News for Thursday 033116
By Dave Graichen
The town talk reports an audit of the Pineville City Court released on Monday has found multiple issues, including salary irregularities for former Judge Phillip Terrell, noncompliance with state unclaimed property laws and other questions. Terrell is currently the parish DA. The auditing firm recommended that the Pineville City Court forward the report to the Louisiana Supreme Court for investigation, which is something the court has agreed to do. Find the full story in today’s Town Talk.
The Senate Labor Committee is expected to hear a proposal today to raise the minimum wage in Louisiana from $7.25 to $8.00 an hour, beginning next year, and then to $8.50 in 2018. State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business Dawn Starns says once entry-level employees get this pay raise, upper-level employees will expect one as well. She says this will hit smaller businesses’ bottom line, and they just can’t afford that right now.
Governor John Bel Edwards is in support of a higher minimum wage and so is Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller. Moller says $7.25 an hour is not a living wage…
Tomorrow the state sales tax will increase from four cents to five cents until June 30, 2018. LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice expects some people looking to make a major purchase will try to get that out of the way before the increase goes into effect. But he says this likely won’t change consumer’s purchasing habits. State taxes on cigarettes and alcohol will increase on Friday.
The House health committee approves a bill that calls for legislative approval to waive work requirements for food stamp recipients. Under federal law, people are required to either work or perform 20 hours a week of community service in order to qualify for food stamps, but that isn’t the case in Louisiana, because it receives a waiver. Monroe Representative Jay Morris says this legislation would require people to work to receive SNAP benefits. The state Department of Children and Family Services recently estimated there are 31-thousand able bodied adults who would lose their benefits, if they were required to find work.
It’s the final day at LSU for the legendary voice of the Fighting Tigers, Jim Hawthorne, as he is retiring effective today. Hawthorne has been on the radio call for thousands of LSU events over the past 35 years. He says he has enjoyed his time announcing for the Tigers.
Hawthorne is looking forward to retirement and spending more time visiting his family and traveling with his wife. He says he is just about done cleaning out his office.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man accused of murdering his wife and dumping her body in the spillway canal near Palmetto. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says 52-year-old Sam Clark, Jr. admitted to police he shot 28-year-old Kimberly Perkins Clark twice in the head on the spillway levee bridge. Guidroz says they believe Kimberly Clark was dead for about 12 to 15 hours before her body was found. Clark is charged with second degree murder.
A measure to create protection for public school students who are parents or expectant mothers has been passed out of the Senate Education Committee. Metairie Rep. Stephanie Hilferty says statistically only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school and 30 percent of female students that drop out say the reason was due to pregnancy. The bill now heads to the full Senate for more debate.
A bill to prevent peeping Toms from using drones to spy on people received unanimous support from the House Criminal Justice Committee. Monroe Representative Marcus Hunter says his bill will somewhat duplicate existing laws by adding the use of an unmanned aircraft to video surveillance crimes. The bill now heads to the House floor for debate.
A bill has passed out of the House Health and Welfare Committee that would extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. Five other states have similar waiting periods. The only exception is if the women has to travel more than 150 miles to the nearest abortion clinic. No one spoke out in opposition, but pro-choice groups are concerned about hurdles facing women seeking abortions. The bill now heads to the House floor for further consideration.
The Senate advances legislation that would make Louisiana in federal compliance with the Real ID Act. A similar bill received legislative approval last year, but it was vetoed by former Governor Bobby Jindal This year includes language that would give citizens the option. The proposal passed 31-7 and heads to the House
Three people from Louisiana serving time for drug-related offenses have had their prison sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. The trio is part of a group of 61 throughout the nation who will all mostly be released July 28th. The inmates from Louisiana are Kevin County of New Orleans, Roy Lee Debose of Shreveport and John E Milton III of Baton Rouge.
The Department of Corrections is investigating whether incarcerated rapper C-Murder recorded a new single while in Angola. Corey Miller is serving life at Angola for killing a 16-year-old and the video for a new single, “Dear Supreme Court” appears to have been put together following Miller’s conviction. The investigation remains open because his daughter posted online Miller made it in jail.
A Zachary man is dead following a fire in a storage shed where he was living behind a family member’s home, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. They say the body of 64-year-old George Matthews Jr was pulled from the structure, which had no working utilities, and initial indications are that the victim died of smoke inhalation.