News for Wednesday 043014
By Dave Graichen
Tomorrow is the National Day Of Prayer, an annual event that dates back to the early 1950’s. Among the activities, Three churches, Pentecostals of Alexandria, Calvary Baptist and Zion Hill Baptist, jointly organized a prayer event at the Alexandria Mall at noon. A quick community-led prayer gathering is set for 12:20-12:40 p.m. on the steps of Pineville City Hall and a multi-church community prayer event is set for 6:30 p.m. at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville.
State officials are looking into allegations that Ball Police Chief Melvin Williams sexually harassed a Male Ball police officer, by sending explicit texts. Williams said he expects to be exonerated by the AG’s office. He said the allegations are “politically motivated.”
Dale Skinner, high school principal in Natchitoches Parish since 2010, was elected as the district’s next superintendent Tuesday. The 74 year old Skinner of Zwolle, was chosen after three rounds of voting by the Natchitoches Parish School Board, eliminating fellow finalists Eddie Jones of Florien and Ruth Kay of Provencal. He received eight votes and Kay one in the final vote, which included two abstentions. He’ll take the place of Derwood Duke, who announced in January that he would retire effective today.
In response to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's call for immediate resignation of US Representative Vance McAllister. The 5th District congressman told Cantor he will not resign before his eight month term is finished, since that would make the second time in in less than a year that the 5th Congressional would be without representation.
A propose law that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun into certain restaurants that sell alcohol was approved by a Senate committee, Tuesday. 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 bill, which has already passed the House, now heads to the Senate floor.
Law enforcement groups and leaders from throughout the state gathered in Baton Rouge Tuesday to collectively oppose a bill that seeks to legalize medicinal marijuana. The legislation by New Iberia Senator Fred Mills is on a Senate committee agenda today.
An effort to put limits on “payday” loans in Louisiana died Tuesday in the state Senate after some twists and turns. Senate Bill 84 fell six votes short on a 20-17 vote. The bill needed 26 votes after Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, dealt supporters a blow by declaring it required two-thirds’ approval.
A Washington man is facing drug charges for being in possession of nearly 1000 bags of synthetic marijuana. The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office arrested 25-year-old Xavier Bush, Jr. after a
deputy seized five trash bags of various baggies from the trunk of his vehicle during a traffic stop. Bush is currently being held with no bond.
A bill that would toughen the penalties for heroin dealers in Louisiana passed out of a House committee Tuesday. Senator Dan Claitor's bill was amended and would now make the minimum
sentence for heroin distribution 10 years and the maximum would be 50 years. It now heads to the House floor.
Victims of domestic violence could not be discriminated against in housing under a measure that is on the way to the full state Senate. The Senate’s Committee on Judiciary A approved the legislation, one of a package of bills aimed at the growing domestic violence problem in the state. Under Broome’s bill, it would be unlawful to refuse to rent or sell any dwelling based solely on the individual is a victim of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse provision would be added to current law which deals with discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.
Legislation that started out as a way to bring back the electric chair as a way of executing a death row inmate was dramatically changed before it was approved by a House committee. The author of the bill, Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto, amended the legislation so that the state can keep secret the type of drugs they use to perform an execution. Louisiana and other states are seeking other ways to perform executions, because the makers of the drugs that are used in a
lethal injection are no longer distributing their product because of negative publicity. Lopinto's bill heads to the House floor for more discussion.
A senate bill that expands the state's ban on cockfighting was approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee, but not before some interesting testimony by a self-proclaimed cockfighting enthusiast. James Demourelle of Ville Platte told lawmakers that Jesus didn't have a problem with cockfighting. Lawmakers didn’t buy the argument. The bill passed and heads to the House floor.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe's Kitty Degree School of Nursing has been ranked as the ninth best nursing school in the United States by CollegeAtlas.org in its "A-List". ULM was the only school in the state to make the top 10, and was one of only two schools in the south to make the list.
Legislation that would establish the legal framework for surrogate births in Louisiana won quick approval by a Senate committee on Tuesday. HB187 applies only to a legally married man and woman who need a surrogate to carry their biological child because of medical problems. The couple would be the legal parents of the child. The parties would enter into a contract which would have to be approved by a court in advance of the embryo transfer.
LSU fans could be getting more Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium. Athletic Director Joe Alleva says he's made it clear to the SEC that night games in Death Valley are an important tradition that should
to be recognized. The league is said to be in talks with networks to work to make that happen.
New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson has given his full support regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's lifetime ban of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in light of racial comments. He will ask the rest of the NBA owners to vote, forcing Sterling to sell his three fourths majority of the team.
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.
News for Monday 042814
By Dave Graichen
After a round of strong storms on Sunday in north Louisiana, there is another slight risk of severe weather for most of the state today. And State Climatologist Barry Keim says that threat of severe weather continues into tomorrow because of a slow moving cold front. Keim says a few tornadoes are possible with this severe weather and for that reason he expects that we'll see watches and warnings for severe weather pop up throughout the day.
The full Senate will consider three bills today that deal with equal pay. One of the items of legislation would require that private employers pay men and women who do the same job, the same amount of
money. Julie Schwam Harris, spokesperson for the Legislative Agenda for Women, says Louisiana has the second largest pay gap in the US. With women only earning 67 cents for every dollar a man makes with a comparable job.
The debate over whether optometrists can perform certain surgical procedures is expected to be heard on the Senate floor this afternoon. Doctor of Optometry James Sandifer says the bill is about getting more eye care in rural areas and optometrists are allowed to perform these procedures in most other states. Ophthalmologists say having optometrists do these procedures puts patients at risk because they don't have the proper medical school training.
Congress returns from its two-week holiday recess today and its expected US Representative Vance McAllister will be in DC for the 1st time since video surfaced showing him kissing a married staffer. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says McAllister getting back to work is a sign he's been able to survive the scandal for now. McAllister has not made any public appearances since the scandal broke. But he issued an apology and the last written statement from his office said he plans to return to D-C following the holiday recess.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff's office says five people with connections to a fraudulent prescription drug ring were busted using meds to make and distribute the street drug known as "purple drank."
Sheriff Brett Stassi says prescriptions were being sent out by nurses at the Prime Heath Medical Center without the doctors knowledge. More arrests are expected.
LSU and Florida will remain a yearly date, even if one of them isn’t happy about it. The Southeastern Conference will continue to use its current eight-game football scheduling format for the foreseeable future, including the permanent cross-division game. It leaves the Tigers playing their annual game against Florida.LSU, along with other schools in the conference, had pushed for the elimination of the permanent cross-divisional rivalry. LSU has played Florida every year since 1971.
A fire tore through Bear Creek Saloon in Montpelier early Sunday, destroying the famed bar and music establishment hours after rock and country star Aaron Lewis graced the stage. State Fire Marshall Butch Browning says the fire began shortly after 3 a.m. and required more than 75 firefighters from several different fire departments to extinguish the blaze. Investigators will comb the scene today looking for a cause.
The 6th ranked LSU baseball team erupted for five runs in the eighth and went on to beat Tennessee 9-4 to take two of three from the Vols during their weekend series.
News for Friday 042514
By Dave Graichen
This is a huge festival weekend in Louisiana with at least a dozen festivals taking place across the state. Although a lot of focus is on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which kicks off today. Among the other festivals occurring this weekend are The Festival International in Lafayette, the Etoufee' Festival in Arnaudville, DeltaFest in Monroe, the Italian Heritage Festival in Kenner, and the Slabtown Festival in Ringgold.
The Senate approves a bill that would allow state lawmakers, who have a concealed handgun permit, to carry their gun into most public buildings, but not the state capitol. The capitol is a gun-free zone. But there are certain exceptions for state troopers who provide security and certain members of the judiciary. Franklin Senator Bret Allain says after first proposing to have legislators
armed as well, he got the message that no one wants guns at the Capitol.
