News for Thursday 022813
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal has announced three legislative proposals he plans to get behind in support of Louisiana Veterans. Jindal says he'll pursue legislation that creates penalties for anyone who fraudulently takes advantage of a veterans business incentives, protects veterans' funerals by establishing a protest-free perimeter, and ensuring active military and vets have improved access to specialized treatment.
Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to take $100 million from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to help fund higher education in next year’s state budget. However, with roughly four months left in the current state fiscal year, the convention center has yet to transfer $20 million the governor put into this year’s state budget. The state expects to be $1.3 billion short of the money needed to keep state government services at their current levels in the budget year that begins July 1.
A new report shows Louisiana and four other states as the example in how to reduce juvenile confinement. All five states in the Justice Policy Institute study released today had a 50 percent or more reduction in the number of juveniles incarcerated from 2001 to 2010. Other states in the report were Connecticut, Tennessee, Minnesota and Arizona. Louisiana had nearly a 53 percent drop in the number of juvenile confinements going from a rate of 505 youth per 100,000 in 2001 to 239 in 2010.
Louisiana is bucking a national trend in a good way. Data from the Governors Highway Safety association shows deaths of 16-and-17-year-old drivers increased sharply nationwide in the first six months of 2012, reversing a decade-long trend. However, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Elaine Rougeau says those numbers did not rise in .
Having a rough time making ends meet? You are not alone. Gas prices, for one, have been on a steady rise over the last few weeks. According to Triple-A, the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.66, which is 45-cents more than a month ago. UNO economist Janet Speyrer (spier) says food prices are also up and rising medical costs are also making it tougher on many consumers. Another problem is that people have less disposable income, because the end of the payroll tax holiday at the start of the year, means less take home pay.
Louisiana lawmakers are set to meet today to discuss the investigation into the company Explo at Camp Minden and 10 millions of pounds of improperly stored explosives. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson is on the House Committee on Homeland Security. He says they want to ensure that tax payers aren't footing the bill for the cost of cleaning up the material. He says they also need to identify the source of the oversight and make sure this never happens again.
The Public Service Commission has pulled the plug on an "energy efficiency" program that they approved last December. The program would encourage consumers to become more energy efficient, but it would also add a line item charge on monthly bills. PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta says they will look at ways to improve the program and bring it back for another vote in four or five months.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter filed a comprehensive bill Wednesday to increase offshore oil production revenue sharing with Louisiana and other affected states, to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and to expedite other permitting for projects such as the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Vitter, R-La., said the Energy Production and Project Delivery Act is intended to boost domestic energy production and economic development while also helping the “host” states that would share in the increased federal revenues.
State Police are investigation the case of two K-9 officers who went missing and were later found in shelters Tuesday night. They say the two dogs disappeared from the Bent Tree area from Marrero. Both were unharmed.
18 year old Seth Fontenot of Lafayette will not have to face the death penalty for the alleged murder of 15-year-old Austin Rivault and the attempted murders of two of Rivault's 15-year-old friends. Court documents indicate the Lafayette Parish DA agreed to take the death penalty off the table. Fontenot is accused of opening fire on the three teenagers as they were riding by his home.
In efforts to help the New Orleans Saints get under the salary cap, quarterback Drew Brees commented to WWL Radio that he would be willing to consider anything that would help the team or its cap situation. But ESPN is reporting it wouldn't matter because the wording of Brees' contract makes it difficult to provide salary cap relief.