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A recent poll shows Governor Bobby Jindal is less popular than President Barack Obama in Louisiana. But Jindal says that's because he's made some tough choices, which includes cutting state government spending and implementing important reforms like the statewide school voucher program.

"Making changes is tough. It's easy to be a popular politician, if you want to be a popular politician, you kiss babies, you cut ribbons and you don't make tough choices," Jindal said.
And the governor, who has presidential aspirations, is struggling in recent republican presidential primary polls. But Jindal says he's not concerned.
"Look the reality is, when I first got into my first race for governor, I was polling within the margin of error, which means nobody is voting for you, including your wife or anybody else you know," Jindal said.
Jindal says he'll announce after the legislative session on whether he'll run for President. The governor says if he does run, he'll let the voters know that he's not afraid to make big changes.
"If I were to become a candidate, I would certainly run to win, and I would do it based on presenting detail ideas about how to move our country forward." 


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The LSU softball team is off to a good start at the Women's College World Series as the Tigers defeated Auburn 6-1 on Thursday afternoon. Bianka Bell and Kellsi Kloss each hit home runs, while Emily Griggs had 3 hits.
LSU as a team had ten hits on the day, which was enough offense for starting pitcher Carley Hoover. The freshman allowed just six hits on the day.
The Tigers will play in a winner's bracket game tomorrow night at 6 PM against Florida.


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Michelle Southern reporting.
Cops in the LaFourche Parish town of Golden Meadow say they've arrested a woman accused of stealing over $12,000 from a non-profit children's baseball league. Chief Reggie Pitre (PEE'-tree) says they received a complaint from the league's board of directors about 35-year-old Renee Serigny (sehr-in-YAY') after noticing inappropriate activity on their bank accounts.

"During an investigation into the last 12 months of bank statements, cumulative totals came out to be a little over $12,000 that was missing out of both accounts," said Pitre.

Serigny was booked with two counts of felony theft and was released from the parish jail after posting a $4,000 bond. Pitre says he questioned the woman himself about the incident.

"She admitted to using the money for personal reasons and didn't realize the built up total was so high," said Pitre.

Pitre says that money was supposed to go towards their Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken league's account for things like supplies and uniforms from registration fees.

"And from her admission she used the accounts for her bills," said Pitre.


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The state House has rejected legislation that would increase the state's sales tax by one-cent for road and bridge improvements.  Plaquemine Representative Karen St. Germain's bill overwhelmingly failed to get a two-thirds vote of elected members it needed to pass.

St. Germain says HB 778 would help with the backlog in road and bridge projects facing the state.
"It is to pay for the construction of these projects.  This is not putting a debt into state coffers, this is a pay as we go."

The state is currently facing a backlog of $12 billion in road and bridge needs.  St. Germain says the bill could generate over $7 billion over the next decade to fund specific highway projects.  She says the neglect of Louisiana's roadways has gone on long enough.

"Our highways and bridges have gone to hell in a hand basket."

The House vote was 52-42.  The measure needed 70 votes to pass.  St. Germain says improving state roadways would enhance the lives of all Louisianians.

"They need health care.  They need education.  They need to be able to get there." 


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The National Weather Service predicts that the Red River could reach its highest level in 25 years.  As of Wednesday, the river stood at 29.2 feet.  

NWS predicts it will crest at 33 feet, the highest since a 34.5 foot crest in 1990.  Meteorologist Mario Valverde says the Red River is not at flood stage, but that's going to change soon.
"There's going to be lots of flooding going on.  Places are going to get wet that people have not seen get wet for 25 years."

Valverde says the Red River is expected to crest in the Shreveport area sometime around June 5th.  He says the river should crest in the Alexandria area a couple of days later.  Valverde doesn't expect any flooding from the Red River to impact any cities, but says some agricultural lands could be inundated.

"A lot of ranchers are already moving their cattle off, near the river, to higher ground.  That's causing them some severe impacts."

NWS says the imminent flooding is the result of recent rainfall in northwest Louisiana and central Texas.  It's predicted that it will be the first part of July before waters to recede back to normal levels.  Valverde says the flooding will cause some inconvenience.

"So a lot of the boat ramps and everything going to the Red River and the surrounding lakes and stuff like that will probably be closed for an extended period of time."


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Michelle Southern reporting.
Louisiana has its first female high school head football coach in history. Susan Gremillion is the new head coach at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, replacing her husband Darren. Gremillion is very excited and believes LSD is the best kept secret in the state.

