KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday Update


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 052511
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A NEW WRINKLE CAN COMPLICATE THE HAGGLING OVER NEXT YEAR'S $25 BILLION BUDGET, AS THE LOUISIANA HOUSE STARTS ITS DEBATE TODAY. THE HOUSE THIS WEEK ENACTED A REQUIREMENT THAT ADDS INCREASED HURDLES TO SPENDING ONE-TIME MONEY FOR ONGOING SERVICES. SUCH SPENDING WILL NEED A SEPARATE VOTE, AND TWO-THIRDS BACKING. THE 2011-12 BUDGET CONTAINS $449 MILLION IN ONE-TIME DOLLARS, ACCORDING TO A LEGISLATIVE FISCAL OFFICE REVIEW. THE HOUSE BUDGET DEBATE ALSO COMES AS HOUSE LEADERS AND GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION ARE AT ODDS OVER THE LEVEL OF CUTS NEEDED TO BALANCE THE SPENDING PLAN FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PROPOSED CUTTING $139 MILLION MORE THAN JINDAL WANTED. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THOSE CUTS WILL DEVASTATE PUBLIC SAFETY, HEALTH CARE SERVICES AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

AT THE CAPITOL, HOUSE MEMBERS DISCUSSED TWO CONTROVERSIAL TAX PROPOSALS, PASSING ONE AND PUTTING THE OTHER ON HOLD. FIRST, BOGALUSA REP. HAROLD RITCHIE'S BILL TO RENEW A 4-CENT CIGARETTE TAX THAT'S SCHEDULED TO EXPIRE THIS YEAR. THE HOUSE PASSED THE BILL BY A 70-30 VOTE. GOVERNOR JINDAL SAYS HE CONSIDERS THE BILL A NEW TAX AND VOWS TO VETO IT. THE HOUSE ALSO DISCUSSED A PROPOSAL TO REPEAL LOUISIANA'S PERSONAL STATE INCOME TAXES. BATON ROUGE REP. HUNTER GREENE SAYS ENDING THE TAX WILL HELP ATTRACT MORE BUSINESS AND INDIVIDUALS TO THE STATE. OTHERS WONDER WHERE THE STATE WOULD MAKE UP THOSE LOST REVENUES. AFTER DEBATE, GREENE ASKS FOR MORE TIME TO RALLY SUPPORT FOR THE BILL.

LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS PERFORMED SLIGHTLY BETTER ON STANDARDIZED TESTS THIS YEAR. LEAP TEST RESULTS SHOW THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS READY TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT GRADE WENT FROM 65% LAST YEAR TO 66% THIS YEAR. BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION PRESIDENT PENNY DASTUGUE SAYS THE NEWS IS ENCOURAGING. EDUCATION OFFICIALS SAY BREAKDOWNS OF THE TEST RESULTS SHOW IMPROVEMENTS IN MOST SUBJECTS AND GRADE LEVELS. ACTING EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT OLLIE TYLER SAYS IMPROVEMENTS IN TEST SCORES WERE EVIDENT IN 42 OF 70 SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

A BIT OF UNFINISHED REDISTRICTING BUSINESS WAS WRAPPED UP YESTERDAY, AS THE SENATE GAVE FINAL APPROVAL TO NEW MAPS FOR THE EIGHT BOARD OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION DISTRICTS. THAT MEASURE NOW GOES TO GOVERNOR JINDAL FOR HIS SIGNATURE. FEDERAL AUTHORITIES WILL HAVE TO APPROVE THE DISTRICTS AS WELL.

A HOUSE COMMITTEE AGREES THAT THE 10 COMMANDMENTS SHOULD BE POSTED ON THE GROUNDS OF THE STATE CAPITOL. THE BILL IS BY SHREVEPORT REP PATRICK WILLIAMS WHO SAYS THE GOAL IS TO POINT OUT THE ROLE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN OUR NATION'S HERITAGE. WILLIAMS IS PROPOSING A MONUMENT THAT COULD BE UP TO SIX FEET TALL AND FOUR FEET WIDE. WILLIAMS SAYS IT MAKES SENSE TO HAVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS POSTED NEAR THE BUILDING WHERE LAWS ARE MADE. THE MEASURE NOW HEADS TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR FURTHER DEBATE.

