News for Wednesday 060315
By Dave Graichen
An ordinance capping the number of bingo sites in Alexandria was approved Tuesday by the Alexandria City Council. While the ordinance caps the number of bingo venues, additional nonprofit operators could begin a bingo operation in one of the existing halls if there is availability. The ordinance passed in a 4-2 vote, with one abstention.
The state House approves legislation that puts spending controls on the TOPS scholarship program. The Senate bill locks in the amount of the award at the 2015-2016 level. Instead of an automatic increase when tuition goes up, TOPS payments would need legislative approval to be increased. The measure faces a veto threat from Governor Bobby Jindal, who has opposed major changes to the TOPS program.
Public university leaders are pushing the state legislature to approve a higher education tax credit that’s having trouble getting support in the Louisiana House. University of Louisiana system President Sandra Woodley says the legislation is needed to prevent deep cuts to four and two year colleges. The legislation, which has been called the SAVE fund, is facing push back from House members. They say its a complicated and only offered, so Governor Jindal doesn’t break his Americans for Tax Reform no-new-taxes pledge.
The House has approved eleven measures that raises revenue to prevent cuts to higher ed, but for Governor Bobby Jindal to sign them, there needs to be a tax cut, which is where the so-called SAVE Fund comes in. Board of Regents President Roy O’Martin says if legislators want to protect higher ed, they need to approve it. Some opposing lawmakers call it a “shell-game”
State Treasurer John Kennedy is concerned some of the 11 revenue generating bills approved by the state House were not passed constitutionally. They would raise approximately $615 million dollars to help deal with the current budget crisis. Five of those bills passed with a simple majority from the House, which Kennedy says makes them unconstitutional.
The five bills in question are all related to scaling back tax exemptions and credits.
Headed to the Governor’s desk is a bill that would outlaw revenge porn. The house gave final approval Tuesday to a proposal that would make it a crime to share a sexual picture of someone without their permission with the intent of causing emotional harm.
Legislation that would mean rape victims wouldn’t have to pay for hospital medical exams after an attack has gotten full legislative approval and is headed to Governor Bobby Jindal’s desk for his signature. A measure would use money from unclaimed gambling winnings to pay for the hospital bills. Jindal is expected to sign off on the legislation.
New terminology is now being used in Louisiana to identify crimes of sexual assault. The bill by Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges will change “simple rape,” “forcible rape” and “aggravated rape” to third, second and first-degree rape. The measure passed the House by an 89 to nothing vote
There will be national TV coverage for the first LSU-UL Lafayette Super Regional game at Alex Box Stadium. ESPN 2 will carry the Saturday game at 7pm, and Tiger Rag Assistant Editor James Moran says it speaks volumes about the quality of the match-up and excitement under the lights.
Hollywood South has spread it wings out to Vermillion Parish, as an HBO film crew is shooting a new series in Kaplan. Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission Director, Allison Miller, says the series “Quarry” to air on Cinemax will bring a nice boost to the local economy…
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is now offering hunting and fishing licenses in an electronic form that can be both saved on a portable device or printed from home. Director of Licensing Michelle Rayburn says this new option to the traditional license went on sale June first, creating an easier way for people to get or renew their license. Those purchasing their license through the department’s website can pay with credit card or check. Rayburn says those who prefer the traditional waterproof license can still purchase one by visiting any license vendor or calling their toll-free number
After receiving Senate approval, the Steve Gleason Act has passed the US House Ways and Means Committee. The measure would make speech generating devices and other technology more accessible for patients with ALS and other diseases so they can live more independent lives. Team Gleason Associate Executive Director Clare Durrett says Medicare changes last year created the necessity for this legislation. The legislation now heads to the full House for a vote.