Despite impassioned testimony Thursday about struggling families, leather-worn shoes and pockets devoid of change for the smallest chocolate bar, efforts to increase wages for the working poor in Louisiana appear to be dead for the legislative session. What was likely the last gasp came in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations, where state Sen. Ben Nevers asked his colleagues to advance legislation setting minimum wage at $9.50 an hour. Committee members listened, asked a few questions, killed Senate Bill 123 and then adjourned for the weekend.
It is about to be against the law in the state to sell e-cigarettes to minors. The House and the Senate unanimously agrees on legislation that closely resembles the ban of tobacco cigarettes to
those under the age of 18. The House Bill passed 88-0.
After an intense debate Thursday over whether or not to allow the sale of raw milk, lawmakers advanced the bill by Carencro Rep. Stephen Ortego. The vote was 9-6 and now heads to the House Floor.
The Louisiana Senate advanced legislation Wednesday to give a cost-of-living raise to more than 100,000 retired state employees, teachers, school employees and State Police. Before approving the measure, senators linked the 1.5 percent increase in retiree pension checks to passage of separate House legislation that would limit the amount and frequency of future increases.
Tomorrow the Louisiana State Police and several local enforcement will take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is an effort to help individuals rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs that are expired, unused, and unwanted. During last October's Take Back Day, nationwide, Americans turned in 324 tons of prescription drugs.
Grambling State University students approved an athletics fee that will generate an additional $1 million per year. Last season Grambling football players boycotted practices and a game over poor facilities and equipment and financial issues with the athletic department. Each student will pay a $100 fee per semester beginning this fall.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert poked some fun at the Louisiana Legislature on his show Wednesday night over one lawmaker's fight to keep the sport of chicken boxing alive. Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory opposes a bill that would expand Louisiana's ban on
cockfighting. The Senate ended up agreeing with New Orleans Senator JP Morrell's bill that would close certain loopholes in cockfighting laws. However, Colbert commends Senator Guillory for trying to keep big government out of our chicken sporting events.
A 22-year-old Lacassine man found dead yesterday morning has been identified. The Jefferson Davis Sheriff's office says that Timothy Mason Chambers was found dead near some rice dryers in Lacassine. The Sheriff's office also says it appears that Chambers’ death is either accidental or a suicide. Foul play is not suspected.
Alcohol infused ice cream could be coming to a store near you. Monroe Representative Marcus Hunter's legislation that would allow licensed alcohol retailers to sell wine ice cream finally made it out of a House committee on its third try. The bill heads to the House floor for more discussion. Hunter says the proposed law is written, so ONLY retailers that are licensed can sell wine ice cream, which should keep it from being sold to minors.
Law enforcement in northwest Louisiana say they arrested 49 people wanted on mostly felony drug charges during a round-up yesterday. Bossier Parish Sheriff's, Lt. Bill Davis, says the arrests concluded an 11-month investigation. Davis says meth charges accounted for most of the arrests...
The Richland Parish Sheriff's office says a 41-year-old corrections officer is under arrest for allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct with an inmate. They say a complained was lodged by the alleged
victim against Chris Moore of Columbia who was charged with two counts of malfeasance and sexual conduct prohibited with persons in custody.
The 6th ranked LSU baseball begins a three-game series tonight against Tennessee. The Volunteers are 7-and-11 in league play, while the Tigers have won 8 of their last 10 overall and they are one-and-a-half-games back of Alabama for first place in the SEC West.
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.
News for Wednesday 042314
By Dave Graichen
A survey released by two pro-voucher groups shows 92-percent of the parents who have children participating in the state's voucher program are satisfied and happy with their child's academic progress. The state's voucher program, also called the Louisiana Scholarship program, uses state funding to send children, from low income families attending poorly performing public schools, to an approved private school. 87-hundred students have already been awarded a scholarship for next school year.
The town of Washington in St. Landry Parish has been called out on the high number of tickets they've been writing on I-49. So, in response, a bill was introduced authored by Shreveport Rep Alan Seabaugh that only allows cities to write speeding tickets on an interstate if more than a half-mile of the interstate is in town limits. That bill passed on an 11-to-5 vote. It now goes to the House floor.
The hot button bill by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell that would lessen marijuana penalties in Louisiana is no more. SB 323, which says anyone charged with pot possession could get no more than 6 months in jail and a $100 fine on every offense, was deferred in committee. The matter is essentially dead for the session.
A bill that would ban employers from discriminating who they hire based on sexual orientation or gender identity is also done for the session. Representative Karen St. Germain from Pierre Part pulled the legislation because she knew there wouldn't be enough votes to pass it.
Legislation that would increase the maximum sentence to 99 years for those individuals who are convicted of manufacturing, distribution or possessing heroin is heading to the House. The full senate approved the measure on a 34-2 vote.
A bill requiring dogs to be restrained in the beds of pickup trucks passes on the House floor and heads to Senate. The measure by Kenner Representative Tom Willmott got a close 53-34 go-ahead vote. He says a dog loose in the back of a truck that's going 70 on an interstate is extremely unsafe.
The massive 5 day Festival International which brings in music and art lovers from all over the world, kicks off today in Lafayette. Kelly Strenge with the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau says this is a multicultural festival that draws thousands. Strenge says they are expecting between 300 to 350 thousand people to attend the festival through the weekend. You can get more information at festivalinternational.com.
Supporters to expand Medicaid coverage will rally on the state capitol steps this morning. Alma Stewart, Louisiana Center for Health Equity, says the rally will urge legislators to vote for a bill that would allow voters to decide if the state should accept federal dollars to expand health care coverage for an estimated 240-thousand low-income Louisiana adults....
The man from Bossier accused of murdering his wife in November has been found competent to stand trial. That word came down yesterday about the case where fifty-three year-od Robert Bond allegedly killed his wife Annie, dumped her body in Webster Parish, then left the state.
Two police officers from Eunice who chose not to assist another officer involved in a fight have been arrested. Officers Tayla Fruge and Jade Weaver were charged with malfeasance, and were place on administrative leave, this is pending an investigation by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's
News for Tuesday 042214
By Dave Graichen
The former executive director of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is facing theft and malfeasance charges. Kimberly Neal-Townley was booked into the the Rapides Parish jail yesterday. Lt. Tommy Carnline says after a year long investigation that included a review from the legislative auditor's office, Neal-Townley is facing several criminal counts. The legislative auditor's office report came out in February and alleges Neal-Townley paid herself 30-thousand for hours she did not work and for leave hours she did not earn. The audit also says Townley gave herself a pay raise without coliseum authority. Neal-Townley served as the executive director of the coliseum from 2010 until she resigned in February 2013.
A shooting in Colfax has left one woman dead, and a man charged with her death. Seventy year-old Loretta Williams was shot and killed over the weekend. Twenty-six year old Alex Hall was identified as the alleged shooter, and he's been charged with second-degree murder.
An accident yesterday on Barron Chapel Rd in Pineville claimed the life of 38 year old Brenda Starns of Holden. Starns was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 18 year old Trinity Sullivan. Sullivan was arrested and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. State Police suspect Sullivan was driving impaired, but routine toxicology tests are pending. An investigation continues
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he’s scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana’s official state book. Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody told the House of Representatives that he wouldn’t pursue the measure. He said lawmakers had told him they were worried the bill was becoming a distraction from more important debates, like on the state budget and education issues.
A State Judiciary Committee will hear a bill by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell Tuesday that would lessen the penalty of marijuana possession to a max 6 months in prison and a $100 fine -- no matter the number of offenses. It faces strong opposition from the Louisiana District Attorney Association and Executive Director Pete Adams who says the bill takes discretion away from DAs who often use marijuana possession offenses as a tool to remove career criminals from the streets. Morrell says if his bill passes, it would save the state millions of dollars each year.
Retirement eligibility would change for state employee and teachers hired after July 1 under a bill that cleared the Louisiana House on Monday. The retirement age would increase to 62 with at least five years of service, Today it is age 60 years of age with at least five years. The House voted 91-3 for House Bill 38.
With Monday’s check on gas prices, the American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.49. That's up over 4 cents from last Monday and up 20 cents from this time last month.
