News for Wednesday 011315
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid in Louisiana. Edwards spoke alongside patients he said would benefit from the federally funded health insurance. He says these are low income adults who were too poor to qualify for subsidized care on the health insurance exchange. Edwards says by July 1st, they expect more than 300,000 citizens will enroll under the new Medicaid eligibility. The state will have to hire 248 individuals to help with the enrollment process and it will cost 2-point-8 million dollars, but health care providers are expected to pick up that bill. Edwards says they will follow other states lead for a smooth enrollment sign-up.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he’d like to see the minimum wage in Louisiana raised. The state’s current minimum wage is the federally mandated wage of $7.25 per hour. LSU Economist Jim Richardson says he’s heard talk of raising that to anywhere between $8.50 to 10.10 per hour. He says a hike in minimum wage could cause businesses to re-think how they do business. Supporters of a higher minimum wage say putting more money in workers hands will help spur the economy.
A 12-year-old girl died in a residential structure fire in Eunice, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. They say firefighters located the lifeless body of young Cailey Duplechain during suppression efforts, dead of apparent smoke inhalation. Her stepfather and 4-month old brother were able to escape the blaze with injuries and are expected to recover. An electric space heater was located near the origin of the fire and the home, which was completely destroyed, had no smoke alarms.
The Poweball jackpot has shot up to 1.5 billion dollars, making it the biggest jackpot in the world. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says ticket sales keep going up as the jackpot grows. She says when the sales continue to climb we’re able to transfer more money to the state of Louisiana. Chopin says the chances of multiple jackpot winners increases when more people are purchasing tickets. She says it’s been reported that in some hot spots, players are having to wait in lines just to buy a Powerball ticket.
Nola.com is reporting that Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere admitted to police that he had been drinking when he was busted urinating off the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The Mayor was issued a citation for the offense. He apparently asked cops to help him out because he is running for re-election.
A Homer man is under arrest for allegedly murdering a 68-year-old Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office employee and burying her body in a shallow grave. Sheriff Gary Sexton says, after being reported missing by her daughter, the remains of 68-year-old Sulyn Prince were located in a wooded area behind her home. 35-year-old Jermaine Johnson, who was convicted of simple rape in April 2015, is charged with second degree murder in the death of Prince.
Oil prices have hit 30 dollars a barrel, which is the lowest price since December 2003. Eric Smith with the Tulane Energy Institute says we could see the price drop even lower as 2016 goes on. Smith says it will be tough for oil companies to make money with oil trading at that price. Oil prices are down 19-percent for this year and they’ve fallen 72-percent since June 2014, when oil was trading over 100-dollars a barrel. Smith says to stop the crash in oil prices, the supply has to meet a week demand for oil and in the short term the only way to do that is to cut back on production.
BP says they plan to cut an additional 4,000 jobs this year, including from oil production operations in the United States. The company did not say how many people in the US would be laid off. Benchmark US crude today fell below $30 a barrel before settling at $30.44 at the close. Tuesday’s statewide average for a gallon of gas was $1.74 according to AAA.
Fish farming will now be allowed in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, after new regulations were issued this week by NOAA. This means commercial seafood can now be harvested in enclosures on the seafloor. NOAA’s Deputy Director of Aquaculture, David O’Brien, says they’ve been pushing for this because the U.S. imports about 90% of our seafood.
Barges struck bridges over the rain-swollen Mississippi River in two separate incidents yesterday, but there were no reports of injuries, or serious damage to the bridges. Four barges sank in the Mississippi after a towboat pushing 22 barges struck the old U.S. 80 Bridge in Vicksburg on Tuesday morning.
UL Lafayette has been placed on two years’ probation and will lose three scholarships for next season and the following season as a result of a former assistant football coach, who violated NCAA rules by arranging fraudulent entrance exam scores for five prospects. The NCAA also fined the school $5,000 and imposed recruiting restrictions. The school had already voluntarily vacated all victories from 2011 season because of the violations. Walker says the NCAA has ordered the school to do the same for the 2012-2014 seasons for games the ineligible players participated in. In an unusual twist of events, The school has sued the ACT over failure to detecting the cheating.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is the first player in LSU history to lead the nation in rushing, with an average of 162.8 yards per game. Fournette is also the first running back from the SEC to be declared rushing champion since 1949.