News for Monday 062215
By Dave Graichen
Even with more people finding jobs in Louisiana, the unemployment rate stayed relatively flat for May at 6.6 percent for the third month in a row. The Bayou State has the sixth highest jobless rate in the nation. The national unemployment rate average is 5.5 percent.
A federal trial begins today challenging Louisiana’s law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is performed. Opponents of the measure say that abortion is a safe procedure and admitting privileges to a nearby hospital are not needed. The plaintiffs claim the law will shut down all but one abortion clinic in the state and that would create an undue hardship for women seeking an abortion.
Governor Bobby Jindal vetoes legislation that would have put control costs on the TOPS Scholarship program. Under the proposed law, TOPS recipients next year would have 100-percent of tuition costs paid for, but the amount of the award would not automatically go up when tuition rises. Supporters say the bill is needed so the state can afford TOPS in future years, but Jindal says the legislation violates a promise that TOPS will cover a student’s tuition.
Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the 24.5 billion dollar budget and a package of tax bills sent over from the legislature, including a 50-cent increase on a pack of cigarettes. Jindal says it is a balanced budget that will protect higher ed and health care. There were several line item vetoes, including one that would have prevented State Police from paying for his security detail on campaign trips.
Despite objections from Hollywood South and several lawmakers in New Orleans, Governor Bobby Jindal signs into law legislation that caps the film tax credit program at 180-million dollars. Mae Chapman owns a casting company in Lafayette and fears the cap will decrease movie production in this state, which means less opportunity to work for those in the industry. Chapman doesn’t understand why Jindal and the legislature would want to restrict an industry that creates thousands of jobs. She says some will have to look to other states to find jobs.
With Governor Jindal expected to announce he’s running for president on Wednesday, Chief of Staff Kyle Plotkin and Deputy Communications Director Shannon Dirmann will be joining his national campaign team. LA Politics dot-com’s Jeremy Alford says one of the most important goals for his staff is to get Jindal in presidential debates. LaPolitics.com also reports one of Jindal’s most trusted political advisors, Timmy Teepell will serve as manager of the national campaign.
A one million dollar federal grant has been given to aid veterans and the unemployed in central and north Louisiana in joining the workforce. Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Aaron Caffarel says grant will target the areas of Alexandria, Monroe, and Shreveport.
Baton Rouge based Explosive Service International signs a 19-million dollar contract with the Louisiana National Guard which allows them to begin the process of disposing of 15 million pounds of M-6 propellant from Camp Minden in Webster Parish. Guard Spokesman Colonel Pete Schneider says it’s unsure of the exact date of when the disposal will begin.
LSU Quarterback Anthony Jennings and two other players are charged with unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling. Police say the players went to an on-campus apartment to retrieve items that were taken from Jennings. Jennings, cornerback Dwayne Thomas and defensive lineman Maquedius Bain have been suspended indefinitely from the team.
The Toledo Bend Reservoir is named by Bassmaster as the number 1 bass fishery in the country for 2015. Director of the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission Linda Curtis-Sparks says this is a great honor and she believes this will lead to an influx of out of state anglers to the reservoir.
Cleco has launched an energy saving program which pays customers $50 for getting rid of outdated refrigerators and freezers. Spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper says this will also help people save money on their power bills. Cooper says many households have an additional refrigerator or freezer outside of the home to store food and drinks, but many of the units are older and require as much as three times more energy to operate than newer models.
Customers will receive a $50 check within 4-6 weeks after the unit is hauled away. To learn more about this new program, visit cleco.com.