News for Wednesday 042915
By Dave Graichen
The House Ways and Means Committee approves three different bills that would cap the state’s film tax credit program anywhere from 150 to 223 million dollars a year. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the state faces big cuts to higher ed and health care, it’s time to put restraints on a program that costs the state 256-million dollars this year. Will French, president of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association, says Harris’ bill will put thousands of people out of work and not help the budget. Harris bill was turned into a 200-million dollar cap that will be debated more by the full house.
The granddaughter of Saints owner Tom Benson made an appearance at the state capitol Tuesday. Rita Benson Leblanc spoke in support of the state’s film tax program. During testimony, LeBlanc identified herself as a former sports executive who said the film tax credit program helped New Orleans get the Super Bowl in 2013
The town of Jonesville is shutting down it’s police force. The plan, by the end of June, the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office will take over law enforcement with in the city limits. Jonesville Mayor Hiram Evans said the decision to shut down the police department was strictly financial. The town’s board gave it’s okay to the plan last week.
The House Commerce Committee pulled the plug on a bill that would have given the Public Service Commission the authority to regular cable and video service providers. Supporters say it could lead to better customer service, but members on the panel say cable and video services are already regulated.
The Louisiana Senate approved Tuesday legislation that would require state health officials to release more information about how well the Jindal administration’s privatization of Medicaid is going. State Sen. Ronnie Johns, the Sulphur Republican who sponsored Senate Bill 109, said the purpose is to drill down and find out if contracting five private insurers to manage Medicaid is saving taxpayers money. The legislation now goes to House for consideration.
The US Supreme Court begins hearing a case today challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedure. The case argues to end the use of midazolam as a sedative in Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol. The outcome of this trial will most like also have an effect on Louisiana since midazolam is also used here.
The Springfield Police Chief accused of conspiring to to hide a woman’s DWI citation has agreed to a plea of guilty today to a single count of criminal mischief. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says Chief James Jones is required to resign immediately, and receive a six-month suspended sentence with one year of probation.
The woman allegedly shot in the head by her ex-boyfriend in St. Tammany Parish is going to survive. She was able to driver herself to the hospital after being shot, and Sheriff Jack Strain says-after reports of the man’s truck being seen in the area, officers were able to find and arrest 56 year-old Ronald Brown of Pearl River.
If money can buy an election, this one should be a done deal. In the latest campaign finance numbers for Louisiana’s governor’s race, US Senator David Vitter has $4.2 million cash on hand, more than the other three candidates combined.
Gas prices keep creeping up. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $2.31 which is up nearly 10 cents from this time last month.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office says one person is under arrest and they are looking for 10 others as part of a million dollar theft scam involving Comcast Cable customers. Spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick says the scheme involved out of state cable contractors who would use real Comcast customers information to open up fake accounts in order to get commission. Chadwick says financial loss in commissions, equipment and services to Comcast and victims was well over $1.2 million dollars.
A senate committee approves legislation that would allow a domestic abuse victim to immediately move out an apartment or rented home without facing a penalty for violating the lease. The legislation heads to the Senate floor, but the Apartment Association of Louisiana lobbied against the bill. Jennifer Ansardi says domestic violence cases are sometimes he-said versus she-said incidents and landlords are not trained to be a judge and jury