Tickets for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival are now on sale. The price is now $55 for any single day ticket but if you're waiting to see what the weather will do, you'll have to pay $70 at
the gate for the shows which begin this Friday.
Ninety-nine runners from Louisiana participated in yesterday’s Boston Marathon, the first one since last year's deadly bombing near the finish line. One of the athletes was the son of Colonel Mike
Edmonson, the Commander of the Louisiana State Police. It took Michael Edmonson Junior about three hours to finish the 26-mile race.
The full House approves a bill that would require abortion clinics to provide a pamphlet to women seeking an abortion that describes the possible psychological effects of ending a pregnancy. The bill passed on an 80 to 10 vote.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office has identified the man who attacked a woman last week in Opelousas with a cane knife and ended up dying during the attack. His name is 52-year-old Phillip Manuel of Opelousas. A cause of death is not known and it's also not known if Manuel knew his victim. The sheriff's office says the victim remains in stable condition, recovering from her wounds.
The state Senate rejected legislation Monday that would restrict the use of unmanned aircraft in Louisiana. Senate Bill 330, which died with 15 voting for it and 21 voting against it, was an attempt to sync Louisiana law with evolving technology. Other states already have adopted legislation addressing drones. The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to figure out how drones can coexist with commercial airplanes.
A Bunkie man tried to escape Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents Wednesday by swimming across a bayou, but he was quickly caught while in the water. 30 year old Shannon Stevenson jumped into Bayou Rouge near Bunkie after agents tried to check his license as Stevenson was fishing from more than 140 crawfish traps from the bayou's banks.
There's some good news out regarding the New Orleans Saints defense today. The Black and Gold has announced exercising the fifth year option for Pro-Bowl Defensive End Cameron Jordan. Twenty-five year-old Jordan led the Saints with 12 and a half sacks last season.
The LSU baseball team is ranked in the top 10 in three of the major college baseball polls heading into a five game home stand. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 and in 11 of those games they have given up 5 runs or fewer.
News for Monday 042114
By Dave Graichen
A Pineville man was killed Sunday morning when a pickup being driven by a Boyce man crossed the center line of Bayou Rapides Road and hit him head on. State police report 50 year old David Fowler died at the scene of the wreck. The driver of the pickup, 30 year old Daniel Verzwyvelt II received moderate injuries. Routine toxicology tests are pending, as are charges.
For the first time in the state's history, there are two-million people working in Louisiana. There are 35-thousand more people employed, compared to this time last year. Louisiana Workforce
Commission spokesperson Tom Guarisco says the number of working Louisianans should continue to grow. In a statement, Governor Jindal said surpassing the two million mark is proof that overhauling the ethics code, revamping the workforce training system and cutting taxes is paying off.
The 2nd-half of the legislative session begins as legislators return to Baton Rouge after an extended break for Easter. So far lawmakers have talked about Common Core, guns, abortion, the levee lawsuit against oil companies and chicken boxing. But Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the focus will soon turn to the budget.
An industry group has formed to lobby lawmakers to support legislation that would legalize medical marijuana which is scheduled to come up for debate this week. Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association spokesman and lobbyist Jesse McCormick believes support for the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes is growing in Louisiana. McCormick says while Louisiana citizens seem to support medical marijuana legalization, he's unsure on lawmakers stance just yet. He
says he believes the support is there, but some legislators have a tough time with it.
A new statewide poll on this year's US Senate race shows Senator Mary Landrieu leads three other republicans. In the survey of 538 voters, Landrieu had 40-percent, Congressman Bill Cassidy had 35-percent, retired Air Force Colonel Rob Manness at four percent and state representative Paul Hollis at three-percent. 18-percent of the respondents said they were undecided for the primary.
The latest campaign finance report for US Representative Vance McAllister shows the embattled Congressman only has eight-thousand dollars on hand. Which means that McAllister may have to fund his own campaign, if he seeks re-election.
Political analyst Elliot Stonecipher says Republican Congressman John Fleming is in good shape to be re-elected to a fourth term. His latest campaign fundraising report shows the doctor from Minden has over one- million dollars on hand. There is speculation Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover may challenge Fleming, but Stonecipher doesn't see it happening. Fleming raised 405-thousand dollars during the first quarter of 2014 and Stonecipher says there isn't another candidate out there who can raise that type of cash quickly
The P-G-A Tour returns to Louisiana this week as round one of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will get underway on Thursday at the T-P-C of Louisiana in Avondale. The Fore Kids Foundation is the producer of the tournament and C-E-O Fore Kids, Steve Worthy, says this year's field features 16 former major winners, plus other stars on the tour.
News for Thursday 041714
By Dave Graichen
Members of the House Criminal Justice committee shot down a proposal to allow some teachers and administrators to carry a gun on school campuses. The legislation is by Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo who says he's just trying to make criminals think twice before going on a killing spree at a school. But he recognized there was lots of opposition to the bill so he voluntarily deferred.
Speaking of guns, legislators won't be allowed to carry them around while they work at the Capitol either. The discussion was quite heated on the Senate Floor as both sides argued about Senate Bill 651 that would allow lawmakers to carry guns at the Capitol. It ended up failing by a vote of 23-12.
Leah Gordon, the staff member of Congressman Vance McAllister who is accused of leaking the video of the congressman’s scandalous kiss, has resigned as his Monroe District Office manager.
Adam Terry, McAllister’s chief of staff, confirmed her resignation late Wednesday. He said Gordon wasn’t fired and went on to say they won’t terminate or discipline any employee until after an internal investigation of the security breach is complete.
It's been almost four years since the BP oil spill, and Wednesday it was announced that the "active" clean-up following the Deepwater Horizon disaster has come to an end. BP says that they will continue to be available should any more oil show up on the Louisiana coastline. (More than $14 billion dollars was spent in the clean-up effort)
Two bodies were found inside a vehicle that was on fire in Vermilion Parish. Sheriff's deputies made the gruesome discovery around 9 Thursday morning. Major Darryl LeBlanc, with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Department says it will take a while before they are able to get an ID on the victims. LeBlanc says the deaths are currently considered to be suspicious.
State Police say a man was fatally shot by law enforcement with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's office in order to stop him from attacking his 70-year-old mother.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputies say a fight between two step brothers resulted in one shooting and killing the other. The shooter claimed he was acting in self-defense.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe has been ranked by Business Insider Magazine as the most underrated college in Louisiana. There were 50 colleges along with ULM on the underrated list which had great academics, high acceptance rates and strong in-state populations…
A Louisiana House-passed measure that would ban use of photo speed enforcement devices on Louisiana’s interstate highways neared final legislative passage Wednesday. The Senate Transportation and Public Works Committee - without objection - sent House Bill 896 to the Senate floor for approval.
The House Education Committee approves a bill that gives public schools the authority to put up nativity scenes and Christmas trees as part of a holiday display. The author of the measure is Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh, who says it's the Merry Christmas bill. Seabaugh says he gets calls every year from public schools, asking if they can have a Christmas play or put up a Christmas tree. He says the Supreme Court has ruled that it's not a violation of church and state
and therefore he would like it written into state law.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has announced some additions to the LSU football schedules. The "home and home" series with Syracuse University will have the Tigers travel to the Carrier Dome in 2015, then a return to Tiger Stadium against the Orange in 2017.
News for Wednesday 041614
By Dave Graichen
It's been a rough ride for Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard, with many students and board members calling for his resignation recently. Tuesday the Board of Trustees announced their
plans to make him a President Emeritus and a tenured professor. Dr. Argile Smith, dean of the LC divinity school, was named interim president while the school searches for a replacement.
Embattled US Representative Vance McAllister will not make any public appearances this week, but he will return to work in Washington D-C when Congress returns from a two-week holiday recess. McAllister has not been seen publicly since video was made public that showed him kissing a staffer that was also married. In a written statement, his office said McAllister is with his wife and family for
the rest of the Easter recess.
A senate committee has approved legislation this Tuesday that would allow judges to sentence individuals convicted of heroin distribution or possession to 99 years in prison. The bill heads to
the Senate floor.
