Louisiana News
Subscribe To This Feed

Senate Judiciary B passed a bill to give Tangipahoa residents an opportunity to vote on allowing a casino along the Tangipahoa River near the I12 Robert exit. If adopted, the Diamond Jack Casino in Bossier could be relocated, maintaining the state’s current number of riverboat casino licenses at 15.
Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller, who is in favor of the project, called on the committee to leave the call up to the people of his parish.

“Everyone’s attitude, and plea, would be to let the citizens decide.

Tangi Council member Lewis Joseph says if approved, the casino would help the parish fund its education system.

“They haven’t received a pay raise in ten years, and hopefully if we can get this resort in Tangipahoa parish, hopefully we can give our teachers a little more money to spend.”

Tangipahoa voters recently shot down a millage increase that would have raised teacher salaries, which currently sit below the state average.

The measure escaped deferment two to one, with Houma Republican “Norby” Chabert the lone dissenter. Charbert questioned the decision to move the casino to Robert, saying the area may not be the best location to support the venture.

“Why Tangipahoa? Why not Lafourche? The Terrebone and LaFourche market is the fifth largest market in the state.”

Chairmen of Peninsula Pacific Brent Stevens, the company that owns Diamond Jack, responded to Charbet’s critique. He says after a thorough analysis, his company realized that the region was ripe for a new facility.

“There’s about 260 million dollars of gaming revenue from Louisiana that goes into the Mississippi and gulf coast. The vast preponderance of that goes right through Tangipahoa Parish.”

The proposal heads to the Senate floor.


Subscribe To This Feed
A House bill to establish a rebate for first time home buyers in Louisiana passed the Ways and Means Committee. Baton Rouge Representative Paula Davis told the committee that a lack of cash and college debts are making it nearly impossible for young persons to own a residence in Louisiana.

"What do we want to prioritize in this state?  I think that home ownership and bricks and mortar is some we should encourage and promote."
Monroe Representative Marcus Hunter voiced concern over the bill. He says since parishes don’t share homestead exemption records between them, that some homeowners could take advantage of the proposed tax break.
"We don't want to create a monster where people hop from parish to parish and take advantage of the state.  We have enough of that at this particular point.  If we're going to do this we have to make sure we're on top of it."
Monroe Representative Jay Morris says the state doesn’t have money to fund this 15-million-dollar rebate plan. Since the Governor is calling for reductions to balance the budget, Morris says there’s no room to find money to fund Davis’ bill. 
"By passing this bill, we're saying subsidizing somebody purchasing a $500,000 home is more important than funding TOPS fully." 


Subscribe To This Feed

A Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would allow citizens to vote on whether Louisiana should require unanimous juries for felony convictions. Currently, only 10 of 12 jurists are needed to convict someone of a felony, making Louisiana and Oregon the only two states that do not require a unanimous jury. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says our current laws aren’t making people any safer in one of the most crime ridden states in the nation.

“Having this non unanimous jury has not lead to more of the right people being in jail, having more of the right people stay in jail, or it being a deterrent to going to jail.”

Morrell argued that research done by the Innocence Project, a group that helps overturn wrongful convictions, proves unanimous juries help safeguard civil liberties.

“A large number of the instances in which they overturn a verdict, and find information to exonerate someone, comes from one of these non-unanimous jury convictions.”

But Executive Director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association Pete Adams spoke out against the legislation, saying neither politicians nor the public have enough quality research at hand to make a decision on the issue.

“There is very little reliable evidence that unanimous juries would be more reliable.”

Adams is concerned that stiffening conviction requirements would lead to more mistrials, which can be expensive for the state. He also says the U.S. Supreme Court has already weighed in and deemed non unanimous juries an adequate requirement for justice.

“Non-unanimous verdicts are clearly constitutional. The US Supreme Court rejected writs on that very issue last summer.”

The bill was passed on a five to one vote, with only Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White voting against.


Subscribe To This Feed
A Senate committee approved legislation Tuesday that gives riverboat casinos the opportunity move on land and more gaming space. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns says his legislation is not an attempt to expand gaming.
"It modernizes an industry that has not had hardly any changes since 1991." said Johns. 

