News for Tuesday 042815
By Dave Graichen
As Louisiana struggles with budget troubles, private hospitals are offering lawmakers a way to draw down more federal health care dollars for patient care, but only if the money is used to expand coverage through the Medicaid program. Legislation filed by House leaders would let the state tap into a voter-backed plan that allows hospitals to pool their dollars and use that money to attract new federal Medicaid money to compensate them for their care for the poor. Governor Jindal is against the plan. Saying it’s a bad deal for the state.
Since the privatization of the state’s charity hospital system, lawmakers are getting an earful about financial gaps that need to be filled. Besides the care needs for the poor, the deficit dollars total about $159 million short in Governor Bobby Jindal’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. LSU Medical Schools in New Orleans and Shreveport are stuck with millions in costs, which officials say they cannot afford.
The US Supreme court hears arguments today over whether same sex couples have the right to get married. Attorney Kyle Duncan has been hired by the state AG’s office to make Louisiana’s case in the social debate. He says it’s their belief that each state should have the right to determine what is legally defined as marriage. Duncan says states should have authority when it comes to family law including ways to define marriage. He doesn’t think the state’s judiciary should be the ones to decide such a massive issue. Opponents say that same argument was used in Alabama in the 60’s
The legislative session’s first revenue raising bill passed out of committee Monday. Bogalusa Representative Harold Ritchie’s measure would raise the state’s cigarette tax from 36 cents per pack to 68 cents — matching the rate in Mississippi. Health advocates lined up to speak in favor, cigarette wholesalers to speak against. The tax proposal passed on a 11-5 vote. It’s expected to generate an estimated 67-million dollars for the state annually.
The full House approves legislation that puts an end to the practice of the state transferring money from a transportation fund to State Police. Every year between 65 and 70 million dollars goes from the transportation trust fund to State Police. Under this bill the subsidies would be phased out over several years. The measure now heads to the Senate.
Louisiana Currently has one of the largest film industries in the country. But, today the House Ways and Means committee will be looking at a bill that seeks to get rid of the state’s film tax credit program by 2019. House Bill 276 is by Alexandria Representative Lance Harris. He says the movie subsidy has gotten way out of control. While many agree, most lawmakers don’t back the concept of doing away with the program all together.
There’s one less name in contention for the Louisiana governor’s race as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has officially ruled out a run for the fall election. Monday he told reporters during a speech the Baton Rouge Press Club, if he HAD decided to run, he would have won. That still leaves Amite Representative John Bel Edwards as the lone democrat in the race. Landrieu has not announced any endorsements as of yet.
Gas prices keep going up. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.30 which is 6 cents up from this time last week according to AAA.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says they still have no suspects in the case of the pregnant woman who was found shot dead in her apartment. Corporal Don Copolla says they believe 29 year old Brittney Mills opened her door to someone she likely knew. Copolla says Mills, who was about 8 months pregnant, was shot several times and died on the scene. He says they raced the victim to the hospital and were able to save the baby..
After all of the recent bad storms we’ve been dealing with in Louisiana, The American Red Cross wants you to know about a new app which helps you to prepare for severe weather. Spokeswoman Nancy Malone says by taking a few simple steps ahead of time, you can help ensure that you and your family knows what to do when severe weather occurs. Malone says the free Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to weather and emergency alerts, life saving information and also lets you connect with family and friends.
ESPN is reporting the Pelicans have made a max offer to All-Star Anthony Davis that would pay him a total of 140-million dollars over five years. Davis still has one-year left on his rookie contract. The Pels season is over after getting swept by Golden State in their first round playoff series.