News for Thursday 050213
By Dave Graichen
It appears a local couple was very happy with the decision of the Louisiana college board on Tuesday to support it’s president Dr. Joe Aguillard. Yesterday, Aguillard announced an anonymous $10 million donation, the largest single donation in the history of the 106-year-old college.
Louisiana is Number One among the 50 states for its rate of births to unmarried women. The data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, and shows 48.7% of all births are to non-married mothers. The city of Monroe ranked highly among U.S. cities for births to single moms; with 62.5% of all births in 2011 to non-married women. Finally, the report shows that nearly a third of all un-married mothers are women with less than a high school degree.
Yesterday the CEO of Idaho Timber, Ted Ellis, announced the company will reopen a sawmill in Coushatta later this year, creating 90 new direct jobs. The site was closed in 2008 as a result of the national recession. Idaho Timber LLC recently purchased the facility from Hood Industries. Idaho Timber, based in Boise, will make a $3.5 million capital investment to refurbish and reopen the mill by the third quarter of 2013. Hiring is under way and will be completed when the mill comes online.
The House Governmental Affairs Committee rejects a proposal to place term limits on statewide elected officials. The governor is already term limited to two terms and Erath Representative Simone Champagne believes the other statewide elected officials should be limited to three terms. Champagne's legislation would have asked voters if they want to restrict the Lt. Governor, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, attorney general and agriculture commissioner to three, four-year terms. They, as you may suspect, all spoke out against the plan. The measure was defeated on a six-to-two vote.
Governor Jindal says 8000 students attending failing public schools have been matched with the Fall 2013 Louisiana Scholarship Program, which provides state-funded vouchers to pay private and parochial school tuition. About 12-thousand families applied for the vouchers this year. The state is appealing a court ruling that the program makes unconstitutional use of public school dollars to pay those
A House committee rejects a bill banning discrimination against any state employee based on their sexual orientation. Opponents say the measure would advance a sexual politics agenda. They say existing laws provide adequate protection. That bill was involuntarily deferred.
The House Committee on Criminal Justice has approved a bill to reduce sentences for possessing marijuana, and give those currently in prison for that offense a chance at possible early release. New Orleans Rep Austin Badon says state prisons are overcrowded and straining the state finances to house non-violent offenders. Under the bill, a 2nd offense would get up to a year in prison.
HB152 by Chris Hazel which allows parole eligibility for juveniles convicted of murder, advanced to the House floor today. The bill is silent on whether the eligibility would apply to those already convicted and incarcerated. That issue would be left for the courts to decide.
A state lawmaker decides not to move his bill that would ban public schools from being involved with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Abbeville Rep. Bob Hensgens filed the measure in response to the LHSAA's decision to separate its high school football playoffs. There will be split football playoffs this fall, public schools will have their own post-season, while private and parochial schools will have their own brackets.
A Senate committee rejected a proposed bill to make the position of Education Superintendent an elected one. Currently BESE picks the Superintendent, often at the Goveror's urging. Monroe Senator Bob Kostelka brought the bill and was critical of current Superintendent John White, as a New Yorker who doesn't understand Louisiana. Opponents say educations gains of the past several years were made
under an appointed Superintendent. The bill failed by a 2-to-4 vote.
The new owner of The Advocate introduced himself to managers of the newspaper Wednesday morning and said he was “extremely proud” to own Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper. John Georges, the CEO of Georges Media Group and publisher of The Advocate, said he had an enormous responsibility to The Advocate’s 450 employees and the Baton Rouge community. Earlier in the day, governor Jindal told the press the paper could not be in better hands.
Here comes the bride, but not exactly what you may think. Zoo of Acadiana officials have invited the public to attend the wedding of two giraffes on Sunday. They say their 16 foot giraffe Gabriel has waited a long time for a mate and thanks to donations from the community, they were able to get Evangeline, a new 14 ft girl in the habitat. Sunday is a celebration of this accomplishment.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is now offering an app for smartphone users to report outdoor related violations. The app is called, "LADWF Tips" and this is part of their Operation Game Thief program which could offer cash rewards for information leading to arrests or convictions.
The state Department of Transportation says work on I-49 south of Lafayette should start early next year. The project will upgrade U.S.Highway 90 to Interstate standards, and add a third lane in each direction. The first section will run from Ambassador Caffery Parkwway to Albertson Parkway, at a cost of about $75-million. DOTD expects to be bidding the project out by January.
Forcing a minor to undergo an abortion would be considered child abuse under a bill approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee. The bill passed unanimously and heads to the House floor.
A state appeals court has ruled as unconstitutional a Louisiana law that makes it a felony for non-citizens to drive without documents proving they are legally in the United States. The decision, handed down Wednesday by the Lake Charles-based 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, found that the statute is an improper effort by the state to enforce immigration laws, generally the exclusive realm of the federal government.
After defeating McNeese Tuesday night, the number three ranked LSU baseball team is set to open a three-game series against the 19th ranked Florida Gators tonight. You can hear all the games on 970 KSYL. Airtime this evening is at 6