News for Thursday 042414
By Dave Graichen
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee overwhelmingly rejected a push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program. Governor Jindal has opposed the expansion because he thinks it's a bad idea to move people from private insurance onto a government-run program and the state should be more interested in reducing the number of people on public assistance. The six to two vote, along party lines, likely ends debate on the issue in the Senate this session.
Legislation that would require doctors and hospitals to keep brain-dead pregnant women on life support until they give birth, regardless of the family's wishes, is heading to the House floor. It passed out of the House Health and Welfare Committee. New Orleans Representative Austin Badon says his bill gives an unborn child a voice.
According to a report based on 2012 Census data, Louisiana ranked 49th in the nation for lowest percentage of people who graduate from college. The document from the Lumina Foundation indicated The Bayou State graduates only 29% of the population. Basically only 3 out of every 10 adults in Louisiana have an associate or bachelor's degree according to the study. The study found that the only state with a lower percentage of people who had a college degree was West Virginia.
A bill that would expand the "Equal Pay for Women Act" to include men and apply to private sector employers passed in Senate Committee today. SB 334 is by New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson. There are certain exceptions to her measure when it comes to senority or merit based pay systems. Peterson says in 2010, Louisiana ranked 46th in the nation for lowest paid women.
Louisiana's government services are providing the third worst return in investment based on the amount taxes Louisiana residents pay. That's according to Wallethub.com. Senior analyst John Kiernan says Louisiana's tax rate is the 17th best in the country, which is good. But he says the state ranks poorly in the areas of education and infrastructure and health care, which leads to a poor return on investment for taxpayers. Kiernan says only Arkansas and Mississippi received a lower ranking.
The Louisiana House advanced legislation Wednesday that would put Louisiana in compliance with post-911 federal rules. House Bill 907 would give the state’s residents the option of getting a Real ID. The IDs are identification cards and driver’s licenses whose authenticity is verifiable. Louisiana was one of 16 states not in compliant with federal Real ID standards.
Without debate, the state House on Wednesday rejected a proposal to require the election of the state superintendent of education. The vote was 40 in favor and 56 opposed. The constitutional amendment required 70 votes to pass.
The House Ag Committee will meet today to discuss a bill that would allow the sale of raw milk from farmers to consumers. Carencro representative Stephen Ortego says raw milk has the same health risks as eating a hamburger or a raw oyster and can be beneficial to people that are lactose intolerant. Ortego says the sale of raw milk is currently illegal because some diseases in the turn of the century were found in it but those diseases have now been eradicated in the United States.
In Lafayette Parish, no charges will be filed against a man who shot a suspect accused of abducting his cousin. Assistant District Attorney Pat Magee says the grand jury declared the shooting of Scott Thomas by Marcus Arcenaux was a "justifiable homicide". Police say that in November, Thomas abducted Bethany Arceneaux and held her for 2 days before relatives found her. Witnesses say Thomas was shot while attacking Arceneaux during her rescue.
First is was rejected, then it was brought back to the legislature, and this time it passes. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor decided to bring back his bill to prohibit flying drones -- with some exceptions for agriculture, security, and film production. He said he wanted to better explain it. Well, those explanations from Claitor worked, as the bill passed 22-16.It now heads to the House.
Two people were killed in a train versus car accident in Caddo Parish after a train accident in Caddo Parish yesterday afternoon. Caddo Parish Sheriff's deputies report that the railroad crossing arms were down on Stage Coach Road when the unidentified elderly driver attempted to go around them. Both the driver and passenger were killed in the impact.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. said it is taking the next step toward a potential $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion upgrade to the company’s Garyville refinery and expects to make a final decision on the project by early 2015. The St. John the Baptist Parish project would create 65 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $115,000 per year, plus benefits. The company plans to file permit applications for the potential project with Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality at the end of April, having completed feasibility studies on the project.
A state panel would recommend changes in how public school teachers are evaluated under a bill approved Wednesday in the House Education Committee. The proposal is House Bill 415 by state Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe. It next faces action on the House floor. Hoffmann was the key sponsor of a 2010 state law that links teacher job reviews to the growth of student achievement. A 2012 state law ties those evaluations to a form of job security called tenure. Backers say the changes will improve student achievement by improving teacher quality.
After qualifying to the postseason three times and appearing in the divisional round twice since winning Super Bowl XLIV a little more than four years ago, it was virtually a foregone conclusion that the New Orleans Saints would get their fair share of primetime games in 2014. The NFL’s schedule makers did not disappoint, revealing on Wednesday that they had given the Black and Gold at least five primetime games this season, which is more than usual.