KSYL Local News

News For Friday 06/10/11


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 061011
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A BID TO CUT LOUISIANA'S STATE GOVERNMENT PAYROLL BY AT LEAST 5,000 JOBS A YEAR FOR THE NEXT THREE BUDGET YEARS RECEIVED HOUSE BACKING WITH A 73-14 VOTE THURSDAY. THE MEASURE BY REP. JEROME RICHARD OF THIBODAUX, HAS BEEN PUSHED BY TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY AS A WAY TO SHRINK STATE GOVERNMENT SPENDING TO COPE WITH BUDGET SHORTFALLS. RICHARD SAID THE JOBS COULD BE CUT THROUGH ATTRITION BY NOT FILLING ONE-THIRD OF THE VACANT POSITIONS THAT COME UP EACH YEAR AND WOULDN'T REQUIRE LAYOFFS. THE STATE CURRENTLY HAS ABOUT 81,000 FULL-TIME WORKERS, ACCORDING TO A LEGISLATIVE FISCAL OFFICE REVIEW. THE PROPOSAL WOULD REQUIRE A $500 MILLION ANNUAL SAVINGS BY THE 2013-14 BUDGET YEAR. IT HEADS NEXT TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

EFFORTS TO BAN DRIVERS FROM TALKING ON A HAND-HELD CELL PHONE BEHIND THE WHEEL HAVE BEEN DASHED. NEW ORLEANS REP. CHARMAINE STIAES' BILL WOULD HAVE MADE IT A PRIMARY OFFENSE; MEANING POLICE COULD PULL YOU OVER IF THEY SAW YOU WITH YOUR PHONE TO YOUR EAR. STIAES INSISTED THAT THERE IS A CLEAR DANGER PRESENT IN THE USE OF HAND HELD CELL PHONES. BATON ROUGE REP. DALTON HONORE, OPPOSED THE BILL, ARGUED THAT THE LEGISLATURE WAS BECOMING TOO INTRUSIVE INTO THE DAILY LIVES OF ORDINARY CITIZENS. THAT LEGISLATION IS LIKELY DEAD FOR THE SESSION.

A SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES A HOUSE-PASSED BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW VEHICLES TO BE SOLD IN LOUISIANA WITH A TV IN THE FRONT SEAT. UNDER NEW ORLEANS REP. HELENA MORENO'S BILL, THE TV MUST BE POSITIONED WHERE ONLY THE FRONT PASSENGER CAN SEE IT, AND NOT THE DRIVER. SHE SAYS SAFETY STUDIES HAVE ASSURED THAT'S THE CASE. CARS ARE BEING BUILT WITH THIS OPTION, AND MORENO SAYS LOUISIANA CAR DEALERS ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE, BECAUSE THEY CANNOT SELL THEM. 38 OTHER STATES ALLOW FRONT SEAT TV SCREENS.

THE HOUSE BACKED A REQUIREMENT THAT EMPLOYERS IN LOUISIANA VERIFY THE CITIZENSHIP STATUS OF WORKERS BEFORE HIRING THEM. THE PROPOSAL (HOUSE BILL 646) BY REP. KIRK TALBOT, R-RIVER RIDGE, HEADS NEXT TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE. EMPLOYERS COULD USE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE, IMMIGRATION PAPERS OR THE FEDERAL E-VERIFY SYSTEM TO DETERMINE THAT EMPLOYEES ARE ELIGIBLE TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES.

BY THE WAY, LAWMAKERS HAVE CONCLUDED THEIR BUSINESS FOR THE WEEK. BOTH HOUSE & SENATE HAVE ADJOURNED UNTIL MONDAY MORNING.

THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS NOW CLOSED ALL BUT JUST ONE OF THE GATES OF THE MORGANZA SPILLWAY, THAT WERE OPENED LAST MONTH TO RELIEVE FLOOD STRESS ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEES. THAT LAST GATE SHOULD BE CLOSED BY SUNDAY.

SENATOR DAVID VITTER AND OTHER STATE LEADERS ARE PROPOSING AN ALTERNATE PLAN FOR A NEW TEACHING AND RESEARCH HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS. VITTER'S PLAN WOULD COST AN ESTIMATED 800-MILLION DOLLARS. VITTER WAS JOINED BY HOUSE SPEAKER JIM TUCKER AND STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY IN SENDING A LETTER TO GOVERNOR JINDAL WITH THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS. JINDAL SUPPORTS A LARGER 1.2-BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT FOR THE CRESCENT CITY. THE NEW FACILITY WOULD REPLACE LSU'S CHARITY HOSPITAL WHICH HAS BEEN CLOSED SINCE HURRICANE KATRINA.

