News for Monday February 3rd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Assignments for two key House committees are in and Democrats have increased their representation relative to the last term thanks to the bipartisan coalition that elected Speaker Clay Schexnayder. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says that’s their reward for backing Schexnayder. A majority of Republicans backed Albany’s Sherman Mack, considered more conservative than Schexnayder. The coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats now narrowly controls Ways and Means and Appropriations.
Over the past year, President Donald Trump has raked in more campaign contributions from Louisiana residents than all 11 Democratic candidates combined. Trump, a Republican who received a record number of votes in Louisiana when he ran four years ago, amassed more than $1.2 million from Louisiana donors in 2019, records show. His total nationwide haul was more than $211 million. The final campaign finance reports of 2019 were due Friday.
Louisiana high school principals will have to wait another year to try and mend the public private school athletics playoff split in four sports after a proposal to end the separation failed to get the 2/3rd vote needed. LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine says in the meantime they’ll look to better define what a select or private school is. The final vote to end the split received 52 percent.
Maplewood Middle School in Sulphur is home to a Grammy winner in Mickey Smith, who was honored with the Music Educator Award. Smith came onto the Grammy’s radar after he was nominated by Sulphur local, two time Grammy nominee Sean Ardoin, who’s known for his work in creole rock and roll. Ardoin noticed Smith had grown the school band to half the schools population.
AAA is concerned about the growing movement to legalize recreational marijuana, citing evidence of increasing drug based DUIs in legal states. AAA spokesperson Don Redman says drivers are already very nonchalant about toking and driving as 70% think they won’t be caught, and it has the potential to get worse. Redman says in the five years prior to the state of Washington legalizing recreational use, 9% of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for THC. That numbers double.
Louisiana State Police added 51 Troopers to its force as their 99th cadet class graduated Friday. State Police Lt Nick Manale says they are prepping for their historic 100th cadet class at the LSP Academy and graduation day is a momentous occasion for every trooper.
About 300 needle incineration devices are being distributed to first responders in East Baton Rouge, Terrebonne, and Point Coupee parishes. The device is the SANDD-mini, which stands for sharps and needles destruction device. CEO of Redhawk Holdings, the company behind the device, Darcy Klug says while the needle is destroyed, it doesn’t tamper with any possible evidence. The device has the potential to save taxpayer dollars. Klug says a single needle stick injury can top $30k in workers comp costs, even if a first responder doesn’t contract a disease such as Hep C or HIV. More parishes are expected to obtain the devices in teh near future.
In Calcasieu Parish, the courts are going to start looking at better ways to get people to show up for court. Reportedly 350 people were summoned for jury duty last week, but only 72 actually appeared according to Judge Robert Wyatt in Lake Charles. Wyatt says courts might have to begin limiting excused absences and change the way it subpoenas potential jurors.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is in trouble with the I-R-S and the tax collection agency has reportedly filed a number of liens on her home because she owes nearly 100-thousand dollars in overdue taxes.
A Tulane survey of primary care appointment wait times finds compared to white callers, minorities have three to seven day longer wait times to get a call back for scheduling. Soon-to-be Tulane research assistant professor Brig Walker says minority callers also faced more questions. The field study was conducted in Texas, where Tulane recruited Hispanic, black, and white callers who placed appointment requests with 800 primary care offices. Hispanics faced a three day longer wait, and blacks a seven day longer wait than similar white patients. Walker says that can have a serious impact on health outcomes.
LSU is 8-0 in SEC play after Saturday’s 73-63 win over Ole Miss. LSU has two games on the road this week. They are at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, who is winless in league play and then they travel to Auburn, who just beat Kentucky.
Louisiana Tech men’s basketball is on a four-game winning streak and the Bulldogs have moved into a first place tie with North Texas for first place in Conference. Tech won a thriller on Saturday, a 76-73 victory over Old Dominion.