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Opelousas Senator introduces "Personhood" legislation

Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory files a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide if life begins at conception. Guillory's proposed change to the constitution would give unborn children the same legal rights that all other people enjoy.
"We don't want to take anything away from anyone, any rights that are presently given by law, but we would like enshrine in our constitution that Louisiana is pro-life," Guillory said.

Guillory says this constitutional amendment would not make abortions illegal in Louisiana, but it lets the world know that Louisiana is a pro life state.
"We have tighten the laws on abortion very significantly in Louisiana, this does not go beyond that," Guillory said. 
Guillory says the constitutional amendment will also make abortions automatically illegal, if Roe versus Wade is overturned. The legislation is referred to as "personhood" but similar proposals have failed to pass in other states. But Guillory likes his chances in Louisiana. 
"We would like to make it very clear, that Louisiana is clearly, without question, pro life," Guillory said.  

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RPSO: Man in jail for felony stalking held under "Gwen's Law"

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's office says a man is behind bars with no bond on felony stalking charges after allegedly continuously harassing a female victim. Lt. Tommy Carnline says the woman told cops that 47-year-old Christopher Charles LAmmons of Alexandria would not leave her alone.

"While our detectives were investigating, they did confirm and substantiate the allegations they were given by the victim," said Carnline.

Carnline says a warrant was obtained for Lammons' arrest as well as a search warrant for his residence for additional evidence.

"We did obtain more evidence of the stalking and harassment that he was doing to our victim," said Carnline.

Carnline says because Lammons' charges are domestic in nature, a new law that went into affect last year mandates that he stay in jail without bond under "Gwen's Law."

"He will remain there for five business days before a just cause hearing," said Carnline.

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Suspect arrested in New Orleans Dominos delivery driver murder

The New Orleans Police Department says they've arrested a suspect in the killing of a Dominos pizza delivery driver. They say 24-year-old Michael Portis is believed to be responsible for the fatal shooting of 36-year-old Michael Price who was a married father of three. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the community is sending a strong message.

"If you reek havoc on your city, we will find you, arrest you and convict you," said Landrieu. "And if necessary we will send you to jail for the rest of your life."

There was a $15,000 reward being offered in the case and cops say it was multiple tips to Crimestoppers which help lead detectives to Portis. 

Robert Redesco is the regional vice president for local Domino's franchisee RPM Pizza LLC. He says their number one goal is to keep their team members safe.

"We do not carry over $20 and all orders taken at stores are recorded by the computer and recorded by voice," said Redesco.

Redesco says online donations for Price's family have gone over $30,000 and there have also been several thousands of dollars given by Dominos chains across the region.

Darlene Cusanza, president and CEO of Crimestoppers GNO says the entire $15,000 reward will be paid out.

"I can't speak to how the reward will be paid out -- whether it will be one tipster or more," says Cusanza. "But definitely somebody will be paid a reward."

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Former Elton High School teacher and coach pleads guilty to carnal knowledge of a juvenile

A former Elton High School teacher and basketball coach has pleaded guilty to having inappropriate sexual relationships with students.  35-year-old Justin Fruge pleaded guilty to one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.  

Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Michael Cassidy says Fruge faces up to ten years in prison.
"He will automatically lose his teaching certificate and not be able to hold a position like that again.  He will have to register as a sex offender and notify people for 15 years."

Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.  Cassidy says most of Fruge's victims preferred to not have to testify in court, but thought Fruge should have a felony on his record and not be allowed to teach again.

"The victims were very satisfied with that and they felt like he's being punished and has a consequence for his actions."

Fruge was facing numerous charges of sexual misconduct, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge after parents of the victims requested the charges be reduced.  Cassidy  says all of the victims supported the plea.  He says by pleading this quickly, it allows the victims and the Town of Elton to move on and let the healing begin.

"Coach Fruge will now have to face the consequence of some incarceration and know that he will never be able to be a teacher or coach again." 