The bill now heads to the Senate Floor.
But in committee, it faced opposition from religious leaders. A pastor from Ponchatoula says the Louisiana Department of Health has estimated that problem gambling costs the state 845-million dollars per year. 
"Any expansion of gambling as this bill does will lead to more pathological gamblers in our state and destroy lives."  
The bill nearly didn't make it out of committee, after Shreveport Senator Greg Tarver and New Orleans Senator Karen Peterson raised concerns about the lack of minorities in ownership and management positions.
Johns says the full Senate will not vote on his bill until these concerns over minority involvement with the gaming industry are addressed. 


Subscribe To This Feed
Recent flood victims can qualify for flood rebate dollars by re-filing your 2016 tax returns. Basically, if you lost more than $500 that wasn’t covered by insurance or government grants you can now deduct the difference from your 2016 income tax return.

Brandon Lagarde is the tax director at Postlethwaite and Netterville in Baton Rouge.
“What they did in this most recent bill is if my adjusted gross income was six thousand dollars I wouldn’t be able to claim my first five thousand dollars of causality losses in 2016, I now can,” says Lagarde.

A key issue in this benefit is taxpayers did at the time NOT have to itemize their return to make the adjustment.

“They also allow you under the new rule, to claim the loss in addition to your standard deduction so you didn’t have to itemize to get the Benefit of the loss,” added Lagarde.

Some residents could make significant adjustments to their tax returns for significant cash. Plus you have another year and a half before you must file.

“This is going to be free and clear of any other limitations,” says Lagarde. “So it’s really going to benefit people,”

Loans taken out to pay to repair your property are allowed deductions. The Congressional Budget office estimates 500 million dollars is available to pay back flood victims.


Subscribe To This Feed
Mississippi’s governor has signed a bill that bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy instead of the current 20th week. A similar bill has been introduced by Shreveport Democrat Senator John Milkovich. During his appearance on Talk Louisiana with Jim Engster, he said the issue mentioned to him the most when he ran for office was how and when Louisiana would ban abortions. He says the bill is hopefully the first step.

"I'd love to see the day when Louisiana will lead America in stopping abortions.  I think it brings a curse, it's murder.  I don't think we can stand idly by."
A suit has already been filed against Mississippi by the state’s only abortion clinic. Milkovich isn’t worried about what federal judges might decide, because by refraining to do the right thing gets nothing accomplished.
"We're supposed to participate in democracy.  I don't think it's our job to get
pre-approval of state legislation by the federal courts."
There are three abortion clinics in Louisiana - Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. Milkovich says they don’t care about the patients they are treating. Their only concern is their financial gain.
"As soon as it becomes non profitable, these abortion clinics are out of business, out of town, shut down like a Jiffy Lube, Tank N Tote, Dunkin' Donuts."


Subscribe To This Feed
Today marks the start of spring. Our winter produced two snow events and a warmer than usual February. State Climatologist Barry Keim says an ongoing La Nina will help push much of the rain rain and colder temperatures to the north. 

"The Climate Prediction Center is calling for the warmth to continue across Louisiana with above normal temperatures through April, May and June, with slightly drier than normal conditions across the state."
A very rainy February left the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red Rivers inundated. Keim says the record rainfall amounts will benefit the ag industry once they get their crops planted. 
"It really set us up very well for the growing season, so I'm sure the folks doing agriculture and trying to raise cattle and things like that across the state.  They're certainly happy where things are right now."
Keim says spring can bring severe weather in the form of tornadoes and strong thunderstorms. He says the clashing of the seasons can be expected once again.
"We reach the peak for tornadoes around this time of year.  And also, some of the heaviest rainfall events some of the big frontal events that we've had in Louisiana also have occurred in April and May."


Subscribe To This Feed
It was never close in Salt Lake City. Utah shot 71% in the first quarter to take a 30-11 lead. The Utes ended up beating LSU 90-68 as the Pac-12 school shot 56%. Utah also hit 13-pointers and had five players in double figures.
LSU shot 44%. Freshman Tremont Waters was 6-of-16 from the field, but finished with a game-high 19 points. Skylar Mays had 16 points. 

LSU ends the season with an 8-game losing streak on the road and an overall record of 18-15. 
Despite the disappointing ending, it was a good season to build on for the Tigers, who were predicted to finish in last place in the Southeastern Conference. 
They ended up finishing the year in 10th place and beat a couple of NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 teams Michigan and Texas A&M. 
247sports has LSU's incoming recruiting class ranked as the 4th best in the nation. It's highlighted by three-time Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year Javonte Smart from Scotlandville High School and five-star power forward Naz Reid from New Jersey.  


