News for Thursday 032113
By Dave Graichen
It's officially still unofficial, but Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne told a luncheon in Baton Rouge Thursday he does intend on running for governor of Louisiana in 2015. Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain is also making plans on running for the same office, which would pit two Republicans against each other for the governor’s mansion in less than two years.
This has only happened a few times since the “New Deal” The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in favor of St. Joseph Abbey and against the state board of funeral directors. The decision will allow Benedictine monks to keep selling plain, low-cost caskets from their monastery outside New Orleans. The court’s decision shot down a regulation that only state-licensed funeral directors may sell coffins in Louisiana.
The man tagged to be LSU's new president meets today with faculty and staff, as the Faculty Senate votes "no confidence" in the LSU Board over his selection. Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope says that's largely due to the complete lack of transparency in the search for a new president. Cope says the Faculty Senate voted "no confidence" in the board, after the announcement of a lone finalist for the job, Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander. Dr. Alexander’s appointment is expected to be ratified by the full LSU Board next week.
A nearly 39 million-acre oil and gas lease sale Wednesday for the central Gulf of Mexico drew $1.2 billion in high bids by offshore energy producers. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said 52 companies submitted 407 bids on 320 tracts, three to 230 miles off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
Senator Mary Landrieu continues to push for Louisiana's fair share of offshore oil & gas revenues. Landrieu says the revenue sharing bill passed a few years ago doesn't kick in until 2017, and places a
half-billion dollar cap on what the state can collect. Landrieu says she's reintroduced what she calls the FAIR Act. Under Landrieu's bill, Louisiana would lift the cap on royalties paid, and would let the state begin sharing in 37 & a half percent of offshore oil & gas production royalties immediately upon
enactment. Currently that revenue share isn't set to begin for another 4 years.
A New Orleans lawmaker files a bill to make it illegal for a registered gun dealer to sell a gun to a person, who has not completed a firearms training course. Rep. Austin Badon says undergoing a background check should not be the only requirement before purchasing a gun. He says taking a firearms safety class should also be mandatory.
Legislation has been filed to allow Louisiana residents to buy special license plates that say "I'm Cajun". Breaux Bridge Rep. Mike Huval came up with the idea. He says he has no doubt it would be a big seller. The proposed legislation will be discussed when the regular Spring session starts in April. If approved, the plates would be available through the Office of Motor Vehicles at an additional cost of $15.
Beauregard Parish deputies charge a 21-year-old Dry Creek man with a list of sex charges after he was found inside a child's bedroom. Christopher Bounds is charged with aggravated rape, aggravated
second-degree battery, battery of a police officer, resisting arrest and home invasion. He allegedly struck the 8-year-old girl's mother, when caught, then fled the home. His bond has been set at over
State utility regulators voted 3-2 Wednesday morning to postpone for six months part of their order aimed at lowering the cost of phone calls from prisons between incarcerated inmates and their families. PSC Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III, of New Orleans, moved to suspend the part of the December order addressing expenses, saying that the companies should be allowed to charge the fees and put them in escrow account until the PSC decides whether a particular fee can be exempted. He said suspending that part of the order dealing with fees for six months actually gave commissioners a better procedure from which they could enforce the order.
A bill prefiled for the upcoming state legislative session would transfer about 12.5 acres of state property around the Red River levee in Pineville to the city. The property lies between and around a city wastewater treatment facility and a Cleco substation close to the river and the Forts Randolph and Buhlow historic site. It consists of two tracts -- one of approximately 12.3 acres and another of .23 acres.
Rich Dupree, chief of staff for Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields, said the city has no definite plans for the property.