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Louisiana prison population declining

The prison population in Louisiana is going down for the first time in years. Secretary of Corrections Jimmy LeBlanc told the House Appropriations Committee that from 2006-2009 the state added about 1200 new prisoners a year. 

He says if that would have continued, there would have been about 44,000 inmates at the end of 2014 instead of closing the year with about 38,000 prisoners.

"Then you start figuring out what that would be costing us today and it's roughly $90 million dollars if we'd continued on that same pace," said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc says since 2012, Louisiana has seen a drop of almost 3000 inmates.
He credits changes in sentencing laws and strong re-entry programs.

"The number returning to prison is 1000 less than three years ago annually," said LeBlanc.

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.

LeBlanc says the numbers not coming back to prisons annually is a huge financial gain for the state and it continues to get better. He says these numbers indicate that what they are doing to keep people from coming back to prison after the leave is working.

"Our continued focus on re-entry efforts," said LeBlanc. "Our sentencing commission has also done some great things."

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Governor Jindal sends staffers to Iowa

Governor Bobby Jindal takes another step toward a potential presidential run by sending two members of his staff to Iowa.  Taylor Teepell and Matt Parker will move to the Hawkeye State where they'll work for the governor's new political organization called the America Future Project.  

LaPolitics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says this shows how serious Jindal is about running for president.
"You don't create a team in Iowa, spend that money and put resources behind it, and then actually pull folks from your own staff within your governor's office."

Recent poll numbers have not been kind to the governor.  They show Jindal polling in the single digits, well behind other expected Republican candidates for the nomination.  Alford says no eventual president has polled below 15-percent at this point in the process and been successful with the exception of Bill Clinton.

"I guess the question to that point is 'Is Bobby Jindal a Bill Clinton candidate?'  Can he walk into a room, energize a crowd, and turn things around?  Can he be the next comeback kid?"

Alford says despite the seemingly steep uphill battle in front of him, Jindal is moving forward with his campaign plans.  The governor is expected to make an announcement following this year's legislative session.  Alford says presidential candidates often run for the office with other aspirations in mind.

"Sometimes they're working the angles and hoping to end up as the number two on the ticket, as a VP candidate, or maybe they see a secretary's position in their future." 

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"Web of Lies" features Stonewall murder case

Tonight, Investigation Discovery's documentary style show "Web of Lies" will feature the story of the kidnapping, murder, and arrest of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom's killer.  Bloxom's body was found in a shallow pool of water in Stonewall in March of 2010.  

DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says the show can bring to light how vulnerable our children are and how predators operate.
"And how they use the internet and the websites and these cell phones to trick these people into thinking that they're their friends, when actually they're ruthless pedophiles, child killers as we've seen in this case."

Brian Horn, a previously convicted sex offender, was sentenced to death for Justin's murder last year.  Horn lured Bloxom to his death with fake text messages, pretending to be a girl from his school.  Arbuckle says Justin's story should be a reminder to parents to keep up with what their kids are doing.

"They need to check on their kids.  They need to know what their kids are doing on the internet and these cell phones and really, really just be involved with what's going on with them."

Amy Bloxom Fletcher, Justin's mom, agreed to share the story to remind people about the dangers children can face from predators through social media and texting.  Several people involved in the case were interviewed for the show.  Arbuckle says he supports the program airing tonight at 9.

"It's good for our children and our community to be a reminder to check on your kids, find out what they're doing." 

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A proposal to control TOPS spending has the support of higher education leaders

Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue files legislation that he says will control the costs of the TOPS scholarship program. Donahue says under his bill a baseline would be set on how much a student receives for tuition and that dollar amount will not go up in future years, unless the legislature votes to change it.

"What it doesn't do, it doesn't allow the stipend offered through TOPS to grow as the tuition to that school increases," Donahue said.
Every year the cost of the TOPS program for the state grows by the millions, because of rising tuition costs at public colleges. Donahue under his bill the TOPS award stays the same for a student through their college career, even if tuition goes up. 
Higher education officials and the Taylor Foundation, which started the TOPS program, will promote Donahue's bill at an 11:00 press conference Wednesday in Baton Rouge. 

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