"I'm glad this will break that barrier because I want people to know about the Louisiana School for the Deaf," said Gremillion. "We've got well rounded kids turning out here that would never play athletics at a hearing school."

The War Eagles are an eight-man football team and they went 7-2 last year.

Gremillion, who was previously the squad's special teams coordinator, says being the head coach is not about gender it's about doing what you love.

"Make a positive reputation for yourself and always have a feel and desire to learn," said Gremillion.

Gremillion says being the first woman head football coach sounds nice but she wants to be the first woman to coach a deaf national championship team.

"That's always the goal, has not changed and remains our mindset every year," said Germillion.


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In an effort to increase its international profile and boost enrollment numbers, Nicholls State University has signed an educational partnership Galliano-based offshore giant Edison Chouest that will allow their employees and family members earn a degree from the school.  

University President Bruce Murphy says the deal will waive out-of-state and international fees for students connected to Chouest.
"We anticipate employees not only from the local area, but from worldwide doing this and it'll probably be both on-site and, also, some online as well."

Murphy says it was a natural for the school to team up with Edison Chouest.

"In their corporate headquarters, of the folks who have degrees, 80-percent of them have degrees from Nicholls.  That's a fantastic tribute, I think, to the relationship between the institution and that company."

Chouest has approximately 14,000 employees in over a dozen countries worldwide.  Murphy says this agreement will bring more international diversity to the Thibodaux campus.

"This is an opportunity for international employees of Chouest to come near their corporate headquarters, to an area where they're familiar, and take advantage of some of our educational opportunities." 


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Political blogger CB Forgotston says Governor Bobby Jindal violated the state constitution with a press release through the governor's office that criticizes presidential candidate Rand Paul. Jindal's statement, which is on letterhead used by the governor's office, says Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.

In an interview on the Jim Engster Show, Forgotston says the state constitution makes it clear that you can't do that. 
"The state constitution prohibits the use of state funds for the support or defeat of any political candidate," Forgotston said.  
Jindal's press release through the governor's office criticized the senator from Kentucky for saying that "hawks" in the Republican Party helped create ISIS.  
A Jindal spokesperson, Mike Reed, says the suggestion the Governor of Louisiana can not or should not comment on matters of national security is without merit.
Forgotston says he's filed a complaint with Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street. 
"It's his job to investigate wrongdoing whether it be criminal or civil by members of the executive department," Forgotston said.
When contacted, Street said he could not comment on whether there will be an investigation.  


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Two bills that are key components to a Common Core compromise made it off the House Floor Wednesday. The votes were nearly unanimous and Governor Bobby Jindal is also backing the proposals. Lake Charles Representative Brett Geymann, a staunch opponent of Common Core, is glad all sides of this controversial issue came together.

One of the bills lets the public and others review the English and math standards, which could result in changes to Common Core curriculum that the next governor would have to approve.

The other proposal seeks to control the state’s participation in tests associated with Common Core.

Geymann says he’s comfortable with what they came up with.

"All the sides came together and worked very hard to come to this agreement," said Geymann.

The legislation will next head to the Senate, which is expected to go along with the bills.

Geymann says he’s appreciative of the hard work that went into coming up with this legislation.

"Look forward to us developing a set of standards that goes through a public process," said Geymann.


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The LSU softball team faces SEC rival Auburn on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Women's College World Series. It's the fourth WCWS appearance for LSU.
Coach Beth Torina says her team has been on a mission to get to this point.

"They did everything they could possibly do to make sure they were sitting in this spot," Torina said. "This isn't something they just didn't fall into."
The Tigers bring a 50-and-12 record into Oklahoma City. They have seven hitters hitting .324 or higher and they have four pitchers who have combined for a team ERA of 1.76. Torina says the depth on her team has served them well. 
"We have a lot of different weapons," Torina said. "It's tough to beat us, because it's tough for all of all of them to have a bad day on the same day." 
LSU's last trip to the WCWS was in 2012. The Tigers scored only four total runs and they were eliminated after three games. Torina says this year's squad has a different mindset. 
"Last time we were here, we were an underdog, we were a team that was just happy to make it, but this time this team has some different goals," Torina said. "This team is here to win it."


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Legislation that allows medical marijuana to be dispensed in Louisiana moves a step closer to final legislative passage. The Senate-approved bill, received approval from a House committee today. The Louisiana Sheriff's Association were in opposition last year, but executive director, Michael Ranatza, says tight controls have been put on the bill, so they've dropped their opposition.