Subscribe To This Feed

Shreveport-Bossier will play host to both this year’s Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, with Miss USA confirmed for May 21st. It'll be the first time both pageants have ever been held at the same location back to back. Miss USA will air live on FOX-TV from the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum.

Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Crawford says northwest Louisiana is a perfect host site for Miss USA.

“This is exactly the family friendly economic development venue that we encourage and entice for the Shreveport-Bossier region.”

The competition will bring contestants from all 50 states and DC together in Shreveport, and draw in a national TV audience. Crawford says the crush of tourists will be a big boost to the region.

“The economic impact is going to be significant for this event. We’ll certainly feel it here in Shreveport and bossier. Our local businesses will all see a direct impact from this event being here.”

Bossier City mayor Lo Walker fondly remembers the first time the competition rolled into town, back in 1998.

“I’ve seen up close and personal what this is for the young ladies competing, but also what this means for our community. What an experience it is.”

Miss USA/Miss Teen USA will stay in the area for 11 days.


Subscribe To This Feed
A Senate committee hears a constitutional amendment Tuesday from New Orleans Democrat J.P. Morrell that will require a jury’s verdict in a felony trial to be unanimous for conviction. Louisiana and Oregon are the only states that allows for ten out of twelve jurors to agree on a guilty verdict.
Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the nation's highest court has heard numerous challenges to Louisiana's "majority rule" standard. 
"The Supreme Court of the United States has allowed non unanimous juries and has not found them to be in violation of defendant's sixth amendment rights for a trial by jury."
Ciolino expects the Louisiana District Attorneys Association to lobby against this measure, but...
"DA's offices in the other 48 states that require unanimity don't have any problem with gaining guilty verdicts on a regular basis.  I don't see any reason for concern."
Ciolino says it's unclear why Louisiana only requires 10 out of 12 jurors for a guilty verdict. He says some say it was established to diminish the affect African-Americans would have on a jury, but there’s another theory as well. 
"Others however have argued that it's just a matter of avoiding hung juries and making the criminal justice process more efficient." 
Oregon is also looking at a possible amendment in 2018 or 2020 to abolish the “majority rule” standard.


Subscribe To This Feed

That new car in the neighbor’s driveway probably has you thinking that their tax return came in, but if you’ve filed and are getting worried about where your money is, the Department of Revenue wants to remind you not to worry, it’s on its way.

Spokesperson Byron Henderson says even if you filed on day one, your return won’t technically be late until the end of this month.

“If taxpayers file electronically, they can generally expect their refunds within 60 days. Doesn’t mean it’s going to take 60 days, but we think we can turn those refunds around within 60 days.”

Those who filed a paper return could have to wait up to 14 weeks.

Henderson says if you are past your expected return time, it could be one of these three things.

“Refunds can be delayed if taxpayers fail to keep their addresses current, if they have math errors or other errors with their return, or if the return triggers fraud indicators.”

If you’re getting antsy, you can always reach out to the Department of Revenue by phone or online, but Henderson recommends taking the online route to save yourself some time.

“Log onto revenue.Louisiana.gov/refund and use the Where’s My Refund online app to check their refund status.”

He says you can always call instead, but the wait cues to talk to an agent could be “extremely long”.


Subscribe To This Feed
Senate bill 423 is a measure that north Louisiana Senator Neil Riser hopes is never needed. It would provide 250-thousand dollars to the families of any teacher or school employee that's killed while performing their job.

“Hopefully nothing like this will ever take place,” said the bill’s author Sen. Neil Riser (R)-Columbia. “But, were living in a crazy society and it has transpired in other places and it’s the least we can do for our teachers.”

Cynthia Posey is a spokesperson with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. She says the more responsibility you put on teachers the more they should be compensated.

“We have many bills that are seeking to arm teachers, were asking our teachers to be first responders than this bill is even more important,” says Posey.

The measure will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon.


Subscribe To This Feed

A report from America’s Health Ranking says the rates of maternal mortality and teen suicide have risen over the last two years in Louisiana. UnitedHealthCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Peters says we’re one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to taking care of expecting mothers.

“We don’t have as many mothers getting pre-natal care, and following that, once born, access to primary care and regular checkups, our statistics are just not as good as some of the other states.”

