News for Monday 032116
By Dave Graichen
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee begins reviewing today hundreds of tax exemptions, exclusions, rebates and refunds provided by the state to individuals and businesses. Chairman JP Morrell of New Orleans says during the course of this legislative session they will take a close look at each exemption to decide which ones are beneficial to the state. Louisiana gives about 400 tax exemptions, costing the state over 8-billion dollars in revenue. Morrell says some of these credits are ridiculous.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says his office will announce this week how much of a cut higher education and health care will receive as a result of a 70-million dollar deficit for this fiscal year. Dardenne says unfortunately these two areas are on the chopping block, because cuts have already been made to other state agencies. Dardenne says public colleges have already received a 28-million dollar loss in funding this fiscal year, because the state ran out of money to pay for TOPS scholarships.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says over 11-thousand homes received some type of flood damage. 26 parishes are eligible for federal assistance. The state will begin distributing disaster food stamps this week, flood victims are encouraged to register now at DCFS website.
Good news for motorists heading to Texas, Interstate 10 is now open in both directions at the Texas state line.
All the flood waters and recent rainfall could lead to more mosquitoes and health officials are urging folks to make sure they are taking precautions. Dr. Frank Welch with the Department of Health and Hospitals says this is typical for this time of year, but the flooding makes it worse.
Experts say southeast Louisiana is at a high risk of a Zika outbreak this summer. A study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research finds New Orleans is at a high risk because of the high poverty rate and a lot of visitors from countries where Zika is prevalent. The Center for Disease Control says there were two confirmed travel-related Zika cases in Louisiana last month but none transmitted locally.
Last year, the state legislature approved a bill that gives Louisiana residents legal access to medical marijuana, but it’s still not available in this state. The man who pushed for the legislation, St. Martin Parish Senator Fred Mills, says the department of agriculture along with a couple of other groups are still working on the details. The legislation that passed last year allows people with glaucoma, patients undergoing chemotherapy or those suffering from a rare form cerebral palsy to get medical marijuana in Louisiana. However, Medical marijuana is still unavailable in Louisiana, and Mills says many people are moving to others states that do have it.
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden says he is almost 100% sure he’ll run for the 2nd Congressional District seat in the fall. The seat is currently held by US Representative Cedric Richmond. An official announcement from Holden is expected next month.
It’s expected the legislature will get involved in the public versus private school split that’s impacted high school sports. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot has filed a bill that attempts to reverse the LHSAA’s decision to split its postseason in several sports. Talbot says the split is hurting high school athletics. Talbot’s bill would prevent a high school from receiving state funds, if they participate in an association with a split postseason. Schools around the state have been invited to join a new high school sports association that would NOT have a split playoff system.
A man suspected of stealing a generator from a home drowned as he tried to flee from the scene. LaFourche Parish authorities say the man dropped the generator in the driveway and ran from a home in Golden Meadow after he was spotted by the homeowner. A witness says he saw the man jump into a bayou. His body was recovered later that day.
Slidell Police have arrested a girls basketball coach at Slidell High for allegedly having sexual relations with students. Police Chief Randy Smith says there were several students in which 35-year-old Raymond Winzy exhibited inappropriate behavior with. Smith says police searched Winzy’s home and classroom and found nude photos and videos on multiple electronic devices.
The sixth ranked LSU baseball team busted out of a hitting slump by scoring six runs in the 8th inning to beat Alabama 7-5 to avoid a three-game sweep. The Tigers needed that inning after getting swept in a doubleheader on Saturday.