News for Wednesday 060414
By Dave Graichen
Funeral arrangements have been set for Friday in Ruston for the little girls from West Monroe who were killed apparently by their mother over the weekend. Ari Forbis is the father of the 3 and 4 year olds who were found dead along with their mom on Saturday. Forbis's friend Ryan Dieck (Dyke) has set up a donation fund for the family. The GoFundMe.com account, which is in Forbis's name, had grew to almost $30,000 just 35 hours after it was started.
After less than a year, Rodney Alexander has stepped down as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Alexander accepted Governor Jindal's appointment to the position last September after resigning from Congress. A spokesperson for the LDVA says Alexander is not planning to run for congress and will pursue something in the private sector. Governor Jindal has appointed former Deputy Secretary David LaCerte as Alexander's successor.
A court petition filed Tuesday in Baton Rouge is seeking to block the state’s plan to close Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. The petition claims the process for an April 2 Senate committee hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 violated the state Open Meetings Law and thus should be declared Null and Void. The Resolution, which was approved by the House and the Senate during the recently concluded legislative session, endorses the state’s plan to close Huey P. Long and supports the already-in-effect privatization of many health-care services that previously had been offered at HPL.
Governor Jindal is looking at his options when it comes to ending Louisiana's involvement with Common Core. Attempts to end the state's participation with the new math and English standards were unsuccessful in the legislative session. Jindal says he may be able to remove Louisiana from Common Core with executive action. State Superintendent of Education John White says Jindal doesn't have legal authority to end the state's participation with Common Core. Jindal used to be a supporter of Common Core, but he's not anymore.
The 2014 legislative session ended Monday evening at 6. Governor Bobby Jindal says he's happy with the way things went this year. He likes the passage of bills aimed at cracking down on human trafficking and domestic violence. He also says he's glad nothing passed that would have expanded government funded health care for lower income residents. Many say the 2014 legislative session will be remembered as one where mostly nothing happened.
The State Democratic Party of Louisiana released a statement calling this year's legislative session a disaster for Louisiana's working families accusing Republican leadership of not listening to the
people of the state who they say want the Medicaid expansion and the minimum wage raised.
The state legislature passed a bill that would move up the date of the state's presidential primary by two weeks. If signed by Governor Jindal, the primary election would be held on March 5, 2016, which would be during "Super Tuesday" week. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the move will add importance to the Louisiana primary. Currently the Louisiana primary is scheduled for March 19 making the Bayou State the 25th state to hold a primary.
A bill that would require doctors to keep a brain dead pregnant woman on life support got final legislative passage on Monday. The measure would mandate that woman must be kept alive until her child is born. The provision only applies though if the woman doesn't have a living will and it also includes compromise language that allows family members to have final say in end of life decisions.
The state Department of Environmental Quality has concerns about President Obama's plan to reduce carbon emissions coming from existing power plants. The US EPA wants Louisiana to cut carbon dioxide by 40-percent. That could mean tighter controls on power plants. DEQ Press Secretary Greg Landry says they are still looking over the proposed regulations, but there is some level of skepticism over whether the new rules will achieve the desired results.
A legislative auditor’s report finds problems with how LSU's Board of Supervisors awards scholarships. LSU's board is required to file an annual report of who receives scholarships. But Auditor Ernie Summerville says the report does not show what specific criteria was reached to receive the scholarship. The audit found no specific criteria being used to award scholarships.
For the 2012-2013 school year, the reported value of scholarships handed out was $1.35 million.
Before the session ended Monday the Louisiana Legislature approved a bill that would put harsher penalties on repeat Peeping Toms. The bill would increase the punishment from $500 and up to six months in prison for any violation of the state's Peeping Tom law up to $750 and six years in prison on second violations.
Starting in August, a public school teacher may legally receive a gift valued up to $25 from a student. Act 172 was signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal last week. Gonzales Rep. John Berthelot says currently public servants are prohibited from getting gifts from those they serve but he thought this would be a fair exception. He says a student could give a $25 gift to their teacher up to three times a year.
As the weather heats up, so does the battle to cool death-row at Angola. Three death-row inmates sued the state citing the heat conditions on death row as cruel and unusual punishment. A federal judge has ordered Angola to implement a cooling plan.