News for Monday 030716
By Dave Graichen
The US Supreme Court has told Louisiana it can NOT enforce its abortion clinic law. The law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. A federal appeals court in New Orleans said the state can enforce the law, even though it was being challenged in the courts. But the US Supreme Court says the law should not be enforced, until there’s a ruling on its constitutionality.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved the Louisiana State Student Standards in English and math, which replaces Common Core in these areas. BESE president Jim Garvey says these new standards still uphold high learning expectations and will help students move forward to better prepare for college and careers. BESE came to this decision after a steering committee and three subcommittees reviewed and developed the new standards with the help of about 100 educations from around the state and parents and business organizations. Garvey says now the decisions that affect the children in the classroom are made at the local parish level.
Colfax Representative Terry Brown has filed legislation for the regular session that would require the governor to look over Louisiana’s agreements with the Saints and Pelicans and allow him to renegotiate the contracts to reduce state subsidies. Brown says if we’re cutting public dollars for developmentally disabled children and roadways, state-funding for professional sports teams should be reduced. Brown says since 2002 the Saints and Pelicans have received about 369 million dollars from the state. According to a 2013 Forbes article, Owner Tom Benson will receive 392-million dollars in subsidies through 2025.
Three days left in the special session to address massive budget shortfalls this fiscal year and next. Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on lawmakers to raise revenues to fill the budget holes and he scored a victory last night when the House approved an increase to the state’s alcohol tax. The legislature has already agreed to raise the cigarette tax by 22-cents and it would generate 46-million dollars a year. If the Senate agrees to a higher alcohol tax, it would raise four-million dollars this fiscal year. The Governor did say during a late-night press conference he opposes increasing the sales tax beyond the 1 cent already approved.
Governor John Bel Edwards is demanding the House of Representatives approves more bills to generate revenue. Edwards says without new revenues hospitals, universities and other necessary state services could have to close their doors. He says it’s time for the legislature to act. Reports say legislators are looking to increase the state’s sales tax even more, possibly by one and a half or two cents.
Baton Rouge Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb has filed a bill that would increase the fine for texting while driving. The fine for texting, emailing, or checking social media while driving is currently $175, but this bill seeks to raise that fine to $500. Highway safety advocate Jim Champagne says police are having a hard time getting a handle on the issue. Champagne says Alaska has the highest penalty for texting while driving, with a $10,000 fine. He says Louisiana’s penalty is relatively low compared to other states. He says too many people are texting or using their phones while driving, and it is not safe for other drivers.
Louisiana Tech researchers are working with the New Orleans Police Department to help them select new officers who will best fit the N-O-P-D’s new community based approach to law enforcement. Louisiana Tech Professor Frank Igou says believes New Orleans P-D contacted Louisiana Tech because they have an intensive research and consulting group. He says researchers traveled to New Orleans to sit in on police academy sessions, ride along with on-duty officers, and to meet with officials to determine who is needed on the force.
Spring football kicks off today for the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals will practice 14 times before the Spring Game, which will take place on April 16th at 3 PM in Tiger Stadium. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the biggest curiosity heading into spring is LSU’s new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who is expected to bring a different look to the Tigers defense
A Natchitoches teen has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his father. The suspect, Marlon Rachal II, was arrested by Natchitoches Police officers. He is accused of killing his father, 39 year old Marlon Rachal Sr of Natchitoches Saturday morning. Rachal II turned himself in to police without incident and was charged with second-degree murder. He is being held in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.