AN 11-YEAR-OLD BOY FOUND THE BODIES OF HIS MOTHER AND HER LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND INSIDE THEIR LAKE CHARLES HOME. SHERIFF TONY MANCUSO SAYS THE BODIES OF 38-YEAR-OLD SHEREE LYNN CRUZ AND 39-YEAR-OLD ADAM KEITH BROWN WERE FOUND MONDAY MORNING BY CRUZ'S SON WHO HAD RETURNED HOME AFTER A WEEKEND VISIT WITH HIS FATHER. MANCUSO SAYS INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE THE DEATHS WERE THE RESULT OF A MURDER-SUICIDE. BOTH HAD BEEN SHOT TO DEATH.

A HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES A BILL THAT WOULD MAKE ABORTIONS ILLEGAL IN LOUISIANA. BILL SPONSOR REP. JOHN LABRUZZO OF METAIRIE SAYS THE BILL CHALLENGES THE SUPREME COURT'S ROE V. WADE DECISION. OPPONENTS SAY THE BILL WOULD PROMPT COSTLY AND UNSUCCESSFUL LITIGATION. MELISSA FLOURNOY IS THE DIRECTOR OF LOUISIANA PROGRESS ACTION. SHE BELIEVES THE STATE SHOULD SPEND MORE MONEY ON HEALTHCARE, SEX EDUCATION AND FAMILY PLANNING. THE BILL PASSED BY A 10-2 VOTE AND GOES NOW TO THE HOUSE FLOOR.

A WEST MONROE MOTHER HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED SECOND-DEGREE MURDER AFTER SHE ALLEGEDLY USED A BASEBALL BAT TO BEAT UP HER 13-YEAR-OLD SON. WEST MONROE POLICE SAY THE 31 YEAR OLD WOMAN IS ALSO FACING ONE COUNT OF AGGRAVATED SECOND-DEGREE BATTERY. POLICE SAY THE WOMAN BROKE THE BOYS ARM WHEN SHE USED THE BAT TO DISCIPLINE HER SON.

A HOUSE COMMITTEE HAS PASSED A BILL TO CONSOLIDATE THE STATE'S CURRENT FIVE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT BOARDS IN TO JUST ONE. THE BILL BY HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER WOULD ABOLISH THE LSU, SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY, UL AND TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEMS, PLUS THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS. THE BILL WOULD TRANSFER THEIR POWERS TO A NEW SINGLE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. KRISTY NICHOLS WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYS THIS IS A COST SAVING BILL. LSU SYSTEM PRESIDENT JOHN LOMBARDI, WHO OPPOSED THE BILL, SAYS THE FOUR UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS ARE DIVERSE AND COMBINING THEM UNDER ONE MANAGEMENT BOARD IS UNWISE. BECAUSE OF THE TRANSITIONAL COST THE MEASURE NOW HEADS TO THE HOUSE
APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE.

REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE HOUSE BEGAN ADVANCING A $1 BILLION AID PACKAGE ON TUESDAY TO MAKE SURE THAT DISASTER RELIEF ACCOUNTS DON'T RUN DRY AFTER MASSIVE FLOODING ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND DEVASTATING TORNADOES IN MISSOURI AND ALABAMA. THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVED THE DISASTER AID CASH ALONG WITH TWO SPENDING BILLS, ONE FUNDING THE HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT AND THE OTHER VETERANS PROGRAMS.

THE COAST GUARD HAS REOPENED A STRETCH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO SOUTHBOUND VESSELS SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THREE BARGES SANK AMID HIGH WATER AND FAST CURRENTS. PETTY OFFICER STEPHEN LEHMANN SAID SOUTHBOUND TRAFFIC RESUMED TUESDAY AFTERNOON, A DAY AFTER NORTHBOUND VESSELS WERE ALLOWED TO TRAVEL UPRIVER.

THE NCAA IS BANNING LOUISIANA-MONROE'S MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM FROM POSTSEASON PLAY FOR ONE SEASON AND REDUCING SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE FOOTBALL AND TRACK AND FIELD TEAMS BECAUSE OF THEIR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE RATES. THE MEN'S BASKETBALL SQUAD, WHICH HAD ALREADY LOST TWO SCHOLARSHIPS BECAUSE OF HISTORICALLY LOW APR SCORES, WILL LOSE A THIRD AND ALSO HAVE TO REDUCE PRACTICE TIME.

THE LOUISIANA STATE SENATE ON TUESDAY MEMORIALIZED 19 SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, PART OF THE CHAMBER'S ANNUAL "MILITARY FAMILY DAY."
SEN. ROB MARIONNEAUX, D-GROSSE TETE, WHO STARTED THE YEARLY EVENT IN 2005, SAID MORE LOUISIANA SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN KILLED THIS YEAR THAN IN ANY OTHER YEAR SINCE THEY'VE HELD THE EVENT. FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE SOLDIERS FILLED THE SENATE CHAMBER AS INDIVIDUAL CONDOLENCE RESOLUTIONS WERE READ FOR EACH SOLDIER, AND EACH FAMILY WAS GIVEN A STATE FLAG.