A bill that would take the unenforceable anti-sodomy law off Louisiana's books did not pass on the House floor Tuesday. The legislation by Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith only got 27
yes votes and needed 53 to pass. Anti-Sodomy laws were invalidated nationwide by the US Supreme Court in 2003
The Jindal Administration launches a campaign that encourages schools, businesses and restaurants to help Louisiana citizens live healthier. Jindal says it's called the "Well-Ahead Health Initiative" and those entities that choose to participate would be considered a "Well Spot" if they meet a certain amount of criteria set forth by the Department of Health and Hospitals.
A senate committee approves a bill to ban the use of drones to photograph people on private property without permission, but a couple of lawmakers have concerns. The measure contains several exceptions, including for law enforcement. Despite the concerns, the bill passed without objection and heads to the Senate floor.
As the legislative session continues in Baton Rouge today, the House Criminal Justice Committee is scheduled to hear a bill that would allow principals, and even teachers, to bring a gun on a school campus, if they have a concealed gun permit and have undergone required training.
A woman from Haughton and a male friend from Bossier City were arrested Monday night for conspiring to murder her husband this past weekend. Cassie Sims and Patrick Pierce were taken into custody for devising a plan to murder Sims' husband Sunday morning. Pierce and Sims admitted to detectives they developed the plan, however; while attempting to carry out the plot, the husband disarmed Pierce who then fled. Multiple charges have been filed. Bonds are
With today's check on gas prices, we're now paying 20 cents more for a gallon of regular than we were this time last month. The American Automobile Association says the price is $3.46 right now and jumped another penny last night.
State Superintendent of Education John White got a favorable review in his annual job evaluation, officials said Tuesday. The review was done by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Chas Roemer, president of the board, made the announcement after an hour-long, closed door meeting with White and the panel. The scores mean that, for the second year in a row, White is got the second highest of four ratings, effective/proficient. That is defined as meeting between 75 percent and 99 percent of the annual goals.
Fans of Bruce Springsteen slated to attend his show at Jazzfest this year will be getting a lot more bang for their buck. Officials with the fest announced Monday the E Street Band will now be getting a slot that's 2 hours and 45 minutes long.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gave some encouraging news today about Louisiana's Whooping Crane Population. A mating pair has produced eggs in the wild for the first time in seventy years. The eggs will be under observation by project biologists.
News for Tuesday 041514
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana College board of trustees is meeting on campus today to discuss among things the future of it’s president Dr. Joe Aguillard. The 34 members will decide if Aguillard will be removed or given a new contract. About 50 Louisiana College alumni, students, faculty and community members joined hands in prayer for the private Baptist school in Pineville on Monday, as well as looking for guidance with the board’s decision.
A spokesperson for Republican former congressman Rodney Alexander says that he does not intend to run for his old congressional seat, currently held by embattled congressman Vance McAllister. Robin Keller, Alexander's spokesperson says that Alexander has no interest in the 5th District seat. Alexander gave up the congressional seat last year to become Governor Jindal's veteran affairs secretary.
Chilly weather is back in the bayou state today as a result of that strong cold front that produced severe weather across the state yesterday. A damaging storm ripped though the town of Gautier (goh-SHAY) Mississippi last night toppling trees and destroyed or damaged up to 30 RV trailers at a local campground. State Climatologist Barry Keim says make sure you have a jacket with you today as highs will only be in the low 60s. Keim says the cold weather will last until tomorrow and there's a chance we can break some record lows tomorrow as temperatures will dip into the 30s for much of the state.
Today is tax day and there are millions of Americans who still haven't filed and are waiting till the last minute. The IRS says if you plan to file electronically, it must be done by midnight tonight. If you make less than $58,000 a year, you can log on to irs.gov and choose from 14 different commercial software companies and file your federal taxes for free. By the way, Three out of four filers get refunds and they are issued within 21 days for the most part.
In a survey of 600 likely voters in the 6th district congressional race, 52-percent said they would NOT vote for former governor Edwin Edwards. 31-percent said they would vote for him, while 17-percent are undecided. LSU Political Science Professor Kirby Goidel says the survey has 11-percent voting for Paul Dietzel and another 11-percent for state senator Dan Claitor. Goidel feels that Edwards is actually sitting in a strong position to at least make a runoff election .
A man who kidnapped a school bus driver in Baton Rouge at gunpoint surrendered to authorities after a stand-off that lasted for several hours. The BRPD SWAT team was called out to the house just a block away from an elementary school where 37 year old Jock Jones was holding the female bus driver hostage. He eventually gave himself up without incident.
A distracted driver texting on a cell phone crashed his car into the back of a Calcasieu Parish School Bus on Highway 171 Monday morning. One of the injuries was reportedly a child on the bus. Nineteen year-old Tyler Moses of Longville-who was also injured-was charged with texting while driving, careless operation, and failure to stop for a school bus.
The Lafayette Police Department says they have interviewed the two men who found the phone of a woman whose body was discovered in Girard Park early Sunday. The two are not considered persons of interest in the death of 21-year-old Alexandria Shelton of Lafayette. The cause of death of the woman has not yet been released, however police are now saying her death was not the result of a homicide. The investigation continues.
Former LSU linebacker Tahj Jones is recovering after a second surgery Sunday afternoon from a gunshot wound. Jones was shot in the abdomen late Friday night allegedly by another former LSU football player, Brandon Winey. Winey was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of second degree attempted murder.
A man who is suspected of being an armed robber in at least two cases in Northwest Louisiana was apprehended after a long chase through Caddo Parish Sunday night. Several agencies were involved in the chase of Terry Leroy Smith who ended up being shot by officers after he allegedly pointed a gun at them. His injuries are not considered life threatening and he faces a laundry list of charges when he gets out of the hospital.
A bill that would require dogs to be secured in the beds of pickup trucks traveling on interstates cleared committee 13-2 yesterday. The legislation heads to the full house.
News for Monday 041414
By Dave Graichen
According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets index, the Baton Rouge housing market is the most rapidly recovering in the nation, and New Orleans is No. 9 on the list. Norman Morris is the CEO of the Louisiana Realtors Association. He says areas across the state are seeing a nice housing boom. He also says The Bayou State weathered the recent housing recession better than most states.
Northwestern State University President Randy Webb announced Friday he will retire later in the year. Under Webb, Northwestern State has received national and international attention for its academic programs and student accomplishments.
LSU has completed a survey on two social issues that are gaining a lot of attention, the legalization of marijuana and same sex marriages. Amy Reynolds, director of the Reilly Center for Media and Public affairs says they found the support for legalizing marijuana in Louisiana is on the rise with 79% of people saying pot should be legal for medical use. She says the support for same sex marriages increased from 39 to 42 percent over the past year as well.
A Democratic lawmaker from Amite is criticizing Republican leaders for calling for the resignation of Congressman Vance McAllister, when they backed Senator David Vitter amidst his scandal. La. GOP chairman Roger Villere said McAllister is a hypocritical embarrassment. Rep. John Bel Edwards, who plans to run for Governor says Villirie is the hypocrite. Edwards questions why Vitter taking phone calls from prostitutes is any different from Congressman McAllister making out with a married woman who worked for him.
The Sulphur Police Department says a former LSU football player was shot Friday night. They say Tahj Jones, who played for The Tigers as a linebacker and was at last week's Pro Day, was allegedly injured by a bullet and taken to a hospital. He is said to be in stable condition. An arrest has been made according to authorities but a suspect's name is not being released at this time.
The largest cruise ship ever to be docked at the Port of New Orleans arrives today. The 36-hundred passenger Carnival Dream will begin year round, 6 day Caribbean departures starting at 4 o'clock this afternoon. Senior Vice President of Fleet Deployment Terry Thornton says this ship is 30% bigger than their last ship and can hold 4 thousand people.
The House Transportation committee is scheduled to hear a bill today that would designate a section of I-49 in St. Landry Parish as a "Slow Down Speed Trap." The bill is by Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh introduced the bill. The proposed law calls on the department of transportation to place signage near the Washington exit reflecting the highway designation. Seabaugh believes that the town of Washington is not using the speed limit laws as they were intended.
