News for Thursday 052517
By Dave Graichen
With only two weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are not close to agreeing on a budget for next fiscal year and addressing the loss of over a billion dollars in temporary taxes set to expire in July 2018. That’s according to Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com. Alford says the majority in the House despise creating new taxes to solve a looming budget deficit, while the majority in the Senate and the governor believe that is the solution. He says there is no clear path for where this session will end.
On the House floor Thursday, democrats mustered enough votes to prevent the passage of a construction financing bill in the hopes that it will lead to serious negotiations on tax reform.
As expected, the Senate Finance committee rejected a proposal to increase Louisiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 an hour by 2019. Republicans on the panel raised concerns about how this legislation could lead to layoffs, while Democrats say $7.25 is not a living wage. The author of the bill says he’ll bring the bill back next year. Governor Edwards issued a statement expressing his disappointment by saying the Legislature had the opportunity to actively value families, but it failed.
House debate on a 17-cent gas tax hike proposal has been delayed until next week. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter told NOLA.com he’s a considering a change to the legislation so that the gasoline tax would gradually increase.
Vice President Mike Pence echoed many of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises when he told a crowd in Port Allen yesterday the administration will make America prosperous again. He says the president’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the economy. He says businesses are responding to the president’s call to buy American and hire American. Pence also says it remains the President’s priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on the Louisiana congressional delegation to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says they’re disappointed the budget repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which entitles Louisiana to a portion of offshore drilling revenue for oil leases. Carbo says they understand the need to balance the budget, but this spending plan does it in a way that’s harmful to Louisiana and its citizens.
The Senate Education Committee will discuss today whether a task force should be formed to study how to ensure the TOPS scholarship program’s long-term liability. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the taxpayer funded program has not been examined since it was created over 20 years ago. Morrish says the task force’s findings will provide good information for lawmakers when they consider proposed changes to the scholarship program in the future.
More people may have been affected by the Great Flood of 2016 than we thought, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says 18 percent of the state’s residents took on water during the March and August floods. He says 30 percent of workforce was also impacted. Henderson says respondents did not give favorable ratings to FEMA or the state government for their response to the floods.
The 7-year-old who was accidentally shot at an elementary school in Moss Bluff is doing well after undergoing surgery for a second time. The family of the first-grader says the child will remain in the PICU for a few more days. According to Calcasieu Parish authorities, the shooting occurred on May 15th when another student brought a gun to school and it accidentally went off and struck the 7-year-old.
A deadly virus is threatening Louisiana crawfish. Aquaculture specialist Mark Shirley with the LSU AgCenter says the white spot syndrome originated in shrimp ponds in Thailand and Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Shirley says this virus can greatly affect a crawfish farmer’s income by killing off the harvest. But he says it’s not a threat to humans.
The search is over for a south Louisiana man accused of living in his ex-girlfriend’s attic, as 21-year-old Taylor Broussard is behind bars. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Larose woman reported her ex had stolen her vehicle after brandishing a knife. State troopers located the suspect in Baton Rouge Wednesday. Broussard faces 9 charges in Lafourche Parish including stalking, domestic abuse battery, vehicle theft, and home invasion.
The LSU Tigers beat Missouri 10-3 last night to faces Kentucky in the SEC winners bracket this evening. Now a reminder, it is a floating start time.. But, we should take to the air at 7:30 on KSYL 970a and 100.3 HD3.