News for Monday 070113
By Dave Graichen
Another of the governor’s plans has gone down in flames, The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to shift future rank-and-file state workers to a 401(k)-style retirement plan is unconstitutional. The state seeks to cut it's retirement debt by making the move. The High Court ruled the law was unconstitutional because it didn't receive a two-thirds majority from lawmakers. In a written statement, the Governor says he'll "work with lawmakers on the best way to proceed".
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Agents are participating in Operation Dry Water thru the 4th of July weekend. Wildlife agents are increasing patrols, looking for boaters operating or driving a boat while intoxicated. Boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent will be charged with a DWI. Meaning you COULD lose your driver’s license.
State Health officials say mosquito-borne West Nile virus activity has been slow so far, a good indicator of a low-infection season. State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoul Ratard says a long, cool Spring has kept mosquito activity and West Nile cases very low. Last year, about 160 were infected with West Nile, and 18 died from the neuroinvasive form of the disease. State officials say the best way to avoid getting the virus, it to avoid being bitten my mosquitoes.
The most sweeping changes to America's health care system in 50 years takes effect in just 90 days. The changes are the main part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2009, also called Obamacare. John Maginnis, with the Louisiana Healthcare Education Coalition, says the Coalition's website has lots of information to help you understand what may change for you, under the health care reforms. Maginnis says, under healthcare reform, persons under the federal poverty level will get free health care under Medicaid. Those earning from 100% to 400% of poverty level will be eligible for health care premium subsidies. That website: LHEC.net
We are now one month into the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and have already seen two named storms. State Climatologist Barry Keim says, Warm sea surface temperatures and the absence of a Pacific El Nino, or La Nina - which can mitigate Atlantic storm formation - are behind forecasts of between 18 to 20 named storms this year. Keim feels the predictions are valid, and advises having your hurricane "game plan" ready for whatever comes.
Louisiana Tech athletics becomes an official member of Conference USA today, after a 12-year run in the Western Athletic Conference. Sports Information Director Malcolm Butler says instead of playing schools way out west, Tech will go up against nearby schools like Southern Miss, North Texas and U-A-B. Butler says Conference USA allows Tech to have regional rivalries, which should lead to greater interest in Bulldog athletics and more money coming into the athletic program.
Drug enforcement cops in Natchitoches have busted four people for allegedly distributing crystal meth and for cruelty to juveniles - via exposing them to the dangerous drug. Police Chief Roger Henson says a search warrant for the Natchitoches home turned up meth and other drugs and paraphernalia, and three kids living amongst all that. Two of the kids tested positive for meth in routine drug
screenings. The kids are now in protective custody. Three men and one woman, ll between 25 and 32 years of age have been arrested.
A tow truck driver died Sunday morning, about seven hours after he was struck by an alleged drunken driver while trying to move a disabled vehicle on the side of Interstate 10. 25 year old Blaze Louviere of Breaux Bridge, was standing on the shoulder of the interstate when a 2000 GMC Yukon driven by a 25 year old Texas man struck him and continued driving. Other drivers and witnesses to the accident followed the man into the Breaux Bridge city limits where Breaux Bridge police stopped and held him until State Police arrived to arrest him. Louviere was taken to a hospital in critical condition where he later died.