News for Monday 060319
Compiled By Dave Graichen
We note the passing over the weekend of a Louisiana Legend. Leah Chase was know by many as the Queen of Creole Cuisine. But, she was also a civil rights pioneer. Leah Chase died Saturday, surrounded by her family. She was 96.
The state Senate approves a 30-billion dollar budget for next fiscal year and the controversy over the fetal heartbeat abortion bill spilled into the debate. New Orleans Senator and chairwoman of the state Democratic Party , Karen Carter Peterson, tried to steer more money towards the state’s foster care system, but it was shot down by her colleagues. If the federal courts uphold a similar law in Mississippi, than abortions would be outlawed in Louisiana once doctors detects the heartbeat of a fetus, usually six weeks into a pregnancy. The House and Senate still have to settle their differences with the spending plan.
Governor Edwards proposal to provide teachers with a one-thousand dollar pay raise and also provide public schools with 39-million dollars in block grant funding received approval from a key committee in the House. The Appropriations Committee okayed the proposal, despite concerns it may cause funding problems in future years. House Republicans rejected a similar proposal earlier this year over concerns the state can’t afford this type of spending.
Teachers may not know what kind of pay raise their getting yet, but judges are celebrating as a 2.5 percent pay raise, with potential for a 2.5 percent raise every year for the next five years. That as a result of bill that has received final legislative passage.
A study by LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott indicated Louisiana judges were 2.5 percent behind the southern regional average in pay. The raise will cost 1.8 million in the first year and could grow to 9.5 million if the State Supreme Court approves raises in each of the next five years.
A bill prohibiting handheld use of cellphones while behind the wheel has cleared the House and is being heard in Senate Judiciary Committee C today. From there, it would need final passage on the Senate floor before the session wraps up on Thursday. Last year, a similar effort got hung up, but Breaux Bridge Representative Mike Huval is confident this year will be different. Current law only calls for no handheld cell phone use while driving in a school zone.
A bill to bring Uber and Lyft ride sharing services to Alexandria and rural areas is close to final legislative passage. The proposal has died in the Senate the last two years, but over the weekend the upper chamber approved the measure 34-to-1. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau (Lou-NO) says this legislation can help reduce drunk driving deaths among college students. The lone Senator to vote against the measure was Kenner Republican Danny Martiny, who questioned why Lyft and Uber would not be regulated by the Public Service Commission, which currently regulates taxi cabs. The bill still needs House approval of changes made by the Senate, but that is expected to happen.
Houma Representative Beryl Amadee withdraws her bill that would extend Stand Your Ground legal protections to houses of worship amid concerns from opponents who say the legislation could extend to interpersonal conflicts, and poorly defines what a “justifiable threat” is in a church.
The House Ag Committee advances a Senate-approved bill that would prohibit Louisiana manufacturers from labeling foods such as of cauliflower rice as rice when it doesn’t contain rice. Opponents of the bill say it will also be a hindrance to manufacturers who specialize in producing plant-based meat imitation products.
The bill moved forward without any objecting votes.
Beer and wine could be available for purchase in the general seating areas in Tiger Stadium this year as the SEC has lifted its stadium wide ban on alcohol sales. Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says LSU has been a driving force behind this rule change.
The policy change gives the 14 schools in the SEC the ability to draw up their own alcohol sale policy.
AAA is warning drivers to be extra cautious on the roads this summer as teens off from school pack the roadways. Spokesperson Don Redman says there’s a 17 percent increase in fatal teen crashes during this period relative to other times in the year.
The top three killers of teen drivers are speeding at 28 percent of all fatalities, drunk driving at 17 percent, and distraction at 9 percent. Redman says parents need to set a good example for all three, particularly distraction.
Port Allen based Holy Family Catholic School Principle Michael Comeau was arrested in Washington D.C. Friday morning while in the Capital for a school field trip for allegedly getting highly intoxicated at a strip club, refusing to pay his bill, and then standing drunkenly in the roadway and refusing to move when police arrived on the scene. Comeau is an award winning educator who’s previously received the prestigious Milken award.
Police are investing an arson and vandalism case at a Lake Charles church that occurred May 22nd. The church security camera caught a suspect walking up to the church with a five gallon bucket of some kind of liquid, and filmed them as they attempted to kick in the glass door. After failing to do so, the suspect kicks in a side window, tosses the liquid in, and follows it up by throwing items he lit on fire on the liquid. A vehicle has also been caught on film. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Lake Charles Police.
LSU will play in a Super Regional series for a 14th time in program history as the Fighting Tigers won the Baton Rouge Regional last night with a six to four victory over Southern Miss. LSU will host Florida State in the Super Regionals, which will start on either Friday or Saturday.