News for Tuesday 060716
By Dave Graichen
Local authorities are investigating what appears to have been a hit and run over the weekend on England Drive and Browns Bend Rd. 35-year-old Marquis Butler was pronounced dead at the scene. Anyone with information concerning the incident is asked to call the APD or RPSO.
The second special session of 2016 is underway and lawmakers are looking at their options to raise enough revenue to reduce cuts to state programs, like TOPS and hospitals that provide care for the poor and uninsured. Personal and corporate income taxes are an option for raising revenue. Lawmakers have also proposed reducing or eliminating some corporate tax exemptions. Senate President John Alario believes the legislature needs to raise about $450 million to ensure that TOPS, higher ed and safety net hospitals are adequately funded. Alario says he is not opposed to altering state income tax rates or removing exemptions, if it means all of the state’s priorities will be funded.
Governor John Bel Edwards is set to address a joint session of the state legislature at 10 this morning, which marks the official kickoff to the special session that was called to address a $600 million revenue shortfall. Legislators also have to pass a $4 billion construction budget that would pay for road work and improvements to public buildings and state parks. Edwards is upset the House failed to negotiate the construction spending plan during the regular session.
The special session must end by June 23 at midnight.
The Governor has signed the Louisiana Family Caregiver Act into law, which supporters say will provide critical help for families across the state. Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl says this will assist the more than 660-thousand family members who help out an aging relative. It’s estimated this type of unpaid care to family members in our state amount to about 6-point-4 billion dollars annually. Muhl says this legislation will save the state money by reducing costly hospital readmissions, as family caregivers will be able to perform the tasks the patients need. The unanimously-approved law goes into effect August 1.
A small Tensas parish town is one step closer to having clean water after being plagued by murky brown tap water. The town of St. Joseph has agreed to appoint a fiscal administrator so audits on the town can be cleared up and work can begin to repair the town’s water system. The governor’s Communications Director, Richard Carbo says St. Jo has not been able to get approval to use state funds to fix the water system because Mayor Edward Brown missed the December deadline to file an audit. Carbo says they’re making progress, but at this point it’s still not clear when clean water will flow from the taps in St. Joseph.
A trooper was injured in a fatal St. Charles Parish incident that involved two suspected drunk drivers and a man who stopped on the Bonne Carre spillway to relieve himself. State Police say a man suspected of being impaired, plowed into the back of the stopped vehicle killing a passenger sitting in the vehicle. A trooper was responding to the first crash scene on the spillway was hit from behind by yet another impaired driver. The trooper was wearing a seat belt and sustained minor injuries in the crash. The only charges filed thus far are against the man who stopped to pee.
Citizens in Franklin Parish continue to mourn the death of a Winnsboro Police Department officer who died in a car crash while he was on-duty over the weekend, according to officials. They say Sergeant Derrick Mingo, who is also a former employee of the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office, was on his way to help another officer dealing with a drunk driver, when he left a roadway and crashed into a tree. State Police say he was not wearing a seat belt.
The University of New Orleans will soon have a new digital animation lab on campus. UNO fine arts instructor Jeff Rinehart led the effort to secure a $94-thousand grant for the school’s new Innovation Lab, which will be open to all students working on digital media projects. Rinehart says the department is working toward creating a new media and animation degree.
Rinehart says the lab should be open to students by the 2017 spring semester.
Plans have been unveiled for a Riverfront Improvement Project in Natchitoches. Mayor Lee Posey says the project will update some infrastructure along the river and improve handicap accessibility. Posey says they will put new bathrooms on the riverbank, double the size of the stage on the river, add new landscaping, and even repave the asphalt along the riverbank. He says the project will cost just over $4 million. He says state and private agencies will split the costs of the project. Posey says they hope to have everything ready by the beginning of next year.
It’s win or go home for the LSU baseball team today after losing to Rice 10 to 6 last night. That loss forced a winner takes all match up this afternoon at 4 in the Baton Rouge Regional..
The Ragin Cajuns season came to a quick end last night as they lost two games to Arizona, which resulted in the wildcats winning the Lafayette regional and advancing to the Super regionals.