News for Monday 101215
By Dave Graichen
Early voting for the state ‘s Oct. 24 election is under way. Candidates are urging supporters to cast their ballots in advance as the various statewide and local races are expected to compete for attention on Election Day with college football games and hunting plans. Early voting runs through this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Just a reminder, You go can visit geauxvote.com to get a sample ballot.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says state revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are down 13-percent compared to the first quarter of last year. Kennedy says tax collections from individuals and businesses are down, while sales tax receipts are flat. Kennedy says the national economy and the fact that the legislature raised taxes 800 million dollars last spring are some other factors in play with Louisiana’s declining revenue. He says you can’t raise taxes without having economic implications and the state is still spending more money than we take in.
Louisianians that don’t have a passport won’t be turned away from federal buildings Monday or stopped from boarding a plane next year after the US Department of Homeland Security granted the state another extension from being in compliance with the REAL ID law. State Police Col Mike Edmonson says this gives the Legislature time to address the issue next year.
Voters in Louisiana will have the opportunity to vote on some Constitutional amendments on the October 24th ballot. Robert Scott, President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, says the ballot will feature four new amendments to the Louisiana Constitution. Scott says if you know nothing about these amendments, it could be overwhelming. You can find a guide to all four amendments at parlouisiana-dot-org. Scott encourages voters to do a little research on these amendments before entering the voting booth.
The four candidates for Lt. Governor are slated to be at a forum hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club today. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s a very close race between the Democrat Kip Holden and Republicans John Young and Billy Nungesser, because they have the most money and name recognition. Dubos says the odds favor the only democratic candidate, Kip Holden, entering the runoff.
A new study by the Violence policy center lists Louisiana fourth in the country for rate of women murdered by men. The study, titled "When Men Murder Women," pulls data from the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Reports, FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports and U.S. Census data. Louisiana has ranked in the top 10 states for women murdered by men five years in a row, the study says. South Carolina was ranked number one in this year's study, followed by Alaska and New Mexico.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has again refused to hear a request to overturn Brandon Lavergne’s guilty pleas to two murders, including that of 21-year-old university student Mickey Shunick. Lavergne’s case was among four requests for reconsideration rejected Friday without comment.
Ads are out targeting Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards seeking to tie him to President Barack Obama. They are funded by over $1 million from the Republican Governors Association. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says tying Democratic candidates to the president has worked for Republicans and Edwards will likely fight the ads by focusing on his own agenda in Louisiana. In a statement, Edwards says the ads are a distraction from the one candidate who will undo Governor Jindal’s failed policies.
David La Certe has resigned as secretary for the state Department of Veterans Affairs. La Certe did not provide a reason and neither did the governor’s office, who named Thomas Enright as interim secretary. But Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says his office is investigating the department and its handling of the state’s five nursing homes for vets and uncovered problems. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street also says they are investigating the state Department of Veterans Affairs, but would not go into any more details.
Less than half the cases of the West Nile virus have been reported this year compared to 2014 according to the Department of Health and Hospitals. They say there have been 55 confirmed cases and 4 deaths. DHH attributes the drop to Louisiana’s cool spring.
After a lengthy investigation, authorities in St. Martin Parish have busted a cockfighting ring in Breaux Bridge. Major Ginny Higgins says two men have been charged with 24 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 24 counts of Cockfighting. And yet another man with 48 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 48 counts of Cockfighting.
The Student Senate at LSU has passed a resolution asking Facility Services to change the signs on single stall restrooms on campus to read “gender neutral.” Matthew Patterson, with Equality Louisiana, says this is a cost effective way of ensuring that all students, faculty and staff feel safe when using the restroom. Patterson says this doesn’t mean transgender people are trying to make a statement, they are just trying to use the bathroom.
LSU finally found its passing game in a 45-24 victory over South Carolina on Saturday. Quarterback Brandon Harris threw for a career-high 227 yards and two touchdowns. And the Tigers rushed for an impressive 396 yards. LSU running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown and became the fastest Tiger to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
The Saints are now 1-and-4 on the season after a dismal performance in Philadelphia. The Eagles scored 29 second half points to beat New Orleans 39-17. The Saints turned it over four times, quarterback Drew Brees was sacked five times and New Orleans only ran the ball for 96 yards, while the defense gave up over 500 yards of total offense. The Saints were also penalized seven times for 78 yards.