A lawmaker from Kenner wants people to be required to have a dog secured in a humane manner when the animal is in the back of a pickup truck traveling on the interstate. Representative Tom Willmott's House Bill 1091 would do just that. He says dogs in the bed of a truck that is going a high rate of speed could be considered an unsecured load. Willmott says he's heard several stories about dogs flying out of trucks on interstates who then get run over and killed. He also says these types of incidents could cause serious crashes.
The full senate is scheduled to vote on a bill this afternoon that would require judges to sentence a person convicted of a home invasion armed with a dangerous weapon to five years in prison. Right now, there's no minimum jail time, while the maximum sentence is 30 years. The legislation was approved unanimously by a state senate committee last week.
News For Friday 041114
By Dave Graichen
Several local businesses were recognized Thursday at the Central Louisiana Torch Awards. The awards, presented by the Better Business Bureau, recognize local companies and nonprofits in areas such as integrity and customer service. This Year’s winners were: Hixson Brothers Funeral Home for Integrity. Chick-fil-A for customer Commitment, The nonprofit Award went to St. Mary’s Residential Training School of Alexandria and finally, the Good Neighbor Award went to Our parent company, Cenla Broadcasting. Congratulations to all involved.
No raise in the $7.25 minimum wage in Louisiana this year. A series of bills that would have done just that failed to pass out of the House Labor committee on Thursday. Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, testified a higher minimum wage in the state would lead to lay-offs and higher prices for consumers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal bolstered the Louisiana Republican Party’s call Thursday for 5th district congressman Vance McAllister to resign in the wake of a “kissing congressman” controversy. The governor, in a prepared statement said “Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign. He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress. Earlier in the day, the GOP made a similar request.
A bill that would name the Holy Bible as the official state book of Louisiana passes out of a House committee yesterday. The measure passed on an 8-5 vote and now heads to the house floor.
Federal officials have warned Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration that it will withhold $307 million in Medicaid money from the state if no agreement has been reached on financing plans for the privatized LSU hospitals. Jindal’s health secretary, Kathy Kliebert, said Thursday the announcement was expected because of continuing negotiations over financing plans for uninsured care at LSU hospitals that have been privatized. Most of LSU’s charity hospitals were turned over to private managers, but federal officials haven’t decided yet whether they’ll agree to the money arrangements used to pay the new hospital operators.
The Colorado State University hurricane forecast team is calling for a below-average hurricane season. C-S-U researcher Phil Klotzbach says they anticipate nine named storms and only three hurricanes this year. Klotzbach says an El Nino will likely develop in the Pacific, which will effect storm development in the Atlantic. The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making
landfall on US soil and Klotzbach says there's a 19-percent chance of a Category 3 or higher hurricane hitting the gulf coast.
One of the state's largest festivals gets underway today, The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival gets underway at 4:00 today and it's estimated to attract 200-thousand people over the next three days.
Tax Day is just a few days away, which means thousands of Louisiana taxpayers will spend this weekend filling out their tax forms. I-R-S spokeswoman Lea Crusberg says once you get your paperwork together electronic filing may be the way to go. The deadline for filing your taxes is midnight on April 15. Crusberg says if you need to file for an extension, it is easy to get one. But, that will not let you off the hook for your tax bill.
The presence of LSU Athletics generated almost $400 million dollars in new sales and $119 million in new household earnings for the four parishes surrounding the university in 2012. That's according to a study conducted but former LSU economics professor Dr. Loren Scott. He says these numbers are quadruple what they were in 2002.
Good news for crawfish lovers. As temperatures are finally starting to warm up, the supply of crawfish is heating up and the price is going down. The size of the mud bugs are still rather small. But, the President of the Crawfish Farmers Association David Savoy says they should be getting larger as the weeks go by.
News for Thursday 041014
By Dave Graichen
The House Labor Committee is scheduled to hear several bills today that would raise the state's minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. One of the items of legislation would raise it to $10.10 which opponents say would force businesses to hire fewer people. Proponents say it would give workers a livable wage.
Gas prices keep climbing. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular jumped two pennies last night to $3.41. That's also up 17 cents from last month.
The Colorado State University Forecast team will issue its initial forecast for the 2014 season today. State Climatologist Barry Keim anticipates Doctor William Gray and Phil Klotzbach will call for an
average season, because there's a 50 percent chance an El Nino will form later this year. Keim says an average season would be 10 to 12 named storms. He says an El Nino makes it less conducive for storms to form in the Atlantic.
The office of Vance McAllister says they are backing off their request that the FBI investigate whether or not the leaking of the surveillance kissing video was a federal breach in security. Legal analyst Tim Meche doesn't think a crime took place. He says this video came from a surveillance camera at the office and everyone knew it was there. Word is now, the state’s GOP Executive Committee, may today ask McAllister to resign.
The pending closure of Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville is moving ahead, with the latest step coming with Senate approval. Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 48 was adopted by a 26-11 vote on Tuesday. It next goes to the House for consideration. HPL was the last of the state’s public hospitals to have its services transferred to private partners. A cooperative endeavor agreement between the state, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center is transferring those services to clinics operated by the two hospitals and the hospitals themselves.
A plan that would create a $40 million pot of money that Louisiana’s colleges and universities would then compete over, sailed through the state House overwhelmingly Wednesday on a 100-0 vote. The plan would set aside 80 percent of the funding for workforce development. Every public college or university in the state would get a shot to collect a share of the money depending on how many graduates they produce in high-demand fields such as computer science and engineering. In order to draw down the funds, schools would have to come up with a 20 percent match in private investments. It now heads to the Senate for a vote.
The House Health and Welfare committee approved a bill Wednesday that would require abortion clinics to provide information to the patient about possible psychological effects associated with ending a pregnancy. Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says this info will be contained in a pamphlet that women seeking abortions would receive. The measure passed without objection and now heads to the House floor.
The House Criminal Justice Committee agreed with a bill today that would remove the state's anti-sodomy law from the state's books. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says she authored this bill, because the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the law violates the constitution. The bill now heads to the house floor.
A bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun into certain places that sell alcohol passed Wednesday afternoon on the House Floor. The bill now heads to the Senate for
A bill that would ban motorists from using certain hand held cell phones in school zones got approval from the full House Wednesday. House Bill 370 received unanimous approval and now heads to the Senate.
Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres has suspended three of his deputies for allegedly giving special treatment to a New Roads police officer who was involved in a crash, while off-duty. The
officer, Captain Mark Munson, was suspected of driving while drunk and he's been suspended too.
News for Wednesday 040914
By Dave Graichen
Sad story today out of Winnfield. Winn Parish Sheriff Cranford Jordan (Jerdon) says the search for a three year old little boy who fell into a creek Monday has ended with the boy’s body being found. He says they received the 911 call around 10:30 am Monday about a child who had fallen into the water. Jordon says the boy slipped under a culvert and he drowned.
5th district congressman Vance McAllister in an exclusive interview with The (Monroe) News-Star, said he asked his wife, Kelly, and their five children for forgiveness weeks ago, before the release Monday of a video showing him kissing another woman. He said the relationship was “absolutely” his first infidelity.
So how might the Vance McAllister kissing video scandal affect the election for the 5th District Seat coming up this fall? Political analyst Elliott Stonecipher says this might be the end of McAllister. Stonecipher believes the reason someone wanted to tarnish McAllister's reputation is so that more candidates would jump into the Congressional race. He feels state Senator Neil Riser, who was Bobby Jindal's choice for the job in the 2013 special election, will pop back up. Stonecipher believes the Jindal Administration and Timmy Teeple are behind this. Stonecipher says there's also a rumor that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has an interest in yanking McAllister's family values platform.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office says two deputies have been arrested and fired for allegedly engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with an inmate at the jail. Spokesman Tommy Carnline says the charges are against 56-year-old John William Benjamin and 51-year-old Donald Weston. Carnline says Benjamin and Weston were each charged with Malfeasance in Office and Prohibited Sexual Contact with an inmate.
