News for Friday 022814
By Dave Graichen
A judge in Texas ruled that the ban on gay marriage in the Lone Star State violates the US Constitution. The decision will be appealed and heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans which hears cases that come out of Texas Louisiana and Mississippi. Legal analyst Tim Meche thinks the Texas ruling could affect gay marriage laws here. The Texas lawsuit was originally filed by two same sex couples and Meche says if the 5th Circuit upholds the lower court's ruling, you'll probably see a similar case come up in Louisiana. He says opponents haven't made a good case in explaining why gay couples getting married should be against the law.
Senator David Vitter meets with state officials today to get an update on the investigation into the food stamp recipients who abused the system during a computer failure last October. The Dept of Children and Family Services announced six people have lost their benefits, but Vitter says why only six when over 12-thousand people overspent. Vitter says hopes these state agencies pick up the pace with their investigation and disqualify more than six people from the program.
A new report just released by the state Legislative Auditor’s office shows, Louisiana gave away 55 percent of its corporate tax revenues, while continuing to struggle with higher education funding, retirement system obligations and paying for other government services. Over a five-year period, state government gave up about $3 billion in taxes to encourage companies to come to Louisiana or to stay here. That’s out of a $5.4 billion that otherwise would have been collected through “corporate and franchise taxes.”
Rape accusations against former Saints safety Darren Sharper continued to mount Thursday as New Orleans police issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he is suspected of sexually assaulting two women in September at a Warehouse District apartment. Police said they also issued a warrant for Erik Nunez, one of Sharper’s friends, who is alleged to have raped the same two women the same night. The 38 year old Sharper is the focus of at least five other rape investigations in four states.
Lafayette Police say they've arrested a man who was unable to drive a manual transmission which gave him trouble trying to steal a car. Corporal Paul Mouton says Harold Sam, who is just 18 years old, allegedly threw a woman to the ground then tried to get away in her car. As you may suspect, Sam faces numerous charges.
Crawfish boil gatherings over the Mardi Gras weekend may find it difficult to get enough of their main dish. That's because cold weather in January and early February affected the crop. Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association Director, Stephen Minvielle says crawfish suppliers will be hard pressed to meet the demand. It’s expected the low supply of crawfish coupled with the high demand
will lead to high prices for mudbugs.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is reminding property owners of a rebate available to them. It's called the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Assessment rebate and taxpayers are entitled to it after paying the assessment attached to their property insurance bill. The easiest way to get the money back is by checking a box on your state tax return and attaching the proper paperwork.
Legislation that would prohibit employers or school administrators from demanding their employees or students give up their social media login information has been pre-filed for next month's session. The bill by Baton Rouge Representative Ted James would make it illegal to require students to share personal online information. James says he filed the same bill last year, but they weren't able to get to it in the Senate before the session was over. The biggest difference in this year's proposed "Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act" is that employers would now be allowed to request the information, and an employee could freely give up any information they wanted.
The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's office says both suspects in the fatal shooting and armed robbery at the LaPlace feed store Tuesday are now in custody. They say 22-year-old Dracier Dewey confessed to the crime Wednesday and the other man, 22-year-old Charles McQuarter III surrendered to US Marshall's Thursday afternoon.
LSU has named North Carolina educator Lawrence “Larry” Clark as chancellor of LSU-Shreveport, nearly two years after former Chancellor Vincent Marsala announced his retirement. Clark serves as dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. He previously worked as a dean at LSU-S.