News for Wednesday 052814
By Dave Graichen
Much needed rain is in the forecast this week across Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it's coming at a good time, especially in southwest Louisiana which is experiencing drought
conditions. Keim says as of memorial day Lake Charles had only seen a tenth of an inch of rain this month.
The House Appropriations Committee has endorsed a $3.6 billion spending plan for public schools. The Minimum Foundation Program provides most of the money that funds public schools. The measure was approved without objection and now heads to the House Education Committee.
The state Department of Education says 69-percent of public school students who took the standardized test known as LEAP, achieved the basic or above level, which is the same percentage as last year. Superintendent of Education John White says 27-percent of students performed at the mastery level in English language arts and 25-percent of students also achieved the mastery level for math which is a slight increase from last year.
For the second year in a row, the Louisiana Senate Finance Committee killed legislation that would require review and oversight of contracts that would privatize services provided by state government.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-3 Tuesday to reject House Bill 128 after deferring a similar bill last year on a vote of 8-2. HB128 focused on the large contracts of more than $5 million that would, for example, replace the state workers running a prison or hospital with managers from a private company. Bobby Jindal’s staff had lobbied against the legislation.
The Vermillion Parish Sheriff's office is working the site of a crop duster crash Tuesday morning south of Gueydan. Sheriff Mike Couvillon confirms that the pilot is deceased, however the identity has not been released. Deputies have secured the scene and have contacted the FAA and NTSB.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's office says a 7-year-old child drowned at the Cypress Black Bayou Reservoir east of Benton memorial day. They say Dawton Smith apparently wandered away from family and friends and was later found in the water.
The taxi cab driver who was convicted of first degree murder last month for the March 2010 death of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom of Stonewall will be formally sentenced today. A jury has already recommended that Brian Horn be sentenced to die.
Legislation is heading to Governor Jindal's desk that would prohibit groups associated with abortions from distributing health information at public schools. The Senate gave final legislative
approval. The legislation is aimed at Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights for women. A co-sponsor of the bill, Bogalusa Senator Ben Nevers, says the bill's purpose is to make sure children at public schools are not targeted by abortion organizations. Governor Jindal is expected to sign the measure into law.
A high-speed early-morning pursuit by police has resulted in the death of a young teen-aged driver trying to get away. Opelousas Police attempted to stop a stolen vehicle that was traveling the wrong way on Highway 190. The driver took off and eventually flipped the vehicle. Fifteen year-old Deontei Fuslier was pronounced dead at the scene. Three other teens in the vehicle we ejected and injured.
The "Deedy Slaughter Bill" has received final legislative approval in the Senate and now heads to Governor Jindal's desk. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward's legislation will prevent recalled elected
officials from running in the special election called to replace them during the same term. The measure is named for former Port Allen mayor Deedy Slaughter, who was recalled last November but also ran in the April special election that was aimed at replacing her.
A Senate resolution to develop an official brand, certification or label to mark products that come from Louisiana was approved by the House Tuesday. Legislators requested the state Department of Economic Development to report back to House and Senate agriculture and commerce committees by February 1.
Authorities in East Baton Rouge say they raided a very large cockfighting operation involving seventy-five roosters. EBR Animal Control and Rescue Center Executive Director Hilton Cole says they suspect it was someone at the fight who called in the complaint to the parish call center because they were upset about losing a bet in a fight.
It was all a mystery about the whereabouts of a woman from Loranger, who had been missing since 2009. Until this this past weekend. The remains of 45 year-old Dena Fout were found in a wooded area near Hammond by several boys who were hunting. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says they will conduct tests to attempt to establish an estimate of the time and cause of death.
It appears state lawmakers are getting out of a dispute between NFL players and Saints owner Tom Benson over workman's comp. Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater is pulling the bill from consideration for the legislative session. The bill, which was opposed by the NFL Players Association, would have calculated workers compensation for professional athletes based on recent, not future, earnings. Broadwater hopes the two sides can come to an agreement on their own.