The senate health and welfare committee gives unanimous approval to legislation that would give hospitals the ability to NOT hire someone just because that person smokes. The bill by New Orleans Senator David Heitmeier has the support of the hospital industry. Catherine Levendis, with the Ochsner Health System, spoke in favor of the bill. Levendis says hospitals are also interested in implementing a tobacco free living policy for its workers, because they want to protect patients from known carcinogens that could be found on a smoker's clothes, hair or skin.
A bill that would ban unmanned aircraft devices from flying over chemical plants or water facilities passed in a Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White's says he bill would make it illegal use a drone to take surveillance of "critical infrastructure sites" without prior written consent of the owner. The measure advanced to full Senate without objection.
A senate committee approves legislation that would allow lawmakers who possess a concealed handgun permit to bring their gun into the state capitol. Franklin Senator Brent Allain says legislators should have the ability to protect themselves. He says the proposed law requires an armed legislator to undergo annual firearms training. The measure passed on a five-to three vote and heads to the Senate floor.
The latest campaign finance reports show US Senator Mary Landrieu continues to our raise her main republican challenger in the 2014 US Senate race. Landrieu's campaign says the Senator raised 1.8 million dollars in the first three months of 2014, while Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy collected 1-point-2 million dollars. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says you can expect to start seeing the money being spent on ads here in about two or three months.
Penalties would go up dramatically in vehicular homicide cases involving accidents in which two or more people die under a bill headed to the Senate floor. The Senate Committee on Judiciary C approved the measure Tuesday under which the offender would be sentence separately for each victim. In addition, the sentences would run consecutively. Senate Bill 148 would also include the unborn who dies along with a pregnant woman as a feticide victim. The feticide provision was added in committee.
Representatives from all 32 NFL teams are in Baton Rouge today to scout LSU players that are eligible for next month's draft. It's a big day for quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who is expected to throw in front of scouts, for the first time since tearing his A-C-L in November. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier says LSU will have 20 former players participating in a variety of drills during today's Pro Day. Detillier says there's only one sure first round pick out of the group and that's wide receiver Odell Beckham junior.
News for Tuesday 040814
By Dave Graichen
Freshman GOP Congressman Vance McAllister has issued an apology in response to the video released Monday showing him romantically kissing a woman for almost 30 seconds from inside his congressional office in Monroe. The Monroe News Star says Vance McAllister issued statement asking for forgiveness from his family and constituents Monday afternoon.
A statewide poll shows that voters in Louisiana are generally split on the idea of Common Core, but would support education reform. The study indicated 41% of people are for common core, while 40% percent are against it. But it also asked how they felt about implementation of education standards that are more in line with most other schools across the US and only 27% of people say that oppose that.
According to an audit released Monday, the state should beef up its bridge inspection process in Louisiana. Legislative auditor Daryl Purpera's report says the Department of Transportation is just fully compliant with 39% of federal standards in place to be used for bridge inspections. DOTD spokeswoman Lauren Lee says they are happy with their bridge inspection program. But she says they do agree with the audit's recommendations that they should improve its inspection frequency, procedures and bridge inventory.
Another legislative audit report that came out Monday, estimates districts courts were not able to collect 126-million dollars in court costs and fines. The report says collection efforts need to be
According to the WWE, Wrestlemania 30 broke the record for the most money ever spent at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Sunday event brought in over 75,000 people and grossed $10.9 million dollars.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Deputies are asking for public help in locating two missing juveniles. 12 year-old Ariel Blaze Robin was last seen getting into a 2001 Mercury driven by 15 year-old Henry
Bieber, Jr. Both suffer from severe depression and are considered at risk. If you have any information, please call St. Landry Crimestoppers.
A state Senate committee is expected to hear legislation today that will prohibit using drones to take pictures of private property. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says he wants Louisiana
laws to keep up with technology and promote privacy. Claitor says the bill will not impact the use of drones for law enforcement purposes that help with crime scene investigations.
The House overwhelmingly approves a bill that would fine someone $300 if they threw a cigarette butt out of a car window. Marrero Representative Patrick Connick says his legislation is intended to
stop the littering of cigarette butts. The House passed the bill on a 95 to 1 vote and it now heads to the Senate for further discussion.
The state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Monday that would strengthen the state’s 2008 ban on cockfighting. The bill sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell would expand the state’s ban on cockfighting to include all types of chickens. It also would make it a crime to possess paraphernalia, such as razors, spurs, leather spur covers and other items commonly used in the sport, together with chickens that have been trained as fighting birds. The measure passed on a 31-7 vote, but not before senators again debated the merits of a “sport” known as “chicken boxing.”
News for Monday 040714
By Dave Graichen
A new poll on Louisiana's US Senate race shows Senator Mary Landrieu leading three republican challengers. In a survey of 600 voters, 39-percent favored her, while 26-percent preferred GOP Congressman Bill Cassidy. State representative Paul Hollis and retired air force colonel Rob Maness received single digit support in the poll. 28-percent of respondents said they were undecided.
A look ahead to the 2015 governor's race shows a statistical tie between republican senator David Vitter and democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Vitter is running, while it's unknown if Landrieu will run. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross doesn't expect Landrieu to run, so it's Vitter's race to lose. In the Magellan Strategies poll of 600 voters, Vitter received support from 28-percent of the respondents, 26-percent said they would vote for Landrieu and another 13-percent backed republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.
Grambling State President Frank Pogue announces he's retiring and his last day at the university is June 30th. Pogue says when he came out of retirement to take the job as GSU's president, he planned to stay for five years, but that wasn’t to be. Pogue says the last few years have been challenging as the university's state funding was cut by more than 56-percent.
Today marks the start of Work Zone Awareness Week and the State Department of Transportation is asking motorists to slow down in construction zones and pay attention. DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas says this awareness week makes drivers more mindful of safety issues on the road. Based on the latest statistics available, 609 people nationwide lost their lives in construction zones in 2012 and 12 were from Louisiana.
The bill that will create a penalty for throwing cigarette butts from a vehicle is set to come up on the House floor today. State Representative Patrick Connick says he wants to clarify the law and make cigarette butts count as a form of litter. Under the proposed law, violators would be fined 300 dollars and ordered to perform eight hours of community service. The Marrero rep says when the bill was discussed in committee there was no opposition because lawmakers seem to understand this is an issue.
A bill that a lawmaker from Opelousas fears will ruin the sport of chicken boxing is scheduled to come up on the Senate floor today. The legislation by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell expands Louisiana's ban on cockfighting by applying all chickens to the law and also making it illegal to own such paraphernalia. Senator Elbert Guillory opposes. Guillory says under Senate Bill 523, anyone who owns any type of aggressive chicken would be breaking the law which he calls ludicrous. He says it's time for everyone in Louisiana to realize that "chicken boxing" is a real sport and it's perfectly legal.
State Senator Bret Allain, R-Franklin, wants legislators to be able to pack a pistol in the State Capitol chambers and committee rooms. According to the lawmaker, they make votes all the time that are controversial, that sometimes upset groups of people. He think that legislators as a whole should have the same right to protect themselves as judges and Da’s Allain submitted Senate Bill 651 just before the filing deadline for new legislation. The bill must be debated in the next two months in order to reach the governor’s desk.
News for Friday 040414
By Dave Graichen
Investigators from the Louisiana State Police and the FBI arrested the chief of police and an officer from the town of Lecompte yesterday. Chief Mikel White was charged with extortion, malfeasance in office, and false imprisonment. Officer Gregory Armstead was charged with malfeasance in office and false imprisonment. The charges stem from an incident last month in which chief white was captured on video threatening a man who owed him money. The victim was handcuffed and taken into custody by Officer Armstead at the order of the Chief. The victim was eventually released without being charged for any crime.
Could the discussion of Common Core be essentially dead for the session? A bill that would scrap the new controversial education standards set to begin next year was voted down by the House Education Committee 12-7 yesterday, despite Governor Bobby Jindal's last minute backing.
