KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 04/25/13

News for Thursday 042513

By Dave Graichen


An independent investigation, conducted by a new Orleans law firm, looking into the actions of Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard, found he “engaged in falsehoods and misrepresented material information to the Board of Trustees on countless occasions.” However,  A special committee of the LC board found Aguillard “has not acted improperly.” That committee is due to report back to the board at a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday on the LC Pineville campus .


Central Louisiana community leaders spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon making the case with the U.S. Army for the sustained viability of Fort Polk and its multibillion-dollar annual impact in the state. Baton Rouge economist Loren Scott estimated that Fort Polk has an annual $1.86 billion economic impact, including a $980 million payroll, which makes Fort Polk the largest federal employer in the state. (Scott calculated that a reduction of 5,300 troops would result in an annual loss to the state government of more than $24 million and more than $7 million in local government revenues. Counting families, contractors and more, the troop reduction would mean a total population of more than 20,700 people.)


LSU System President Dr. William L. Jenkins has named a 20-member search committee of faculty, staff and students, as well as community leaders to help select the next chancellor for LSU-Alexandria. The panel that will recommend finalists for the post to the LSU Board of Supervisors, who will ultimately choose the new chancellor to succeed David P. Manuel, who is set to begin serving as chancellor of Drury University in Springfield, Mo., in May.


The House Health  and  Welfare  committee votes down a proposal that would  require Louisiana to cover  more uninsured people through the state's Medicaid program. An expansion  of  the  Medicaid program is part  of  the federal health care reforms. Governor  Jindal  lobbied against it.  Supporters  of  the Medicaid expansion say it will help cover 400-thousand Louisiana residents  who  currently  lack  health insurance.  But Jindal says the Medicaid Program is inefficient  and outdated and it doesn't make sense to expand it.. A  Medicaid  expansion  bill  was  also heard in Senate  Health  and

Welfare but was deferred one week.


The  controversial  bill  to  allow  optometrists   to  perform  eye procedures  currently  only allowed to ophthalmologists  was  pulled from House debate today,  by  its  author  Monroe  area  Rep.  Frank Hoffman. Hoffman asked to return the bill to the calendar, while  he worked   on  some  amendments  that  would  make  the  measure  more

acceptable   to   ophthalmologists.   Ophthalmologists  are  medical doctors; most optometrists are not.


A proposal seeking to create a seamless network of early childhood education programs and standards for kindergarten readiness cleared the Senate without opposition. Under Senate Bill 130 the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would oversee all publicly-funded programs that provide education services to children from birth to age 5. The bill would require BESE to establish and implement common standards for kindergarten readiness, assessment and accountability. The system would be in place by the 2015-2016 school year. The bill now moves to the house.


Another  attempt  to place a cap on TOPS performance  based  college tuition  grants  is scheduled  in  the  Senate  Education  Committee tomorrow. Jennings  Senator Blade Moorish is the sponsor. He says he supports TOPS, but it's  becoming  unsustainable. His bill would cap it at its current level plus ten percent. TOPS costs taxpayers about

$168-million a year, and it's projected to double in cost by 2017.


The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow  residents to apply for a lifetime permit to carry a concealed weapon.  The bill is sponsored by freshman Rep. Barry Ivey, of Baton Rouge, who  says the measure is simply an option for approved CCP holders at a $500  cost. The House passed the  bill by 64-19 vote; sending it over to the Senate.


Attorney  General  Buddy  Caldwell  announces  9  people  have  been arrested  in  the  latest undercover investigation  targeting  child predators across Southern  Louisiana. HE says the Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force works tirelessly to pursue people who exploit and victimize children  online.  Additional  arrests are

possible as the investigations continue.


According to a report by the Council For A Better  Louisiana, public schools  are  still  facing "chronic challenges." CABL's  review  is called the Louisiana Report  Card  on  Major  Education Initiatives. CABLE  President  Barry  Erwin  says  72.3  percent of  high  school students graduated on time last year and the  number of dropouts has

dramatically declined in recent years. He hopes  that  policy makers will  use  the report to understand the urgency in keeping  momentum going.


Pointe Copuee Parish deputies  are  investigating  the  murder  of a 92-year-old woman inside her New Roads home. Sheriff Bud Torres says Buelleur  Morris  was found beaten to death yesterday by her family. He says whoever killed  the elderly woman was let into the home, and did not force entry.


On the heels  of  last week's tragedy in Boston, a Vermillion Parish company has seen a  high  demand  from  law enforcement agencies for their  trained  bomb-sniffing  dogs.  US  K9 Unlimited  owner  Roger Abshire says his dogs have been in demand across  the  country, even locally here in Louisiana.


Legislation aimed at ensuring that women and men are compensated equally for doing the same work stalled Wednesday in the state Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. The panel deadlocked in a 4-4 vote for Senate Bill 153 by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans. Murray could try to revive the measure at another meeting.



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