News for Monday 060313
By Dave Graichen
The state Senate adopted a $25 billion state spending plan Saturday that would create one-time salary supplements for public schoolteachers and school nurses. After 31/2 hours of debate, the Senate voted 37-1 in favor of sending House Bill 1, the main budget legislation, to the House for concurrence on the changes. Lawmakers who helped craft the House version of the $25 billion budget said Sunday that they don’t support the Senate’s changes to the spending plans for next year. The document is a radical makeover of the budget the House sent the Senate in May. Differences will need to be worked out in five days. The session ends at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Governor Jindal signs legislation that's designed to make it easier for Louisiana families to adopt children who are in the state's foster care system. The law is called the Louisiana Has Faith in Families Act. Jindal says one critical component of the act is that it reduces the wait time for adoptions to be completed. State officials say there are about five-hundred children in foster care available to be placed in a permanent home.
Opelousas State Senator Elbert Guillory has left the state's Democratic Party and become a Republican; making him the only black GOP member in the state Legislature. Guillory says over the past few years, the Democrats have become what he calls "the Party of Disappointment", and remain out of touch on several issues. Guillory made his announcement as he received the Frederick Douglass Award at a national conference of black conservatives in Baton Rouge.
With the hurricane season underway, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon urges homeowners to make sure they understand their level of coverage. Donelon says read your policy so you understand the deductible you'll pay, if your home is damaged by a named storm. He says it varies depending on the insurance provider. Donelon says now is the time to get flood insurance, if you don't have it. He says it will be too late, once a storm enters the gulf.
A 13-year-old boy came across a badly decomposed male body in Acadia Parish. Sheriff's office spokesperson Maxine Trahan says the teenager was riding his four-wheeler at an oil well site near Rayne when he made the grisly discovery. The Acadia Parish Coroner's office says the body may have been there less than a week. Trahan says they are treating the case as a homicide and they sent the body to Lake Charles for an autopsy.
A bill creating increased penalties for acts of domestic violence involving burning the victim has won final passage, and is going to the Governor's desk. The bill was conceived by Ouachita and Morehouse Parish D.A. Jerry Jones, who says a case he prosecuted in 2010--in which a woman suffered 24 hours of such abuse--was his inspiration. Under current state law, a person committing such a crime could only be sentenced to 15 years in jail. Under the new law, the sentence could be up to 50 years.
Starting August 1st, it will be illegal to use a hand held device for social networking while driving. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission director John LeBlanc says using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any internet browsing can get you a fine of $175 or more. The bill amends the state's existing ban on texting while driving, to encompass using a smartphone or tablet to read or send anything from behind the wheel. LeBlanc says the law contains exceptions for checking one's GPS for directions.
The LSU baseball team heads to the the NCAA Super Regionals after they defeat UL-Lafayette 5-1 on Sunday night in Alex Box Stadium. LSU is slated to take Oklahoma this weekend at the Box.