News for Tuesday 042914
By Dave Graichen
Another round of twisters has flattened homes and businesses here in the South yesterday and raised this week's death toll to at least 28. At least three tornados flattened homes and businesses, flipped trucks over on highways and injured an unknown number of people in Mississippi and Alabama on Monday.
The News-Star is reporting that Fifth District US Representative Vance McAllister will not seek re-election this fall. McAllister has been the center of controversy ever since a video of him kissing
a married staffer was leaked before Easter. It is reported that McAllister will complete his term in Congress. The Republican Party of Louisiana says they are happy to hear of McAllister's decision, however, party chairman Roger Villere says he would have liked the congressman to resign immediately.
Boyce businessman Clay Grant has announced his candidacy for representative from Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. The primary election will be held Nov. 4, with a runoff Dec. 6 if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. McAllister announced Monday that he will serve out his term but will not seek re-election. Former Grant Parish district attorney Ed Tarpley had already announced he would challenge McAllister for the seat.
With the news of embattled US Representative Vance McAllister not seeking re-election, it leaves the door open as to who will fill the 5th Congressional District seat. With the election almost 6 months
away, ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says potential candidates need to act quickly. The 5th District covers 24 parishes in Louisiana from Monroe to Alexandria and portions of Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. 14 candidates threw their hat in the ring for the seat during the special election last year. Stockley says that we could see some of the same this go around, too.
Information technology company CGI will open a technology center in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park, a facility that in four years will directly employ 400 high-tech workers with annual salaries averaging $55,000. Company officials say they will begin hiring in a few months and will start operations at a temporary location later this year.
Legislation that attempted to curtail the writing of speeding tickets on I-49 near the Washington exit in St. Landry Parish fails in the House. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh says the Washington police department is funding its local government, by writing tickets on motorists who are going just a couple of miles over the speed limit. Opelousas Representative Ledricka Thierry says it would also be bad precedent to tell police not to enforce a law. The bill failed, 40 yeas and 52 nays.
A House-passed bill that would raise the age state employees could retire headed Monday to the full Senate. The Senate Retirement Committee advanced House Bill 38, which would change the retirement age to 62 years of age, after five years of service. The current age is 60.
A proposed law that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun into certain restaurants that sell alcohol is up for discussion today in a Senate committee. House Bill 72 is co-authored by Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson. He says people should be able to protect themselves at all times. The law would apply to places like Applebee's whose primary source of
revenue comes from food, not alcohol. Thompson realizes some are worried that guns and alcohol do not mix and he says he agrees. However, he says people who have CCP's are held to a much higher standard when it comes to drinking.
2013 was another record-breaking year for the tourism industry in Louisiana. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne announced Monday that in 2013 Louisiana attracted 27.3 million visitors, a four percent increase over 2012, resulting in $10.8 billion in total visitor spending. The $807 million in state tax revenue generated represents a more than 34-to-1 return on investment in state funding.
A House committee voted down a measure Monday that would have prohibited housing discrimination against gays, among others. The proposal, by Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith, would have added sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran's status, and conviction record to the list of characteristics a property owner could not use to deny housing. The House Commerce Committee voted twelve to three against the measure.
A Natchitoches man has been charged with second degree murder after he allegedly stabbed his 63 year-old father. Thirty-nine year-old Lawrence Monette was charged for killing Colton Monette with a pocket knife. The elder Monette was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.
The full house approves legislation that's designed to give public schools protection from lawsuits and censorship if they put up a Christmas tree in the school or put on a Christmas play. The measure passed unanimously on an 89-to-zero vote.
Law enforcement officials are seeking information on the apparent double murder of a man and woman in Ethel who were found Sunday afternoon. The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's office says the victims who were shot to death are identified as Eddie Earl Hall and Connie hall. They are asking that anyone who may have seen anything suspicious on the area to call Crime Stoppers.