"We wanted medicine not marijuana to be dispensed, we wanted medication to be dispensed by physicians going through phararmacists in a medical setting," Ranatza said. 
Under the legislation by state senator Fred Mills, there are strict rules on where the medical marijuana could be grown, where it can be dispensed and how it can be taken by the patient.
If medical marijuana legislation is approved, it can be prescribed for spastic quadriplegic, those suffering from glaucoma, individuals going through chemotherapy, or epilepsy. 
The measure now heads to the House floor for more debate.  


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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham says Sgt. Scott Bullitt, who was shot last week in Ouachita Parish while on duty, remains hospitalized in serious condition in a Shreveport hospital.  He says neurosurgeons performed surgery on Bullitt Saturday.

"He successfully removed the bullet and bone fragments from his spine and he remove a blood clot from the nerve bundle at the base of his spine."

Sgt. Bullitt currently does not have use of his legs.  Barham says Sgt. Bullitt has a long rehabilitation process ahead of him.

"And we're hopeful that he'll once again be able to regain the use of his legs and with thoughts and prayers going out to him, we're hopeful of that."

Doctors have yet to be determined if the agent has suffered any permanent spinal damage.  The suspected shooter, Luke Hust, has been charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder in the incident.  Barham says Hust has confessed to the shooting.

"He said that he panicked because he is a felon and he was in possession of a firearm and that's what he said.  But beyond that, I can't tell you what motivated him." 


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Michelle Southern reporting.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane forecast will see 6-11 tropical storms, 3-6 hurricanes and up to two major hurricanes. NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says these numbers suggest a below average season.

"This is the highest probability of a low activity season that's been in one of our outlooks since 1998," said Sullivan.

Sullivan emphasizes that a below average hurricane season does not mean that mother nature won't throw a curve ball so it's still important to be prepared for anything. 

She says driving the impact this year is the El Nino which has developed in the Pacific Ocean and has the effect of suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

"It increases the amount of wind sheer and the sinking motion in the atmosphere," said Sullivan. "Both factors inhibit storm formation and the intensification of storms."

Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30, but the first Tropical Storm this year, Ana, already formed earlier this month and came ashore in North Carolina. 

Sullivan says their scientists also predict that sea surface temperatures in the key portions of the Atlantic will be normal.

"Not as warm as they were the last couple of years so less energy from the ocean helps drive storms away," said Sullivan.


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A bill prohibiting what is known as revenge porn is close to legislative passage.  Kenner Representative Julie Stokes' measure has cleared the House and now has unanimous approval from the Senate.  

Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston Broome says the measure would make it a crime to share a nude image of someone on the internet without their permission.
"Or distribute them through e-mail for the purpose of harassing a person or causing them emotional harm."

Violators of the proposed measure could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  The bill now heads back to the House to approve Senate amendments.  Broome says this legislation will send a strong message.

"This type of behavior is not tolerated in Louisiana and, more importantly, act as a deterrent to prevent future instances." 


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Parks Senator Fred Mills will present his medical marijuana bill before the House Health and Welfare Committee today.  The measure cleared the full Senate on a 22-13 vote.  

He says medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana since a law was passed back in 1991.
"What I'm just trying to attempt is to put some rules and regulations to the dispensing, the cultivation, and the prescribing of medical marijuana."

A similar bill by Mills failed to pass committee last year.  Mills says he's worked with the Louisiana Sheriff's Association to make the bill more acceptable to lawmakers.  He says some changes included putting the Department of Agriculture in charge of growing medical marijuana and limiting the number of dispensing pharmacies in the state to ten.

"And another provision was to eliminate the inhalation piece in medical marijuana and have it only in the oil form."

Governor Bobby Jindal says he doesn't see any glaring concerns with Mills' bill.

"Our bottom line is that we want to make sure that the medical marijuana is being tightly supervised through a health care provider and that it's being used for a legitimate medical purpose." 


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Michelle Southern reporting.
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle announces he'll be touring north Louisiana beginning this week. According to a release, the tour will travel through 27 parishes meeting with local officials, business owners, educators and other residents. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is brilliant strategy.

"He is very well known in the Acadiana Parishes of Louisiana," said Stockley. "But once you get north of I-10 his name recognition drops tremendously."

Recent polls have shown the Public Service Commissioner Angelle trailing the other three major candidates Democratic Representative John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and the leader, US Senator David Vitter. 

Stockley says north Louisiana has always been a hot spot for Vitter.

