News for Wednesday 051116
By Dave Graichen
State Police say a teenager from Marksville died Tuesday morning following a crash with a school bus in Avoyelles Parish. Investigators determined 19-year-old Joshua Frank lost control of his vehicle and collided with the school bus that was going in the opposite direction. There were no children on the bus at the time, but troopers say Frank wasn’t buckled up and he died at the scene.
A major drug bust in Grant Parish has led to the arrests of 9 people. Sheriff Steve McCain says the 4 month investigation was a major undercover operation. All of those arrested live in Montgomery. One was a 16-year-old juvenile.
Governor Edwards signs into law a bill that means the TOPS scholarship is no longer guaranteed to cover the full cost of a student’s tuition, starting in the fall of 2017. The bill locks in the amount of a TOPS scholarship at next year’s amount, and the award will not automatically increase, even if tuition costs go up. If tuition costs continue to rise, students will have to pay more of their tuition, unless the legislature agrees to increase TOPS payments. Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue says this bill won’t solve all of the TOPS funding issues, but it’s a start.
The House Education Committee has approved a bill that would allow students to attend any public school in their district. Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater supports the proposal. He says this opens the doors for children to attend the best schools, no matter where they are zoned, provided the school they choose has room for more students. Associate Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Donald Songy, says this would be a difficult policy to put in place. The measure heads to the House floor.
The House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously approved legislation that would establish a Bullying Awareness and Treatment Taskforce aimed at ending bullying in Louisiana. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says a large number of Louisiana students are being bullied, and many are too afraid to speak up about it. Norton says this taskforce would include representatives from the Department of Education, as well as the Department of Health and Hospitals’ mental health services. She says the goal is to help children on both sides of the bullying.
Legislation that would make it a hate crime if a person targets police officers or firefighters is nearing final legislative passage. The bill’s author, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, says additional protections are needed for those who protect and serve. The measure has been dubbed as the “Blue Lives Matter” bill.
A bill to penalize those under 18 for drinking at a private residence failed to pass out of House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday after lengthy debate.
Under current law, those younger than 21 years old can drink for religious or medical reasons, when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or if they are in a private residence.
Legislation that seeks to protect gays and transgender individuals from discrimination on the job is heading to the Senate floor after barely getting enough votes to pass out of a committee. Author of the measure, New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says there shouldn’t be any discrimination. The Louisiana Family Forum and business groups oppose the measure. The bill passed on a 2-1 vote and heads to the Senate floor for more debate.
A bill that would set up a legal framework in Louisiana between parents and surrogate mothers now moves to the full Senate for final legislative passage. The proposed law would grant immediate custody of the child to the genetic parents rather than the surrogate mother. Norco Sen. Gary Smith says this measure will protect Louisiana families.
Digital billboards are up in Baton Rouge and Shreveport urging residents to contact their legislators and ask them to support legislation that would expand the number of diseases medical marijuana can treat. Katie Corkern is featured on one of the billboards and she says FDA approved medication doesn’t help her child that has a seizure disorder. The bill is expected to be debated on the House floor today.
Gonzales Police have arrested a 21-year-old mother from Prairieville after it was learned her two-year-old child ate methamphetamine. Police say the woman told investigators her child got the meth out of her purse.
The photo of a service dog in the yearbook for West Monroe’s Good Hope Middle School is receiving national attention. The dog’s name is Presley and his headshot is next to her 14-year-old owner who has muscular dystrophy. The school’s yearbook advisor Sonya Hogg says it was a no-brainer to include Presley in the school yearbook.
Here’s a shocking story out of Thibodaux. Police there say a juvenile beat up an elderly woman who refused to give oral sex. The incident happened as the 61-year-old woman was walking down the street. The juvenile male was charged with simple battery of the infirmed.