News for Wednesday 032316
By Dave Graichen
He left his job of 20 plus years at the end of January during what many called a political witch hunt. But now, a multi-agency investigation finds that former Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain did not participate in any illegal activity. There were accusations Cain told state corrections employees to work on his homes, while also receiving a pay check for working at the prison. There were also claims Cain had workers drive his wife's state-owned vehicle to give the appearance she was working, when she was not. Inspector General Stephen Street says the available facts do not support any of the allegations.
Grant Parish State Rep. Terry Brown claims Rapides Parish is not being a "good neighbor” to Grant Parish because it won’t support a bill designed to stop, what he calls, a health hazard. Brown is co-author of House Bill 11, which would prohibit open burning of munitions or waste explosives. Something Clean Harbor Colfax has been doing since the early 90’s. Brown added yesterday, The people of Grant Parish do most of their shopping in Rapides Parish, and they’re all disappointed that the Rapides Parish Police Jury is not going to be a good neighbor. Some members of the Rapides Parish Police jury are considering changing their vote.
Legislation is heading to the Senate floor that would allow Louisiana to comply with the security measures of the federal REAL ID act. The bill is similar to one that former Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed over privacy concerns in 2014. But Governor John Bel Edwards supports this legislation that would allow Louisiana residents to decide if they want REAL-ID compliant licenses. Supporters say refusal to comply with the REAL ID law could result in residents needing a passport to fly domestically next year.
Also heading to the Senate floor, is a bill that would allow any Louisiana voter to vote by mail. State law only allows an absentee vote if that person has a reason they can’t vote in person. The Secretary of State’s office did not speak in opposition to the legislation, but said the new law would increase the cost of a ballot by over a dollar. Despite cost concerns, the Senate Government Affairs committee approved the legislation.
The House education committee is expected to debate today legislation that would prohibit school boards from requiring school uniforms. The bill’s author, Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater, says the bill was the result of an exercise he did with fourth graders, who approved this legislation during a field trip to the state capitol.
Louisiana is still hurting from the massive downpours that dumped upwards of two feet of rain in some areas. West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth is concerned how parish governments will pay for the damage, even if they are eligible for federal assistance and only have to pay a quarter of the cost for a road that was washed away by the floods.
A proposed bill seeks to add “blaze pink” as an alternative for the hunter orange requirements. Bogalusa Representative Malinda White says the House Natural Resources Committee is expected to hear this proposed legislation today. She says this would give female hunters more options, without detracting from the safety aspect.
Every year animal shelters see an influx of bunnies after Easter, because parents bought rabbits for their children, but were unprepared to care for them. Alicia Haefele (HAY-flee), with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says rabbits require as much care as a dog or cat, plus they like to chew electrical chords, rugs and even furniture. She says many of these Easter bunnies end up in rabbit rescue facilities after the holiday. Haefele advises people to get plush or chocolate bunnies instead.
Two of the top 10 fattest metro areas in the country are in Louisiana, according to a study from WalletHub. Shreveport ranked second and New Orleans came in at number five. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzales says the study looked at obesity in children and teens as well, and she says Louisiana did not perform well in that category either. In case you’re wondering, the fattest metro area is Memphis, Tennessee, and the thinnest is Honolulu, Hawaii.
Former NFL Saints player Darren Sharper has plead guilty again to charges of drugging and raping women in four states. This time he’ll leave the length of his sentence up to a federal judge. His plea deal resulting in a 9-year sentence was rejected, and he now faces 15to 20 years.
State Police rescue two abducted North Carolina teens that were traveling with their uncle on Interstate 10. Sgt. Nick Manale says authorities in Winston-Salem called LSP to report 40-year-old Jose Melchor was likely traveling west through New Orleans, possibly on his way to Mexico. He says both the 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were found unharmed. Manale says Melchor was booked into the St. James Parish Jail and is awaiting extradition back to North Carolina.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine wants first responders to learn animal CPR. Professor Dr. Kirk Ryan says previously, in different veterinary schools there were different methods of CPR for pets. He says they want to standardize a method to get all emergency personnel on the same page. Ryan says dogs are susceptible to smoke inhalation, so in the event of a house fire it’s important EMS or firefighters know how to help an animal.
The president isn’t the only one making a trip to Cuba this week as LSU coach Les Miles is also in the country. Former Tiger baseball star Mikie Mahtook, who currently plays for Tampa Bay, tweeted that Miles would watch the Rays play the Cuban National Team. LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette says this is Miles’ spring break trip. Bonnette says Miles planned on visiting several schools during his trip.