HOME BANCORP INC. SAYS IT WILL REPURCHASE UP TO 5 PERCENT OF ITS OUTSTANDING COMMON STOCK. LAFAYETTE-BASED HOME BANCORP IS THE PARENT COMPANY OF HOME BANK. THE REPURCHASES COULD INVOLVE JUST OVER 402,000 SHARES. HOME BANK RECENTLY COMPLETED ANOTHER BUYBACK IN WHICH IT PURCHASED ABOUT 427,000 SHARES OF ITS COMMON STOCK AT AN AVERAGE PRICE OF $13.56 PER SHARE.

LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ARE ASKING KEN FEINBERG, WHO IS OVERSEEING THE PAYMENTS FROM A $20 BILLION COMPENSATION FUND FOR VICTIMS OF THE OIL SPILL, TO KEEP OPEN THREE CLAIMS OFFICES HE PLANS TO CLOSE NEXT WEEK. SENATE PRESIDENT JOEL CHAISSON AND HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER SENT LETTERS TO FEINBERG ON TUESDAY PUSHING FOR THE CLAIMS OFFICES TO REMAIN OPEN IN LAFITTE, GRAND ISLE AND MORGAN CITY. THE OFFICES ARE SLATED TO CLOSE JUNE 1.

SPORTS..

ON THE ANNUAL SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE POSTSEASON TEAMS SELECTED BY LEAGUE COACHES, FOUR LSU PLAYERS RECEIVED RECOGNITION. JUNIOR CENTERFIELDER MIKIE MAHTOOK WAS VOTED FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC, AND HE WAS NAMED TO THE SEC ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM. SOPHOMORE OUTFIELDER/FIRST BASEMAN MASON KATZ WAS VOTED SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC, AND SECOND BASEMAN JACOBY JONES AND CATCHER TY ROSS WERE NAMED TO THE SEC ALL-FRESHMAN SQUAD.
COACHES ARE NOT PERMITTED TO VOTE FOR THEIR OWN PLAYERS.

ULM FIRST BASEMAN JOEY RAPP WAS NAMED TO THE SUN BELT ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM DURING THE OPENING CEREMONIES FOR THE 2011 SUN BELT CONFERENCE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS. RAPP IS THE FIRST ULM PLAYER TO EARN FIRST TEAM HONORS IN THE SUN BELT SINCE 2009.

LOUISIANA TECH BEGINS PLAY IN THE WAC TOURNAMENT TONIGHT. THE BULLDOGS ARE THE THIRD SEED AND WILL FACE SIXTH SEEDED NEW MEXICO STATE IN MESA, ARIZONA. TECH COACH WADE SIMONEAUX SAYS THE AGGIES ARE AN EXPLOSIVE TEAM ON OFFENSE.
THE BULLDOGS HEAD INTO THE TOURNAMENT, WINNERS IN SIX OF THEIR LAST SEVEN.

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AND NICHOLLS STATE ARE IN THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT, WHICH BEGINS TODAY IN SAN MARCOS, TEXAS. THE LIONS ARE THE FOURTH SEED AND WILL FACE 5TH SEEDED SAM HOUSTON STATE THIS AFTERNOON AT FOUR O' CLOCK. S-L-U COACH JAY ARTIGUES SAYS THE BEARKATS ARE A SOLID TEAM
THE COLONELS FACE TOP-SEEDED TEXAS STATE TONIGHT AT 7:00.

FORMER LSU PITCHER LEFT-HANDER CHARLIE FURBUSH POSTED A RELIEF WIN MONDAY IN HIS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DEBUT WITH THE DETROIT TIGERS. FURBUSH PITCHED FOR PAUL MAINIER'S FIRST LSU SQUAD IN 2007 AND FIRED 3.2 SCORELESS INNINGS IN THE TIGERS' 6-3 VICTORY OVER THE TAMPA BAY RAYS IN DETROIT.

THE NCAA IS BANNING LOUISIANA-MONROE'S MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM FROM POSTSEASON PLAY FOR ONE SEASON AND REDUCING SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE FOOTBALL AND TRACK AND FIELD TEAMS BECAUSE OF THEIR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE RATES. THE MEN'S BASKETBALL SQUAD, WHICH HAD ALREADY LOST TWO SCHOLARSHIPS BECAUSE OF HISTORICALLY LOW APR SCORES, WILL LOSE A THIRD AND ALSO HAVE TO REDUCE PRACTICE TIME.


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