News for Tuesday 053017
By Dave Graichen
The severe weather that rolled through the area Sunday night has left two people dead. In DeSoto Parish a tree fell and hit a vehicle in which 21-year-old Demontre Lewis was a backseat passenger. An 18-year-old in Caldwell Parish was killed after a tree fell on his home. It’s reported that an estimated 27-thousand people are without power after the storm passed.
A Senate committee will hear the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill today. The House-approved measure would prohibit cities that do not fully cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain state grants. It took two votes for this bill to pass the lower chamber. Opponents believe it would unfairly target Hispanics. New Orleans could be impacted by this legislation, if it becomes law.
There’s 10 days left in the regular session and very little has been accomplished. Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden says he’ll meet with Republican leaders to see what can be done in the final days. He says with only 41 votes in the House, it’s hard for Democrats to get anything through the process.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Democrats are pushing for tax reform, because 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire July 2018. But Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats haven’t presented a plan that the legislature and the public can get on board with. It’s likely a special session will be needed to address the fiscal cliff.
A bill to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts in Natchitoches has sparked a big discussion and will be heard in House Education on Wednesday. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson’s proposal would change the school’s name to Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Thompson says Long helped open the school in 1983. But many LSMSA alumni oppose the name change saying the school would lose its identity, especially with prestigious colleges.
There’s a new program from Louisiana Economic Development to help military veterans start a business after returning home. Secretary Don Pierson says the idea for the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program came after hearing LSU’s Baton Rouge campus was helping disabled veterans in a similar way. There are plans to expand the program to other regions of the state.
Pet owners will soon have more time to claim their lost pets after a natural disaster. A measure awaiting the governor’s signature gives pet parents 30 days to claim their animals following a state of emergency. Currently, local laws only gives 10 days.
An Alabama man was killed in a skydiving accident in Slidell on Sunday. St. Tammany deputies say 53-year-old Benjamin Leroy Crowell was training another person when he lost consciousness shortly after jumping out of a airplane. Witnesses say the two men hit the ground hard. The trainee was airlifted to a hospital and his condition is not known.
A note on a napkin saved a woman’s life in West Monroe. Authorities reports a woman was being held hostage by her boyfriend at a motel. She reportedly convinced 30-year-old Dennis Griffin to take her to Chili’s. While returning from the bathroom, she passed a note to her server asking for help. West Monroe Police responded immediately.
Thirteen people have been arrested and three are still at large after an insurance fraud investigation by State Police. Master Trooper Brooks David says all 16 individuals were involved in a number of fictitious crashes. David says it’s possible more arrests could be made.
The LSU Tigers are a number four national seed in the NCAA Tournament and they’ll start regional play this Friday at Alex Box Stadium against SWAC Tournament champion Texas Southern. The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. The Lions are a number two seed with a 36-20 record. The Owls received an automatic bid after winning the Conference USA Tournament.
LSU softball is heading back to the Women’s College World Series after coming back from one game down to beat Florida State in consecutive games to win the super regional series over the Seminoles. It’s the third consecutive trip for the Tigers and the fourth with Head Coach Beth Torina at the helm. LSU will play UCLA at 1:30 in Oklahoma City on Thursday.