News For Monday 051815
By Dave Graichen
A deadly 3 car crash Friday has killed a husband and wife on I-49 near Bunkie. Their car reportedly rear-ended a wrecker truck, who had rear-ended another vehicle, which apparently had been struck by lightning. Austin and Destinee Jones of Covington were killed, while their 12 month baby in a car seat sustained minor injuries; same for the occupants in the other car. The wrecker driver was not injured.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission begins a statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign today focusing on back seat passengers, pickup trucks, and low compliance areas. Their 2014 seat belt survey showed 84-percent of Louisiana motorists buckled up, the highest rate to date. Executive Director Lt. Col. John LeBlanc says this is a statewide campaign, but they will focus efforts in areas of the state where seat belt compliance is the lowest. Seat belt compliance was lowest in the here in the Alexandria area, 71-percent, followed by Monroe with a 75-percent.
Blue Bell announces layoffs of 1450 employees across the country following the listeria outbreaks. In Louisiana, they are planning 10 layoffs, and about 130 furloughs for disruption sites in Louisiana; including Slidell, Shreveport, Ruston, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge. Bluebell says the clean-up at the infected sites is taking longer than expected.
Alexandria Police arrest a man accused of throwing a baby up against the wall. Deputy Chief Cedric Green says they received a call from the baby’s mother saying 20-year-old Devontee Smith kicked in the back door of her residence and threatened her and the baby. Smith faces charges of domestic abuse battery, home invasion, simple assault, and theft of diapers and milk.
According to a recent statewide survey, almost two-thirds of voters (many of those-parents and graduates) are in favor of the TOPS scholarship program to remain fully funded. This, despite lawmakers efforts to put a cap on the awards. That’s a problem which leaves lawmakers with a bit of a dilemma, given the state budget crisis.
Hollywood South takes center stage in this summer’s blockbuster movie season, starting this weekend with opening of Pitch Perfect 2 filmed in Baton Rouge. Also scheduled is “American Ultra,” “Selfless” and “The Fantastic Four. Louisiana Entertainment Executive Director Chris Stelly, even with adjustments to the film tax credits being considered by the legislature to help ease the state budget deficit, he does not believe this would be a deterrent to film makers.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee will discuss today the revenue generating bills that were approved by the House. The lower chamber passed 11 bills that would increase revenues by 615-million dollars. Word is the Senate leadership wants to raise even more revenue to offset a one-point-six billion dollar budget gap. The tax bills up for consideration in the Senate would reduce tax breaks businesses currently enjoy, there’s also legislation that scales back the film tax and solar tax credit programs and raises the cigarette tax to a higher amount than that already agreed upon by the House.
The Revenue Estimating Conference announces that $179 million has been found that can help budget issues for this fiscal year and next. They say $99.4 million would be used for this fiscal year and $79.3 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The Department of Children and Family Services is recruiting Foster Families, especially those who can take larger sibling groups or children with special needs. DCFS Policy Advisor Kaaren Hebert says this month, more than 4300 children will be served by Louisiana’s foster care system and just 2,000 certified foster homes are available. She says that’s a huge deficit for their agency.