The maternal mortality rate increased 28 percent to 44.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017, while the infant mortality was down 11 percent.

Teen suicides were up seven percent to 10.4 deaths per 100,000 adolescents aged 15-19. Peters says mental health is a nationwide issue that Louisiana in particular lags behind on.

“Behavioral health services are inadequate for adolescents and adults, and that’s very true in our state.”

Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and West Virginia made up the five lowest ranked states. Peters says they all have something in common, low state healthcare funding.

“The reason why some of the southern states are ranked lowest in health outcomes and the measures that are out there has to do with the funding of state programs.”

The uninsured rate for women 18-40 was down 34 percent. Peters attributes this to the Medicaid expansion in 2016.


Subscribe To This Feed
LSU freshman right-hander Ma'Khail Hilliard gave up his first two runs of the season in the first inning, but that was it, as Hilliard pitched six solid innings to help the Fighting Tigers beat Missouri 7-5 in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Missouri had three well-placed singles in the first inning to score two runs. But Hilliard allowed just three more hits and struck out six in six innings to run his record to 5-0. 

At the plate, LSU pounded out 13 hits led by the top two men in the order. Zach Watson and Brandt Broussard each had three hits. Watson scored twice and drove in two runs. Broussard had an RBI single and scored the final run in the eighth inning. 
Antoine Duplantis drove in two runs, a sacrifice fly in the 1st and an infield single in the eighth inning. Duplantis had a total of four hits on Saturday and Sunday and his average is now up to .301. 
LSU's bullpen imploded in Saturday's 12-6 loss. AJ Labas and Nick Bush each pitched scoreless innings.
But Austin Bain gave up a three-run home run in the 9th inning as Kameron Misner hit one into the right field bleachers. 
LSU is 14-7 on the year, 2-1 in the SEC. They will host Tulane on Wednesday night and then visit Vanderbilt for a three-game series starting on Friday. The Green Wave lost a series at Long Beach State, while the Commodores swept Mississippi State.  


Subscribe To This Feed

Despite talk of budget cuts to public colleges and TOPS, a record 23,000 students have applied for entry at LSU for the academic year that starts in August. The school’s chief enrollment officer, Jose Aviles, says they hope for an incoming freshman class of 5,800, but TOPS funding is a factor.

"Nothing is set until they put the deposit down and say 'yes I'm in fact attending LSU," Aviles said. "There's a lot of phone calls coming into our office about the uncertainty about TOPS, so we are concerned about that for sure."  

Aviles says it’s impressive LSU has so many applicants, especially considering there are fewer high school graduates. On Friday, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved three scholarships to help students choose LSU. Aviles says thousands of dollars are available to students who qualify for these scholarships. 

"If we are declining in the number of students who are graduating from high school and they are only going to choose one place, it's not going to be us."  

The Innovation Award would give Louisiana freshman up to 3-thousand dollars. The Tiger Excellence Award is for nonresident students who have ACT scores of 28 or 29 and then there’s the Transformation Merit Scholarship. Aviles says that’s for students who have a 26 or 27 ACT and those are students most universities are trying to attract.

"It is important for us as an institution to understand that the investment in merit monies is solely to compete for the students we want most."
The merit scholarships are paid for by money from the school's general budget.  


Subscribe To This Feed

Louisiana is two million dollars short on its funding for voucher students this year. The money is appropriated every June, and covers the cost of state students to attend charter and private schools, instead of public schools.

Department of Education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says the state is short this year, and if more money isn’t appropriated next year, could be short by an even wider margin.

“The state may be facing up to seven million dollars next year that would be needed to pay for students aid.”

Dunn says if the legislature doesn't come up with another two-million dollars to fill the shortfall for this academic year, schools that are educating voucher students would be on the hook to pay for their educational expenses.

“Schools may not be able to be fully reimbursed by the state for students' tuition and other expenses.”

The state's voucher program is paid for by a special line-item appropriation in the budget. It currently enrolls 6,600 students statewide. Dunn says it's possible money that funds public schools may have to be redirected to cover some of the costs of the voucher program for next school year.

"So either way the state will be paying for these students," Dunn said.  


