News for Tuesday 030618
By Dave Graichen
Another cold front will bring back cooler temperatures to Louisiana this week. Pierre C. Shadeaux, Louisiana’s rodent weather forecaster predicted an early end to winter back on ground hog day, but State Climatologist Barry Keim says the nutria’s prediction was premature. Temperatures will rebound somewhat by this coming weekend.
After over two weeks of bickering, name calling and passing the buck, The Louisiana legislature on both sides informed the Governor, yesterday they were going home without a plan in place to raise taxes to bridge a one billion dollar budget deficit.
Governor Edwards has said if no compromise was found, TOPS education funding, health care and several other services would be drastically cut. The one-cent sales tax will fall off the books the end of June, causing the shortfall. Once the regular Legislative session starts next Monday March 12th, no tax bills will be able to be discussed.
Leaders from both sides are pointing fingers after the special session crashed and burned after 15 days of failed negotiations, leaving the state with no certain path to solving the one billion dollar fiscal cliff. Republican Representative Cameron Henry says
the governor failed to communicate exactly what he wanted, or how large of a shortfall that needed to be made up. But Edwards is placing the blame on House Speaker Taylor Barras who he says reneging on a deal that was cut before the special session started.
The state legislature went home after spending 15 days in a special session and failing to find a solution to the one billion dollar fiscal cliff. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says legislators spent a lot of taxpayer money for very little return. The session is expected to cost the state nearly a million dollars, 50-to-60-thousand dollars a day.
Vernon Parish Sheriff John Craft announced plans to close the Vernon Correctional Facility on March 31. Craft says they have thoroughly investigated every possible avenue to avoid closing the facility. But, with the number of inmates they currently house, (201 as of Monday) Craft says it is no longer financially feasible to remain open. The state currently pays $10 per day per inmate, which is much lower than most states. The budget that would start in July is looking at cutting the $10 a day figure in half.
The Corps of Engineers is recommending opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway just outside of New Orleans this Thursday as Mississippi River levels are expected to steadily rise after several weeks of intense rains in the Midwest. Colonel Michael Clancy says the Mississippi is getting close to topping the New Orleans levee system. The river is currently at 14 feet. Once it reaches 15 feet, an forecasters say it will, recreation and work near the levees will be restricted.
Louisiana drivers are getting a bit of a break with falling gas prices over the last few weeks. The statewide average for regular unleaded gas is $2.33 a gallon, but Triple A’s Don Redman says don’t get too comfortable with these lower prices as we move into the warmer months. Earlier this year, the projection was for $3.00 a gallon in Louisiana, but Redman says the increase won’t be as much as first thought.
Baton Rouge Representative Edmond Jordan is seeking to introduce a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana and set up a way to tax the sale of cannabis. Jordan says this legislation could help with the state’s constant budget deficits. Baton Rouge and New Orleans recently approved ordinances that decrease the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. He says making it legal statewide is the next obvious step.
Rayne Police say they plan on arresting several suspects involved in the shooting of an 11-year-old girl. The child was shot in the leg and was treated and released at a local hospital. Authorities say the girl was an innocent bystander in a gunfight involving multiple people on Sunday afternoon.
A man wanted for second-degree murder out of Iberia Parish has been arrested in Houston. Authorities say the U-S Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force apprehended Akeam Daniels. He’s accused of fatally shooting 29-year-old Courtland Hall, who was dating the mother of his child. The incident resulted in an Amber Alert involving their two month old child, but the infant was found unharmed.
Site Selection magazine ranks Louisiana eighth on a per capita basis, among states with the most new and expanded facilities in 2017. It’s the ninth consecutive year Louisiana has landed in the top 10. However, just last week, another study listed Louisiana dead last in the nation for it’s business climate.
LSU’s Zack Hess has been named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Magazine. Hess struck out a career-high 13 in LSU’s victory over Toledo on Friday.
The Pelicans Anthony Davis has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week. A-D averaged 34 points a game last week as New Orleans is currently riding an eight-game winning streak, which has moved them into fourth place in the Western Conference Standings. New Orleans faces the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. Airtime 8:30 on 94.7 ESPN.
After 12 seasons, Dave Simmons is out as head coach at McNeese State. The Cowboys missed the Southland Conference Tournament after finishing with a 8-10 league mark.