News for Tuesday 040213
By Dave Graichen
According to figures released Monday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, The number of nonfarm jobs in the state as a whole increased from February 2012 to February 2013. Louisiana gained 29,500 jobs over the year, or a 1.5 percent increase, putting the statewide total up to 1.9 million. Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Lake and Houma-Thibodaux saw strong job growth. While Shreveport-Bossier, which has been hard hit by the shutdown of the General Motors plant, lost 3,100. Alexandria had a 600-job decrease over the year.
The fiscal only session starts next Monday and it promises to be a busy one. By Friday's deadline, lawmakers had pre-filed 900 bills including 650 in the House of Representatives. Each legislator is restricted to only five non-fiscal bills for the upcoming session.
The state lawmaker who will lead the effort in the legislature to pass Governor Jindal's tax reform plan admits the proposal will be hard to pass. But the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Joel Robideaux of Lafayette says Governor Jindal's tax package is not dead on arrival as some critics have suggested. And he says the legislative fiscal office is reviewing the proposal to see if it will be revenue neutral as Jindal has promised.
Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein will leave his post on May 1st. Greenstein is being investigated by a federal grand jury into whether or not he awarded a huge Medicaid contract to a former employer by using his authority. John Maginnis of LaPolitics.com says this resignation is coming at a bad time. He says the DHH budget is the largest component of the state's spending plan and Greenstein is a major player in an effort to privatize parts of the state's public hospital system.
A prime candidate to run LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe pulled out Monday, citing potential anti-trust challenges. James K. Elrod, president of the Shreveport-based Willis-Knighton Health System, announced the decision in a news release. Hospital system officials had no further comment. The LSU Board of Supervisors last week approved a memorandum of understanding with the Biomedical Research Foundation to work out a deal for the management and operation of the two hospitals, which are key to LSU medical education efforts.
If you haven't filed your taxes yet, it's about that time. The deadline is two weeks from midnight tonight. Louisiana IRS spokesman Michael Dobzinsky encourages citizens to file electronically because it's easier, faster, more convenient and you could get your refund in as little as 21 days. He says tax payers should also be aware of
credits they may be eligible for. Dobzinsky says statistics show that at least 25% of all tax payers wait until the last two weeks to file.
A Juvenile Court judge ruled Monday that a 15-year-old Baton Rouge boy charged with murder in a deadly home invasion last year should stand trial as a juvenile, denying a request by prosecutors that he be tried as an adult. After two days of testimony, Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson found Darien Bailey has “borderline” intelligence and the mind of about a 10-year-old, though he was 14 when he was arrested. If convicted, Bailey could be held in a state juvenile facility until he is 21
The Advocate and LSU’s student newspaper filed public records lawsuits against the LSU Board of Supervisors on Monday, seeking documents related to LSU’s search for a new president of the state’s flagship university. That search, conducted largely in secret, yielded F. King Alexander, president of Cal State University in Long Beach, California, as the sole finalist for LSU’s top post. In recently announcing Alexander as the sole finalist for LSU’s presidency, search committee chairman Blake Chatelain said LSU officials identified 100 people, narrowed that list to 35 active candidates, then cut the list to six or seven people, some of whom were interviewed face to face.
Rep. Bill Cassidy on Monday touted raising more than $500,000 in campaign funds thus far this year, although he still trails the war chest of his potential election opponent, incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. Cassidy has not yet announced he will challenge Landrieu, D-La., next year, but he is already pushing his fundraising totals about two weeks before they are publicly released by the Federal Election Commission.
A whistleblower who sued Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc. of Baton Rouge for alleged retaliation has been awarded more than $3.4 million by a federal court jury in Anchorage, Alaska. Paul Blakeslee was 71 when he wrote corporate parent Shaw Group headquarters in Baton Rouge on Sept. 19, 2008, that a Shaw project manager in Alaska had defrauded both Shaw and the federal government by having millions of dollars in equipment leased at above-market rates from a firm in which the manager held an interest. Seventeen days later, the Shaw project manager informed Blakeslee that his position had been eliminated. Shaw officials and attorneys denied the retaliation allegation at trial last month.
In sports there's a couple of big Louisiana stories today. LSU's Mason Katz has for the second time in three weeks been named the Collegiate Baseball National PLayer of the Week and SEC Player of the week. Also former Louisiana Tech star quarterback Luke McCown has signed a one year deal with the Saints.
The No. 2 LSU Baseball team --- now 26-2 overall, 8-1 in the SEC and off to the best start since 1986 --- will face Alcorn State at The Box tonight. You can hear that game on Talkradio 970 KSYL beginning at 6.