s according to a Facebook post from the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, which shows a picture of 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler sitting up in his hospital bed. Two Monroe residents are behind bars in connection with the shooting.
President Donald Trump has signed two orders that moves forward with construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, so what does that mean for Louisiana? Acting President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says this creates more hope for the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Briggs says Trump has made comments about reducing 75-percent of regulations on the oil and gas industry. He says this would open up a lot of opportunities for investment.
The Edwards administration will unveil a proposal on Friday on how to close a 304-million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are split on whether or not to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to close the gap. While there isn’t much of an appetite at the Capitol to raise more taxes, one option would be to broaden the base of the clean penny that was added to the sales tax last year.
Lawmakers are once again proposing more changes to the TOPS scholarship program as budget problems continue to plague the state. Republican State representative Franklin Foil plans to file a bill for the regular legislative session to raise the GPA requirement for TOPS students. Foil says all options need to be considered, so lawmakers can keep the program intact for the future. He says his proposal would make the program more of a merit-based scholarship, like it was intended to be.
Louisiana’s top school board voted Tuesday to create new public charter schools, despite questions about how the state will pay for them amid ongoing litigation that has put financing for more than 30 similar schools in doubt. The uncertainty didn’t slow the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE, from authorizing three more of the schools to open in the fall, two in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Lafayette Parish.
The state’s unemployment rate is at 6-point-1 percent. That’s based on a data from the federal Bureau of Labor statistics who compiled job numbers for December. Another report shows Louisiana added 26-hundred private-sector jobs in December as total employment in the education and health care services has hit an all-time high.
Former Angola Warden Burl Cain has responded to claims in a state legislative auditor’s report that said he may have illegally used public funds for personal reasons. The audit finds state employees worked for Cain, while they were still on the clock. But Cain says, at times, prison employees volunteered to help out at his home, but not while they were working. Cain made the comments yesterday on a Baton Rouge talk show.
Freshman 4th District U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson of Benton was named to both the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. This would put Johnson on the forefront of the lines when it comes to policy concerning building a wall on the southern US border.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the Louisiana Family Forum is once again searching for the state’s longest married couple to share their love story. President Gene Mills urges anyone who knows a couple married for longer than 70 years to contact their office. The Top 10 Longest Married Couples will be honored by receiving official recognition and will be entered into the Louisiana Family Forum’s “Marriage Hall of Fame.” Mills says for the past two years, Lawrence and Varrie Player of Benton, have received the honor as the state’s longest known married couple, at 82 years together.