THE STATE SENATE PASSES A BILL TO TRANSFER THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS FROM THE LSU SYSTEM INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM. BILL SPONSOR, SENATOR CONRAD APPEL, OF METAIRIE, ASKS COLLEAGUES TO ACT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE STAFF, FACULTY AND STUDENTS AT UNO. THE MEASURE PASSED BY UNANIMOUS VOTE. THE HOUSE HAS ALL READY PASSED A COMPANION BILL. THAT MAKES IT PRETTY LIKELY THAT ONE OF THE TWO MEASURES WILL SEE FINAL PASSAGE AND GO TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK.

THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES HAS PROCLAIMED THIS WEEKEND A "FREE FISHING WEEKEND" ALL DAY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. SPOKESPERSON BO BOEHRINGER SAYS ANYONE WILL BE ABLE TO FISH THIS WEEKEND WITHOUT THE STATE LICENSE REQUIREMENT. BOEHRINGER SAYS THIS WEEKEND STATE PARKS IN FRANKLINTON, VILLE PLATTE, FARMERVILLE AND NEW ORLEANS WILL PROVIDE BASIC FISHING EQUIPMENT FOR ANYONE NEEDING GEAR FOR THE DAY.

GOVERNOR JINDAL HAS ORDERED ALL STATE AND U.S. FLAGS AT STATE BUILDINGS TO FLY AT HALF-MAST, TO SHOW RESPECT FOR INSURANCE DEPARTMENT FRAUD INVESTIGATORS RHETT JEANSONNE AND KIM SLEDGE. THE PAIR WERE SHOT TO DEATH TUESDAY IN VILLE PLATTE WHILE CALLING ON AN INSURANCE AGENCY THERE. THE BUSINESS PROPRIETOR, WHO SHOT THE PAIR, THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL TURNS 40 YEARS OLD TODAY--HE'S ALREADY SPENT A GOOD PORTION OF HIS LIFE IN POLITICS--BUT WHAT'S NEXT FOR LOUISIANA'S YOUNGEST ELECTED GOVERNOR? WE KNOW JINDAL IS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION THIS FALL, AND LSU POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR ROBERT HOGAN SAYS JINDAL'S LEGACY AS GOVERNOR WILL BE ON HIS MIND. HE BELIEVES THE GOVERNOR WILL LIKELY BE MORE BOLD DURING HIS SECOND TERM, IF ELECTED, SO THAT HE CAN LEAVE A BIGGER MARK BEHIND. HOGAN SAYS JINDAL WILL BE LOOKING TO KEEP HIS NAME IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT, BUT IDEAS OF PRESIDENCY ARE LIKELY FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD. HE SAYS JINDAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN A YOUNG AMBITIOUS POLITICIAN, AND THERE WILL BE LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR HIM IN THE COMING YEARS.

A BILL THAT WOULD ASK DAY CARE CENTERS TO INSTALL A DEVICE TO ENSURE CHILDREN ARE NOT ACCIDENTALLY LEFT IN VEHICLES PASSES THE LOUISIANA HOUSE. THE DEVICE WOULD SOUND AN ALARM THAT REQUIRES THE DRIVER TO GO TO THE BACK OF THE VAN ONCE THE ENGINE IS TURNED OFF. BATON ROUGE REPRESENTATIVE REGINA BARROW, WHO BROUGHT THE BILL, SAYS THE ALARMS WOULD COST APPROXIMATELY $300 AND AN ADDITIONAL $75 TO INSTALL. THAT BILL NOW MOVES OVER TO THE SENATE.

THE FAMILY OF A 21-YEAR-OLD MARINE FROM IOTA, LOUISIANA HAS CONFIRMED HIS DEATH IN AFGHANISTAN. MATTHEW RICHARD WAS SERVING HIS SECOND TOUR OF DUTY. RICHARD DIED IN THE EXPLOSION OF AN IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE. SO FAR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS NOT CONFIRMED HIS DEATH. RICHARD JOINED THE MARINES OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL AT THE AGE OF 17. HIS MOTHER SAYS, HE WAS A HERO. AND THAT VERY FEW YOUNG MEN KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER A RAFFLE FOR A CHANCE TO WORKOUT WITH THE SAINTS AS THEY HOLD PLAYER-ONLY WORKOUTS AT TULANE. FOUR LUCKY FANS WILL PRACTICE WITH THE PLAYERS ON JUNE 15TH. THE FIRST SUCH RAFFLE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO RAISED 40-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR LOUISIANA CHARITIES. QUARTERBACK DREW BREES SAYS ITS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY. THE DEADLINE TO PURCHASE THE TWO-DOLLAR RAFFLE TICKETS IS AT 1:00. YOU CAN ENTER BY GOING TO NET-RAFFLE-DOT-ORG.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA, BARRY ERWIN ,URGED LAWMAKERS THURSDAY TO SCRAP ATTEMPTS TO REPEAL LOUISIANA'S INCOME TAX, SAYING IT WOULD DAMAGE COLLEGES, HEALTH CARE AND PUBLIC SAFETY. "IT'S TIME TO PUT THE BRAKES ON THIS DISCUSSION AND TAKE A REALITY CHECK FOR A MOMENT,"

God Bless America!

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