Testimony continues today in the penalty phase of Brian Horn's capital murder trial. Horn has already been convicted for killing 12 year old Justin Bloxom in 2010. Horn was found guilty of picking up Justin in a Taxi after sending texts pretending to be a girl. Horn ended up strangling the child and leaving his body in a wooded area. The DA says they are seeking the death penalty.
There was a bill to reduce the penalties of simple marijuana possession introduced by New Orleans Representative Austin Badon. Now it looks as if it won't be able to get out of the House Criminal Justice Committee. Badon was trying to make a case that the current 20 year sentence is excessive. His proposal would have reduced the penalty to five years.
Also not leaving committee today was a Senate Bill by Mike Walsworth of West Monroe that would allow certain people to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. There was no discussion on the legislation that only got 5 votes and failed 3-2. Those who oppose the bill say data clearly indicates wearing a helmets saves lives.
The Louisiana House supported a rewrite of Louisiana’s career-track diploma law, to match a new policy of the state education board that will require public high school students who aren’t college-bound to get job skills certifications to get a diploma. House Bill 944 by state Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, was sent to the state Senate with a 94-0 vote Thursday. The redesign, pushed by Superintendent of Education John White, emphasizes skills training for students who don’t intend to go to a four-year university.
Public school students in Louisiana who show proficiency in a language other than English could be able to get a state “Seal of Biliteracy” on their diplomas, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House in an 86-0 vote Thursday. House Bill 1016 by state Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, would encourage local school districts to participate in the program, but wouldn’t require it.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says a woman who was trying to get away from her husband with a divorce was found killed allegedly by his hand before the man turned the gun on himself. They say their teenage son found his parents around midnight Thursday morning in the Gonzales residence. The wife was dead and the husband had a gunshot wound to the head but was still alive and is currently listed in serious condition. The investigation is ongoing.
The state House approves a package of domestic violence bills sponsored by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno. One of the, House Bill 753 received unanimous support. Moreno says this legislation will prevent certain offenders of domestic violence from owning a gun. Another bill that passed Thursday enhances the penalties for anyone that violates a restraining order or protective order. The measures head to the Senate.
The Lafayette Police Department says the mother of a 5 month old baby who died of suffocation in January is charged with murder. They say the child was brought to the hospital where the mother reported a plastic shopping bag had covered her baby's head. Corporal Paul Mouton says they received new information in the case and the woman, 20-year-old Raven Senegal of Lafayette, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 1st degree murder.
With hurricane season coming up, emergency preparedness officials are going through a statewide training exercise that's testing their disaster response capabilities. Kevin Davis, director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says federal, state and local agencies are participating in this drill.
20th ranked LSU hosts 9th ranked Mississippi State tonight at Alex Box Stadium. Aaron Nola has been the Tigers traditional Friday starter, but Coach Paul Mainieri will pitch freshman Jared Poche instead tonight. Nola will pitch tomorrow night. Mainieri says since Nola pitched last Saturday, he wanted to rest him six days, before he pitched him again.
News for Thursday 040314
By Dave Graichen
An unidentified man died Wednesday morning after being struck by a train in Ball. Authorities report the engineer of the Union Pacific train saw a pedestrian walking northbound along a train track as he rounded a corner. The train’s whistle was blown, but the man, who appeared to be in his early 20, did not respond. He was struck by the train and killed. It’s reported he was wearing headphones with loud music playing. Ball police believe the man may have been homeless or someone who lives in the area.
A public meeting is set for today to present information about an upcoming city of Alexandria election for a tax to fund recreation and the Alexandria Zoo. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Alexandria Senior High School. The election on May 3 will ask Alexandria residents to vote on a proposal for a 6-mill property tax. Three mills would be dedicated to funding recreation and three to the zoo.
Legislation that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun inside a restaurant that sells alcohol now heads to the House Floor. House Bill 72 by Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto passed in House Criminal Justice by a 9-4 vote.
A jury of six men and six women have found a child sex offender from North Louisiana guilty. Brian Horn was found guilty yesterday afternoon of kidnapping and killing 12 year-old Justin Bloxum in 2010. It took the jury less than one hour to come to that verdict after closing arguments. Horn is eligible for the death penalty.
Gas prices statewide have increased by more than 10 cents in the past month. The American Automobile Association Fuel Analyst Don Redman says the average price in Louisiana right now is about $3.35 because refineries are switching from a winter blend to a summer blend of gas but Redman says they aren't expecting prices to skyrocket. Redman says he hopes the max high for gas prices in our state will be about $3.50 a gallon.
The House Criminal Justice committee will hear a bill today that would reduce the maximum prison sentence for those who are convicted of possessing marijuana on multiple occasions. House Bill 14 would reduce maximum prison time on a 3rd pot possession conviction to five years and beyond that the max would be eight years in prison. Under current law, someone who has three or more convictions of possession of marijuana could be sentenced to a maximum 20 years in jail.
A huge parade and party is happening on Fort Polk today to honor the members of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division who recently returned from their nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Anne Causey is the Executive Director of the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, she says everything kicks off today at 1pm. The public is invited to attend all of the day’s events.
A lawmaker from Opelousas is concerned legislation headed to the Senate floor that broadens Louisiana's ban on cockfighting would interfere with the sport of chicken boxing. Senate Bill 523 would make possessing any type of cockfighting paraphernalia a felony. But Senator Elbert Guillory says the Baton Rouge Senator JP Morrell's law would criminalize chicken boxing. Guillory compared chicken boxing to human kick boxing and said it's perfectly legal. The plea was on deaf ears, Morrell's bill ended up passing 4-2.
Houma police say the pit bull responsible for the death of a 4-year-old little girl last week did not have rabies. The test was requested after the animal viciously attacked Mia DeRouen who later
died at a local hospital from injuries to her head and neck. Police say the investigation is still ongoing, but Animal Control reported the dog cannot be tested for steroids because he is dead.
If you like to dance, check this out. Coming up this Saturday producers of the squeal to the movie Pitch Perfect are looking for Louisiana male and a female dancers for the film. A casting call is
set for 11am-6pm Saturday at Ric Seeling's Dance Studio in Baton Rouge.
Police in New Orleans are investigating the discovery of a dead Reserve couple, whose bodies were pulled from the Intracoastal Waterway in New Orleans East. Authorities think that they may have been murdered, as both victims were found bound. The body of twenty-nine year old Lakeitha Joseph was found several weeks ago, and Kenneth Joseph's body was found about a week ago.
If you're going to break into a home, don't try and do it while a U.S. Attorney is walking his dog. Especially if it's U.S. Attorney James Green. He was on that walk when he saw a man trying to
burglarize a relative's home in Baton Rouge. Judge Green confronted the man, they struggled, and the suspect fled. Police caught up with 58 year-old Sidney J. Parker and charged him with simple burglary and simple battery.
The Super Bowl of wrestling is coming to New Orleans this weekend. Wrestlemania 30 will be held at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome on Sunday. StubHub Spokesperson Cameron Papp says ticket sales are going really well for this event. Papp says a big draw to Wrestlemania this year is the location. He says people are eager to visit New Orleans and a lot of visitors from Texas and New York are expected to attend.
News For Wednesday 040214
By Dave Graichen
It didn’t take long, Alexandria Police have charged a Pineville man with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Laredo, Texas man, whose body was found Monday afternoon in the 100 block of Chester Street. 31 year old Mark Russell Thomas was arrested Monday night and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Thomas is accused of shooting 37 year old Jenain Simmons. The motive behind the shooting has not been released by the police as the investigation is ongoing.
The House Criminal Justice Committee will hear legislation today that deals with allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun into certain places that sell alcohol. Bossier City Rep Jeff Thompson's proposed law, House Bill 20, says if you have a concealed carry permit, you can bring your weapon into a Class A establishment. Thompson says his legislation applies to places who get the vast majority of their sales from food like an Chilies. He says people have the right to protect their families when they go out to eat dinner.
A bill is now headed to the House Floor that would ban the use of cell phones through a school zone. The legislation that would fine violators $175 on a first offense and $500 on subsequent offenses passed 8-7.