"He's got to cut into Vitter's base which means actually geographically going there," said Stockley.

Today Angelle will be in Madison and Tensas parishes hosting a meet-and-greet with over 150 sportsmen. 

In a prepared statement, Angelle says north Louisiana is crucial to the success of our state and voters there are looking for a governor who appreciates the vital role they play in our economy.

Stockley says this tour indicates that he's serious about this campaign.

"There's little question that Scott Angelle appears to be committed to this race."



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Michelle Southern reporting.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Allstate Sugar Bowl have put in a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2019 or 2020. New Orleans is already competing to host the Super Bowls in those same years. 

Jay Cicero, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President, says it would be their hope to get both big games in the same year.

"We'd love to host them back to back, 19 or 20 would be great," said Cicero.

It's being reported as many as 9 cities are bidding to host the big game between 2018-2020. 

Cicero says they've put together a great presentation and they know there will be many other potential host sites hoping to get the games.

"Every city that has an NFL stadium is interested and then there are others who have college stadiums that are interested," said Cicero.

New Orleans can't bid on 2018 because The Big Easy is already going to host the National Semifinal game that year. Cicero says there will be site visits over the summer and the decision will be made mid-October.

He says one of their main concerns is brand new stadiums, but a lot of those cities can't offer all New Orleans has to offer.

"They don't have the infrastructure, between us and the Sugar Bowl, and all of the other tourism entities who work together to attract an event like this and manage it," said Cicero.


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Michelle Southern reporting.
A football player for LSU is booked with felony domestic abuse for allegedly choking his fiance in the presence of children. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office Spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks says the victim claims she and 22-year-old Jevonte Domond got into a huge argument when the incident took place.

"During that argument, she says she was leaning over their baby's crib at which time he grabbed her neck and lifted her off the ground," said Hicks. "She stated she began to lose consciousness."

Hicks says Domond was arrested for felony domestic abuse battery by strangulation with minor children present. 

She says the woman claimed she was strangled by Domond to the point of almost completely blacking out.

"She said the child was present," said Hicks. "The woman says she tried to get away and several times she had to spray him with mace. Her injuries were consistent with her story."

Hicks says there was also a witness who corroborated the claim.

Domond is a junior who transferred to LSU last summer and played in one game. He is a 6-foot-6 offensive tackle and weighs 310 pounds. A spokesman from the team says he has been suspended. 

Hicks says the suspect told detectives there was a dispute that started earlier in the day when the woman pulled a knife on him on threatened him.

"She said she did pull a knife out but it was in self defense as he supposedly pushed her prior to the incident."


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Former US Senator Mary Landrieu has found a new job. She's been hired by the Washington DC lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman as a Senior Policy Advisor. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it's not a surprise for former Senators and US Representatives to accept these kind of jobs.
"This has gotten to be standard fare for retired Senators and Congressmen, especially those who have some tenure and who have had some time building up relationships on Capitol Hill," he says.
The company says Landrieu will advise clients on various public policy and regulatory issues with an emphasis on energy, natural resources and infrastucture matters. Dubos says Landrieu's career as a politician will help her out in her new occupation.
"She has half a lifetime of contacts, not only in the Senate, but also at the administrative level," he says.
Dubos says it's likely Landrieu's days in public office are over and this announcement signals a career change.
"When you accept a job at a lobbying firm, you pretty much signal that your days of running for office are over, and you're seguing into a parallel political universe on a different career track," he says.


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Michelle Southern reporting.
A bill that would ban sex selection abortions in Louisiana stalls in a Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposal by Representative Lenar Whitney would penalize doctors who knowingly end a pregnancy because of sex preference of the baby. 

The Houma lawmaker has argued that this is a problem in Asian communities where there is a preference for boys.

"Choosing to kill baby girls and letting baby boys live is just wrong," said Whitney. "If you're willing to kill baby girls, you should vote no."

New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson did not like the way Whitney worded that statement, "I want to know if you believe I would be a murderer If I vote no? You just said that, those were your words. That I would want to kill baby girls?"

"I think if the abortion was being performed because of sex selection," said Whitney.

The vote was 2-2 so the House approved measure will not go to the Senate floor for now.

Whitney says there is currently no evidence which suggests that abortions based on sex are a problem in Louisiana. 

Committee Chair New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says he couldn't support the legislation without evidence that this is taking place in Louisiana.

"This is kind-of like a solution in search of a problem," said Morrell. "I'm willing to work with you to try and collect the data to see if this is a problem, but we disagree on the timing of it."


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