Subscribe To This Feed
Forty-six percent of LSU Health New Orleans graduating medical students participating in the National Resident Match Program this year chose to remain in Louisiana. But that is down from 49% staying in state last year and 64% in 2012. Dr. Steve Nelson says it’s a trend that could cost Louisiana some great doctors.

"70% of the doctors in this state trained at an LSU facility.  We provide the health care workforce for this state.  So these students leave and there's a large likelihood they will leave."
National studies find a high number of physicians set up their permanent practices in areas where they complete their residency program. Nelson says a decline of 18 percent in Louisiana in the last five years is a concern and it’s up to the legislature to ensure funding of higher education in order to fix. 
"Each year, they hear the same thing.  Cuts to higher education, cuts to the hospital.  And so to me, it's clearly a negative trend we need to correct."
Nelson says the future medical achievements and the new physicians that will fill our hospitals and medical practices come from Louisiana, not elsewhere. 
"At LSU, we're really training your doctor for your family, your daughter, your father, your mother right now.  So this is a personal issue to everyone."  


Subscribe To This Feed

A bill that would prevent businesses from requiring employees to sign agreements blocking them from going to court over sexual harassment claims passed the House Labor Committee. The proposal by Representative Robert Johnson is part of a nationwide effort, backed by Attorney Generals, to protect victims of workplace misconduct.

Johnson says businesses shouldn’t have the ability to dictate how victims respond to abuse.

“This is not a matter of business in terms of a contractual nature, this is violating someone’s human dignity, in their workplace, where they should be safe.”

The legislation would allow accusers to choose whether they would like settle claims in arbitration, an independent alternative to the court, or take their claim before a civil court. Criminal cases of sexual harassment would be heard in criminal court.

Due the nature of sexual harassment, Johnson says victims must be guaranteed a chance to bring their case to a civil court judge.

“Sometimes these types of acts go on for a number of years, victims do not always report these things expeditiously, and sometimes those criminal charges are not able to be brought.”

The Marksville Democrat says victims stand a better chance to reach a favorable conclusion if they seek litigation for sexual harassment claims instead of potentially more company friendly options. He says when human dignity is on the line, a judge needs to be called.

“In this particular area, I feel very strongly about it, that arbitration is not appropriate.”


Subscribe To This Feed
Well wishers continued to remember Saints owner Tom Benson one day after his death.Tom Benson touched many people on many levels as evident by the testimonials about Benson following his death at 90 years old.

Through negotiations, with then Governor Edwin Edwards,  Benson was able to purchase the Saints and bring in Local quarterback Bobby Hebert. Hebert says Benson showed the league how they needed the saints to stay in New Orleans.
"Keeping the Saints and their stability here and the NFL realized how important it was to have a team here and Mr. Benson was a big part of that." said Hebert.
The Saints all time leading rusher, Deuce McAllister, also weighed in.
"He understood what it meant New Orleans wise to have that team in here. There were a couple different times where the Saints were in doubt about being a part of New Orleans but every time he would do some kind of major investment," says McAllister.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.


Subscribe To This Feed
After 17 years, DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle retires today. He was first elected back in 2000. He says there are several personal issues he must attend to and this is a good time to step aside.

"Everybody always said you know as long as you're having fun, you do a good job. But I got to the point it wasn't as fun as it used to and I always made a promise to myself and the people, when I quit really enjoying the job, then it was time for me to go home."
Arbuckle will be replaced by Chief Deputy Jayson Richardson, who has served the citizens of DeSoto Parish for the last 14 years. Arbuckle says he has accomplished much in his tenure as sheriff. He started with only 75 employees and about a half million dollar surplus.
"I'm leaving 130 manforce, one of the highest paid departments, some of the best equipment that's around.  And I'm going to leave them with about a 48-million-dollar surplus."
Arbuckle is looking forward to spending his free time with his granddaughters and get caught up on the outdoor recreation. 
"I have two new grandchildren in the last year.  One of them have some health problems.   Today at the close of business I"ll be gone and trying to figure out next week whether I go fish or turkey hunt."


God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana

970 KSYL On Air Now
George Noory
George Noory
12:00am - 5:00am
Coast To Coast AM
Kim Komando

Click For Kim Komando's Daily Tip!!

RM Worlds Travel

Saturday's @ Noon!


The Best Of The 60's & 70's

Now On Air At 100.3 HD2

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.


North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance



All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Good Food Project

Fresh Central

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services