A Donaldsonville High school teacher and coach has been arrested on charges of giving steroids to a student athlete. Fifty-six year-old Curtis Tsurada was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail
today on distribution of schedule 3 CDS, distribution to a student, and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
A bid to label some communities as “speed traps” was watered down, then shelved Tuesday in the Louisiana House. The proposal, House Bill 961, would require communities deriving more than 50 percent of their revenue from speeding tickets erect “speed trap” signs, including blinking lights.
The House yanked the “speed trap” language from the measure and replaced it with “strict speed enforcement zone,” minus any requirement that it include lights. The bill was later returned to the House calendar, which likely kills the measure for this session. The plan was opposed by the influential Louisiana Municipal Association, which represents city and town governments across the state.
The Louisiana Senate on Tuesday endorsed a bill that would require private schools to account for funds they receive for the education of voucher students. The Senate voted 35-0 for the measure.
Senate Bill 460 sponsor state Sen. Robert Adley said the legislative auditor found it “difficult to follow the public funds.” The legislation would require the voucher schools to account for the funds separately or develop an accounting procedure that would allow the tracking. The bill now heads to the House.
A proposed constitutional amendment that would scrap the mandatory age 70 retirement for Louisiana judges sailed through the Senate on Tuesday. Senate Bill 11, sponsored by state Sen. Eric Lafleur, D-Ville Platte, received a 34-0 vote, far more than the two-thirds majority needed in the 39 member Senate. The bill heads to the House where it died last year.
State Police say a woman from Bastrop who did not pull over when officers were trying to stop her from speeding, ended up crashing her car and suffering fatal injuries. Trooper Albert Paxton says
63-year-old Patricia Porter was not buckled up. He says they are not sure why she didn't stop.
The state senate gave unanimous approval to legislation that would allow a victim of domestic abuse to be granted an immediate divorce from their spouse. Similar legislation is also being debated in the House.
Extensive debate begins today in the House education committee over Common Core. The new public educational standards in reading, writing and math will take full effect next year. But, one of the bills up for debate would get rid of Common Core all together. Debate on Common core is expected to last until Thursday.
State Sen. Ben Nevers wanted to lower the cost of payday loans in Louisiana by limiting the amount of interest that can be charged annually. By the time Senate Bill 84 emerged from the Senate Committee on Judiciary A Tuesday, it was a substantially different proposal. The cap on annual interest fees disappeared. In its place is a prohibition against consumers taking out more than 10 payday loans in a year. The committee also added language setting up a database so the state can keep better tabs on how many dollars consumers are borrowing.
Governor Jindal's recent trip to Asia reportedly cost taxpayers 57-thousand dollars. Jindal went to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan in January in the hopes that the trip will lead to increased business
in Louisiana from Asian companies. Security, rental cars, lodging and airfare led to the 57-thousand dollar expense.
A coffee design created by a Starbucks at the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge has yielded an apology to a woman who complained about what appeared to be a devil pentagram star drawn in the foam. The consumer, Megan Pinion, was so offended, she decided to post a picture of the design on Facebook. Once Starbucks became aware, they issued an immediate apology.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff's office says two people are under arrest for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit pictures of a 2 month old baby over Facebook. Spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick says a 28-year-old Shreveport woman, Brandi Brown, is accused of production of child pornography involving a two-month old family member. Chadwick says Brown is accused of taking the sexually explicit photographs and then Facebook private messaging them to another man.
News For Tuesday 040114
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports a shooting Monday afternoon near Chester Street has left one person dead. Around 12:45 p.m., the department responded to a shots fired call near the 100 block of Chester Street. A victim found at the scene was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The victim's identity hasn't been released pending notification of the family. The investigation is ongoing.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office reports the arrest of a man from Ball, who allegedly had repeated sexual relations with a juvenile victim thirty times. Twenty-three year old Devon Paul Lockhart was charged with 30 counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center with a bond of $150 thousand dollars.
The Turner Street YMCA has closed indefinitely due to lack of funding. The iconic facility has been a fixture in Alexandria since it opened in 1967, but recent financial trouble left the YMCA of Central Louisiana needing an infusion of cash to keep it open. Board members still hold out hope that donations to reopen Turner Street will materialize. Between $150,000 and $200,000 is needed.
Practically all of Cleco’s customers had power restored Monday afternoon after strong storms hit the area this weekend. According to Cleco’s online outage report, only one customer, in Allen Parish, was without power by 6 p.m. Monday.
Baker Police say they are investigating a Friday night shooting at a birthday party that claimed the lives of 3 teenagers. They say a 16-year-old, who will be tried as an adult according to the DA, is
in custody accused in the murders. The incident took place during the private party with the suspect allegedly just fired into an open crowd.
A Deridder woman is dead and her crazed boyfriend is under arrest for her Saturday night strangulation death inside her home. Caddo Parish Sheriff's Deputies were able to track down 40 year-old Jeremy A. Bunch in Shreveport, then transported him back to Beauregard Parish to face charges for allegedly killing 40 year-old Mandy Kirl. Bunch has been charged with second-degree murder.
The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's office says they've identified a body found in False River as a woman with dementia who went missing from a New Roads nursing home last week. Investigators say Isla Lazare went out to smoke a cigarette on March 27th then never came back. She was found in the River this weekend and the cause of death was drowning officials say.
The House of Representatives approves legislation that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Opponents argued when the legislation was discussed in a House committee that this measure will close five abortion clinics, leaving just two open in the Shreveport area. But when the bill was brought up for discussion on the House floor, no one voiced opposition and it passed easily. The bill is heading to the Senate for their approval.
A business magazine called "Area Development" ranks Louisiana in the top 5 in numerous categories, including overall business environment, most cooperative state government and overall cost of doing business. Greater New Orleans Inc President Michael Hecht says it's a third-party validation of the work being done here to make Louisiana a business friendly state. Hecht says he even has consultants that say Louisiana is a better place to do business than Texas.
A gay rights bill that would have added sexual orientation to the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act as a list of things property owners can't use to turn people away for housing was shot down in House Commerce committee yesterday. The vote against the measure was 13-5.
300 jobs are coming to a small town in Webster Parish as a company from Texas plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Springhill. IntegriCo Composites announced plans to build a $20 million plant that will produce railroad ties, rail crossings and industrial mats. The new manufacturing facility will create an annual salary of $35,000 plus benefits for employees.
A bill that would ban employers and school officials from requiring log-in information from applicants and students passes in the House Commerce Committee Monday. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says people should feel free to post whatever they want on their social media sites without their superiors knowing about it. The bill now heads to the House floor.
Citing the rising number of heroin overdoses and subsequent deaths, State Senator Dan Claitor says his legislation to increase the penalty on those distributing the drug will be taken up in Senate Judiciary committee today. The Baton Rouge lawmaker says the sentence for the crime use to be life in prison which the legislature moved away from years ago. Under Senate Bill 87, the maximum term of imprisonment at hard labor for the manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to distribute heroin would increase from 50 years to 99 years.
A plan to reward Louisiana colleges and universities with increased funding for every engineering, computer science or other in-demand degree cleared its first hurdle Monday when the measure passed through the House Appropriations Committee. House Bill 1033 creates the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, commonly called WISE — a $40 million pool of money Louisiana schools would compete over. Institutions would be able to draw money from the fund based on the type of research they conduct and the number of students who graduate with degrees in fields that match the needs of the state’s economy.
The state House Transportation Committee approves legislation that would prohibit using cameras to issue traffic tickets on state highways. The measure now heads to the House floor.
Individuals who attack referees or officials at a youth athletic event will face larger fines under legislation that passed the House on a 93-to-1 vote. The senate will now decide whether Henry's bill that calls for higher fines for punching or shoving an official should become law.
Another deadly drunk driving incident from over the weekend. Two people are dead and three others injured following an early Sunday morning crash on I-10 on the new Mississippi Bridge. The victims are 26 year-old Johnny Galmon and 19 year-old Kandace Cox. The driver; 38-year-old Derick Matthews was arrested on numerous charges including 2 counts of vehicular homicide and DWI.
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