News for Tuesday 051518
By Dave Graichen
Former Gov. Edwin Edwards' first wife, Elaine Edwards, has died. She was married to Edwards during all three of his terms as governor. Edwin Edwards' biographer, Leo Honeycutt, confirms that Elaine Edwards died of respiratory problems Monday morning at the home of daughter Victoria Edwards in Denham Springs. He says she had been in failing health for the last couple of years. Elaine Edwards is survived by their four children. She was 89.
A House bill that allows some convicted felons while serving probation and parole to get their voting privileges back cleared the Senate and Governmental Affairs committee Monday. The bill restores voting rights five years after he or she is released from prison.
Governor John Bel Edwards has called for a special session to begin on May 22nd. The current regular session is set to end on Friday and then legislators will return to Baton Rouge a few days later for a special session to address the fiscal cliff. Because of expiring sales taxes, legislators are unable to fully fund health care, public colleges and TOPS. Edwards is hoping the legislature adopts his revenue plan that would keep a portion of an expiring penny sales tax, while eliminating sales tax exemptions for certain industries. The special session must conclude June 4th.
The US Supreme Court has ruled that states outside of Nevada are now allowed to permit sports gambling. Neighboring states such as Arkansas and Mississippi approved legislation that would allow the gaming to take place, but Louisiana denied legislation that would have put the issue up for voters this fall. Its estimated that the new, unrestricted, sports gaming industry will be worth 7.1 billion dollars a year.
A constitutional amendment requiring a unanimous jury conviction for all criminal trials passed the House to applause on an 82-15 vote. The amendment would bring the state in line with 48 other state’s conviction requirements. The item heads to the ballot, and will need 50 percent plus one vote of the popular vote to go into effect.
A bill that would renew the state’s contract with Harrah’s New Orleans Casino passed a Senate Committee on a 4-3 vote. The legislation, which was heavily amended, is a 20 year contract with a ten year renewal option. Caesar’s Entertainment, who owns Harrah’s, sent their regional president Dan Real to argue for the contract renewal. Real argued that the tens of millions of dollars the casino has agreed to pay to the state, and large number of employees they employ would be irreplaceable.
Louisiana’s deadline for filing your state taxes is today. Those who do not file in time will be subject to a 5% of tax due penalty for each 30 days of delinquency. As of May 12, 2018, LDR has distributed 1,145,124 state individual income tax refunds.
The Webster Parish School District has settled a lawsuit with the ACLU that alleged that they created a coercive environment that subjected students to school sponsored Christian religious activities. ACLU Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton says they received complaints from a Webster Parish student’s family that the activities had been ongoing for some time. The school has argued that the religious ceremonies were student initiated and led.
A gas leak in St. Mary Parish sent residents and officials scrambling Monday morning. The leak forced the closures of two schools, amidst a frantic effort by firefighters, police and ambulance personnel to evacuate everyone from the area. Initial investigations indicate the incident occurred in the Baldwin area after a tractor hit a natural gas valve. Officials have given the all clear to return.
Authorities say a Sorrento man was killed when his Dad wrecked a boat they were in Saturday night on the Amite River. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says 53-year-old Patrick White was operating a 20-foot aluminum vessel when it slammed into a river wall. The impact killed 27-year-old Caleb White. Patrick White has is facing numerous charges, including vehicular homicide.
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