News for Monday February 10th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Concerns over lessening demand and uncertainty involving the Wuhan Coronavirus are likely to keep oil prices low, and volatile for the near future according to the LSU Center for Energy Studies. Executive Director David Dismukes says until the world finds out just how severe the Wuhan Coronavirus is, prices will remain in flux, but trending downward. A gallon of gas in Louisiana averages $2.13
A 19-month-old boy was shot to death in Louisiana and police have arrested his father on a manslaughter charge. The shooting happened Friday night in Shreveport.
Investigators believe the child's father was mishandling a firearm when it discharged, striking the child in the chest. The child died later at Oschner LSU Hospital.
The Governor’s July 1st budget proposal calls for a 128 million dollar increase in general fund spending, but does not include a teacher pay raise, has angering teachers unions who backed his reelection. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says school districts will be given funds they can use to give raises, but Louisiana Federation of Teachers Legislative Director Cynthia Posey says it’s not the same. Louisiana teachers received a 1,000 dollar pay raise in the last session, but still, have average pay below the southern regional average.
State Treasurer John Schroder is in a legal battle with Governor Edwards over the state trying to spend unclaimed property money as part of the state general fund. Schroder says the department was short $20 million last fiscal year in paying 82,000 claims because of previous dips into unclaimed property money. Edwards countered that the Unclaimed Property Fund hit a balance of more than $78-million, leaving a healthy balance of funds for Schroder.
TORT reform may suck up a lot of air in the car insurance premium debate at the Capitol but one Senator has a few bills he says are small, common-sense fixes to lower rates. Alexandria Democrat Jay Luneau’s first bill would prevent insurance companies from charging you more for your insurance just because you have a lower credit rating.
Real Reform Louisiana claims a person with a DWI and a high credit rating pays less for insurance than a person with a clean record but low credit score. Luneau says most insurers in Louisiana also raise rates on people who are widowed. His second bill would end that practice. His third bill deals with incidents where Louisianans in the military are deployed overseas, don’t renew their insurance for six months and are hit with a premium increase. His fourth bill would block insurers from charging someone a higher premium on the basis of their sex alone, once they are older than 25.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports 35 year old Kyle Joekel, who was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2012 ambush shooting deaths of two St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff's deputies, has been given the death penalty. Joekel had little reaction to the decision at the St. John the Baptist Parish Courthouse on Sunday morning
State health officials are investigating L’Auberge Casino in Lake Charles after 200 people are reported sick from an outbreak of the norovirus. The highly contagious gastrointestinal virus can cause symptoms even three weeks after exposure. The agency’s encourages you to report it to the State Department of Health if you have symptoms.
Holden Matthews, the man accused of torching three St. Landry churches last spring, will have a plea-change hearing today in Lafayette. Matthews had originally given a plea of not guilty. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the judge will hold the hearing to make sure that the suspect is changing his plea voluntarily. Meche says if the judge accepts the guilty plea, a sentencing date will be set for some time in the next 2 to 3 months.
Matthews is also facing state charges, but Meche says Matthews may never go to trial on those based on what happens with the federal charges.
Two brothers are in critical condition after jumping off a party bus in Ascension Parish early Saturday morning. Police say the bus was returning to Thibodaux from Baton Rouge, it happened at 4am on Airline Highway south of Interstate 10. Police say the bus was transporting approximately 40 young adults and the two young men jumped off for unknown reasons.
A St. Martinville man died Saturday evening after his ATV was struck by a hit-and-run driver. A spokesman for State Police Troop I says the accident happened just before 7 p.m. on Saturday. 36 year old Jamaal James died in the crash.