News for Wednesday 012313
By Dave Graichen
Sad story out of West Monroe. A house fire there has claimed the lives of two children. Officials say they believe a 16 month old and a 3-year-old were in a room where the fire started. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but no working smoke alarm was found in the home.
The NFL has reinstated Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. In a statement, Commissioner Roger Gooddell said that Payton had fully complied with all of the requirements imposed on him during his suspension. Payton will reportedly join GM Mickey Loomis and other coaches in Mobile today where they are scouting players for the draft.
Supporters of state funded hospice care will hold a candle-light vigil on the steps of the State Capitol later this afternoon. As of February 1st, the state will no longer pay for a Medicaid patient to receive hospice care. Elizabeth Harper, with the Alliance for the Advancement of End-of-Life Care, says this budget cutting move will impact 1,700 people. Harper says if the state goes through with its plans, Louisiana will become one of only two state to not pay for Medicaid hospice care.
Senator David Vitter files a series of reform-minded bills, aimed at promoting "good government". Vitter says he has, again this year, filed a bill to enact term limits on members of Congress. Vitter's bill proposes limits of 2 terms for senators and 3 terms for congressmen. One of his other bills would eliminate automatic pay raises for Members of Congress. Vitter says it is true that these "auto-raises" have been temporarily suspended during the recession. Vitter has also filed a bill to reform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The state Republican Party says Senator Mary Landrieu should cancel a planned Saturday event in New Orleans featuring Vice President Biden. State GOP Chairman Roger Villere says that's because of what he calls Biden's "crusade to violate the U.S. Constitution" with gun control laws.
There may be bills filed in the Spring legislative session to ban certain guns & magazines, or limit ammunition sales, but many feel they won't go far. Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto chairs the House Criminal
Justice Committee. He says gun control legislation has little chance in the Sportmen's Paradise. Lopinto says there may be a clamor to enact gun controls in Washington DC, but Louisiana voters just approved a Constitutional amendment last fall - aimed at protecting citizen gun rights.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards has filed a motion in a federal district court in Baton Rouge asking that his supervised release end immediately. Former US Attorney Harry Rosenberg says if lifted, Edwards wouldn't have to check in with a probation officer. Rosenberg says Edwards has done his time, paid his fines and done everything required for his supervised release. Federal prosecutors reportedly support the request to take off the second half of the three-year supervised release saying Edwards is "absolutely no risk to public safety”.
The production company for Former Governor Edwin Edwards and wife Trina's cable reality show has applied for state film & TV tax credits. The state is reviewing that application. To qualify productions must meet certain in-state spending benchmarks must be reached.
Conservative lawmakers in the state House are devising a package of proposals that aim to expand the state budget areas that can be cut during shortfalls and to limit the use of patchwork funding for ongoing programs. Rep. Brett Geymann, a Republican leading the “Budget Reform Coalition,” outlined the basic concepts Tuesday to a business organization. The bills will be unveiled next week. Geymann says the group, which has been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration over spending tactics, wants more lawmakers involved in the budget. He says the legislation will seek to expand places where spending can be reduced, so colleges and health care don’t take the bulk of the slashing when budget gaps appear. Lawmakers will consider the ideas in the legislative session that begins in April.
Baton Rouge Police say a two-year-old child is dead as a result of a teenager playing with a gun inside a home. BRPD spokesperson, L'Jean McKneely says the accidental shooting took place Monday night and the child died from his wounds Tuesday morning
The state Department of Health and Hospitals is getting ready to hire an internal inspector general to help it with Medicaid fraud prevention efforts. The legislative auditor issued a report finding improper payments and falsification of documents in several programs in which it did spot checks. It was the fifth finding of ineffective audit controls in the non-emergency medical transportation program, according to the auditor’s report. The internal inspector general’s main role will be “to assess risk and devise an Internal Audit Plan for the department. The position is expected to be filled by March.
St. Tammany Parish deputies say a bicyclist was hit by a car and killed yesterday in Covington. Officers say the teen riding the bike ran a stop sign and was hit by an SUV. That driver has been cleared of fault in the crash.
Should public and private high schools compete in separate playoffs. That's the major topic hanging over high school principals as they gather for the L-H-S-A-A's annual convention which begins today. LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson says the proposal is coming from schools who think public and private schools should compete for separate titles.