KSYL Local News

News For Monday 06/03/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 060611
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

ONE OF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S KEY FINANCIAL INITIATIVES, THE PROPOSED SALE OF THREE LOUISIANA PRISONS, GETS ITS FIRST LEGISLATIVE HEARING. THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR THE BILL TODAY AFTER MONTHS OF PUBLIC DEBATE SINCE THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED THE IDEA AS A WAY TO DRUM UP CASH FOR NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET. JINDAL STAFF SPENT THE WEEKEND TRYING TO SWAY LAWMAKERS. HOUSE LEADERS HAVE PREDICTED THE PROPOSAL WILL HAVE A ROUGH TIME WINNING SUPPORT IN COMMITTEE AND AN EVEN HARDER TIME GETTING THE BACKING OF THE FULL HOUSE.
JINDAL PITCHES THE IDEA AS A WAY TO SAVE MONEY, ARGUING PRIVATE COMPANIES COULD RUN THE PRISONS MORE CHEAPLY. CRITICS QUESTION IF THE SALE WOULD DAMAGE PUBLIC SAFETY AND BOOST STATE COSTS IN A FEW YEARS WHEN THE CONTRACT COSTS RISE

THE FULL HOUSE IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR DEBATE TODAY ON A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE VENDORS TO APPLY STATE SALES TAX TO ONLINE PURCHASES. THE BILL IS BY MONROE REP. ROSALIND JONES WHO SAYS THE STATE REQUIRES SHOPPERS TO REPORT ONLINE SHOPPING PURCHASES ON INCOME TAX FORMS, BUT FEW PEOPLE DO IT. JONES SAYS THE LAW WOULD REQUIRE ONLINE DEALERS TO ASSESS THE SALES TAX AT THE POINT OF PURCHASE. SHE SAYS SOME COMPANIES WHO SELL ITEMS ONLINE ALREADY DO THIS. JONES SAYS THE STATE IS LOSING $300 MILLION IN SALES TAX EVERY YEAR WHICH SHE CALLS MONEY BEING LEFT ON THE TABLE. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION VIEWS THIS AS AN EXPANSION OF STATE TAX AND OPPOSES THE BILL.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL SAYS HE'S NOT CHANGING HIS MIND: HE INTENDS TO VETO A 4-CENT PER PACK CIGARETTE TAX RENEWAL PASSED BY LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS. JINDAL RECEIVED THE BILL LAST WEEK AND SAID HE WILL REJECT IT WITHIN THE 10 DAYS HE HAS BEFORE THE RENEWAL WOULD BECOME LAW WITHOUT HIS ACTION. THE CIGARETTE TAX GENERATES $12 MILLION ANNUALLY AND EXPIRES IN JUNE OF NEXT YEAR.

FORMER BALL MAYOR ROY HEBRON IS APPEALING THE FOUR-YEAR JAIL SENTENCE HE RECEIVED FROM A FEDERAL COURT IN ALEXANDRIA LAST MONTH. HEBRON WAS SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS IN A FEDERAL PENITENTIARY ON MAY 23 FOR DEFRAUDING THE F.E.M.A. AFTER HURRICANE GUSTAV IN 2008. HEBRON IS SCHEDULED TO REPORT TO JAIL LATER THIS MONTH. HEBRON'S ATTORNEY, HENRY LEMOINE, FILED THE NOTICE OF APPEAL ON FRIDAY.

ONE OF THE SUPERSTARS OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION HAS BEEN REP. JOHN LABRUZZO. TODAY, TWO OF HIS MORE CONTROVERSIAL BILLS ARE UP FOR CONSIDERATION ONE THE HOUSE FLOOR TODAY. ONE, A BILL THAT WOULD MAKE PERFORMING AN ABORTION ILLEGAL IN LOUISIANA. THE BILL WOULD MAKE ABORTION CLINICS PROSECUTABLE FOR FETICIDE. CRITICS SAY IT WILL UNJUSTLY PUNISH DOCTORS AT WOMEN'S CLINICS, AND WILL NEVER HOLD UP TO A SUPREME COURT CHALLENGE. LABRUZZO’S OTHER BILL UP FOR DEBATE WOULD SET UP A SPECIAL FUND TO HELP PAY FOR HIS PLAN TO DRUG TEST RANDOMLY CHOSEN APPLICANTS FOR STATE CASH BENEFITS. CRITICS OF THAT BILL SAY IT TARGETS MINORITIES. LABRUZZO SAYS HE'S AGAINST TAXPAYER DOLLARS BEING USED TO BUY DRUGS, REGARDLESS OF THE PERSON'S RACE.

THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE GIVES UNANIMOUS APPROVAL TO A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO MAINTAIN A "C" AVERAGE IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS. THE BILL IS BY LAFAYETTE REPRESENTATIVE RICKEY HARDY WHO SAYS IT'S ABOUT PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE FUTURE. THE BILL WOULD PUT THE RULING ADOPTED BY THE LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION INTO STATE LAW. HARDY SAYS CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL TO GET AN EDUCATION, NOT PLAY SPORTS. OPPONENTS HAVE SAID THEY DON'T BELIEVE STUDENTS WHO AREN'T ABLE TO MAINTAIN A "C" AVERAGE BECAUSE OF PROBLEMS AT HOME SHOULD BE LEFT OUT OF SPORTS. HARDY SAYS IF A STUDENT IS ABLE TO PLAY SPORTS, THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE THE GRADES. THE BILL NOW HEADS FOR FINAL DEBATE IN THE SENATE.

LOUISIANA HAS BEEN UNDER A HIGH HEAT ADVISORY FOR SEVERAL DAYS WITH LITTLE RELIEF IN SIGHT. COMBINED WITH LOW HUMIDITY THE HEAT CAN HAVE SERIOUS HEALTH CONSEQUENCES ESPECIALLY FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY OVER WEIGHT. BETH REAMES, A NUTRITION SPECIALIST WITH THE L-S-U AG CENTER RECOMMENDS AVOIDING SWEET, HIGH CALORIE DRINKS. FRUIT JUICE IS OK AND EVEN ICE TEA. THE KEY STAY HYDRATED.

ACCORDING TO A SEASONAL FORECAST BY COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY METEOROLOGISTS, THERE'S A 47 PERCENT CHANCE OF A HURRICANE AND A 20% CHANCE OF A MAJOR HURRICANE HITTING THE LOUISIANA COAST THIS YEAR. METEOROLOGIST PHIL KLOTZBACH SAYS THE FORECAST IS BASED ON HISTORICAL PROBABILITIES. THE FORECASTS TRACK NOAA'S FORECAST WHICH PREDICTED 12 TO 18 NAMED STORMS WITH 6 TO 10 BEING MAJOR HURRICANES. KLOTZBACH SAYS THERE IS A 72 PERCENT CHANCE OF AT LEAST ONE MAJOR HURRICANE HITTING SOMEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES. HE SAYS OVERALL CONDITIONS IN THE TROPICS ARE CONDUCIVE TO A MORE-THAN-ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON.

LONG WEEKS OF DROUGHT IN LOUISIANA COULD MEAN THE LOSS OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF RICE. LSU EXTENSION SERVICE RICE SPECIALIST DR. JOHNNY SAICHUK (SAY-CHUCK) SAYS UP TO 50-THOUSAND ACRES OF RICE ARE AT RISK IN THE HARSHLY DRY CONDITIONS. SAICHUK SAYS THE RICE PROBLEM IS ESPECIALLY BAD IN SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA, WHERE SALTWATER INTRUSION IS AGGRAVATING THE PROBLEM. SAICHUK SAYS THE STATE WOULD NEED TO GET ABOUT 10 INCHES OF RAIN OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, IN ORDER TO SAVE ALL RICE ACRES. HE SAYS THAT'S NOT IN THE FORECAST, SO RICE FARMERS FACE DECIDING WHICH ACRES TO SAVE, AND WHICH TO SACRIFICE. THE STATE'S DROUGHT IS NOW THE WORST ON RECORD SINCE 1895.

A TRIAL IS SCHEDULED TO OPEN TODAY FOR A FORMER LOUISIANA MAYOR CHARGED WITH TAKING BRIBES FROM UNDERCOVER FBI AGENTS AND A GOVERNMENT OPERATIVE WHO WERE POSING AS BUSINESSMEN HAWKING A FICTITIOUS TRASH CAN CLEANING PRODUCT. FORMER NEW ROADS MAYOR TOMMY NELSON JR., WHO LOST HIS RE-ELECTION

God Bless America!

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