KSYL Local News

News For Monday 06/13/11


NEWS FOR MONDAY 061311
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

HE WAS ON THE JOB LESS THAN A YEAR AND THERE’S NO WORD WHY HE IS LEAVING. ALEXANDRIA'S POLICE CHIEF HAS RESIGNED. MAYOR JACQUES ROY WOULD NOT SAY WHY ROGER TULLY WAS RESIGNING. WHAT HE DID SAY WAS THAT "ROGER TULLY EXEMPLIFIED EXCELLENCE DURING THE SELECTION PROCESS AND HE IS CLEARLY A MAN WITH GREAT CREDENTIALS AND EXPERIENCE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT," TULLY, A 29-YEAR VETERAN WITH THE BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT, BECAME ALEXANDRIA'S CHIEF LAST AUGUST.

THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR A BILL TODAY THAT WOULD STUDY WHETHER OR NOT TO REPEAL STATE INCOME TAXES. THE BILL IS BY LIVONIA SENATOR ROB MARIONNEAUX WHO BELIEVES WE SHOULD PHASE OUT STATE PERSONAL AND CORPORATE INCOME TAXES OVER A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS. HE SAYS WE NEED TO KEEP UP WITH OTHER STATES WHO HAVE DONE THIS. MARIONNEAUX SAYS BUSINESSES WHO HAD COME TO LOUISIANA FOR TAX BREAKS, HAVE BEEN LEAVING AND GOING TO OTHER STATES. THE BILL WAS AMENDED TO ONLY HAVE THE STATE INCOME TAX REPEAL IDEA STUDIED, BUT MARIONNEAUX WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT AMENDED BACK BECAUSE HE SAYS THAT'S JUST ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO KILL THE BILL.

THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR A BILL TODAY THAT PROVIDES INCENTIVES TO LOUISIANA RESTAURANTS WHO USE LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCTS. AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN IS A BACKER OF THE LEGISLATION. HE SAYS THE GOAL IS TO GET MORE RESTAURANTS TO PURCHASE LOUISIANA PRODUCTS. STRAIN SAYS PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS WILL RECEIVE A FOUR-PERCENT REBATE ON THEIR TOTAL PURCHASES OF LOUISIANA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS. HE SAYS THE BILL CREATES A SPECIAL FUND THAT WILL BE USED TO GIVE OUT THE REBATES. STRAIN SAYS THE PROGRAM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GIVE LOCAL FARMERS A MUCH NEEDED ECONOMIC BOOST.

THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR A BILL BACKED BY GOVERNOR JINDAL THAT REDIRECTS TOBACCO SETTLEMENT MONEY INTO THE TOPS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. THE BILL SEEKS TO PROTECT TOPS FUNDING FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. TO DO SO, THE BILL SEEKS TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO SEND TOBACCO SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS FROM THE MILLENNIUM TRUST FUND INTO TOPS, FREEING UP ABOUT $70 MILLION OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR OTHER USES. THE BILL REQUIRES A TWO THIRDS MAJORITY VOTE IN EACH CHAMBER TO PASS.

THE RENEWAL OF 4 CENTS OF THE STATE’S CIGARETTE TAX IS PUTTING REPUBLICANS AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN THE UNCOMFORTABLE POSITION OF DECIDING WHETHER TO EBARRASS THE GOVERNOR ON AN ISSUE WITH NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL CHARACTERIZED THE RENEWAL AS A TAX INCREASE AT THE START OF THE SESSION AND THREATENED TO VETO THE MEASURE IF THE LEGISLATURE PASSED IT. THE LEGISLATURE DID. NOW, JINDAL IS DETERMINED NOT TO ADD HIS NAME TO THE SHORT LIST OF MODERN LOUISIANA GOVERNORS WHOSE VETOES HAVE BEEN OVERTURNED BY THE LEGISLATURE.
HB591, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE RENEWAL, IS BEFORE THE GOVERNOR, AWAITING HIS VETO STAMP.

AS LOUISIANA IS FACING DROUGHT CONDITIONS AND A STATE WIDE BURN BAN IS STILL IN AFFECT--HOW MIGHT THIS AFFECT SUMMER ACTIVITIES? STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING SAYS FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS RESTRICTIONS WILL BE REGULATED AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. SOME COUNTIES IN TEXAS HAVE BANNED OUTDOOR GRILLING, BUT BROWNING DOESN'T FORESEE LOUISIANA GETTING TO THAT POINT. BROWNING SAYS PEOPLE HAVE HEEDED THE WARNINGS AND THERE HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPORTED FIRES.

THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS STARTED CLOSING BAYS ON THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY IN ST. CHARLES PARISH. CORPS SPOKESPERSON MIKE STACK SAYS 30 OF THE 330 BAYS WERE CLOSED OVER THE WEEKEND. HE SAYS THEY'LL CONTINUE TO MONITOR CONDITIONS ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BEFORE DECIDING WHETHER TO CLOSE MORE BAYS. STACK PREDICTS IT WILL TAKE ABOUT TWO MORE WEEKS BEFORE THEY'RE ABLE TO CLOSE ALL OF THE BAYS ON THE SPILLWAY. HE SAYS RIVER LEVELS ARE STILL HIGH, BUT THE WATER IS RECEDING.

AN INTERESTING SIDE STORY TO THE OPENING THE BONNET CARRE SPILLWAY, WILDLIFE OFFICIALS ARE SAYING THE OPENING MAY HAVE UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCES SHOULD THE ASIAN OR SILVER CARP ENTER THE LAKE AND BECOME ESTABLISHED. ALLEN RUTHERFORD WITH THE LSU AGCENTER SAYS THE ASIAN CARP IS A HARDY, FAST BREEDING FISH THAT WAS INTRODUCED INTO PRIVATE PONDS AND LAKES IN THE 1970'S. PERIODIC FLOODING HELPED THEM ESCAPE INTO RIVERS AND STREAMS AND FROM THERE SPREAD RAPIDLY THROUGH THE MISSOURI AND MISSISSIPPI RIVER SYSTEMS. RUTHERFORD SAYS THE REAL DANGER IS TO NATIVE FISH SPECIES. RUTHERFORD SAYS THE ASIAN CARP IS ALREADY WELL ESTABLISHED IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND THE ATCHAFALAYA. HE SAYS THE BEST WAY TO CONTROL THE EXOTIC SPECIES IS TO FIND MARKETS FOR THEM. WORD IS THEY ARE TASTY.

US SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU IS URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY TO ACT ON A LOAN APPLICATION FROM START-UP CAR MANUFACTURER NEXT AUTOWORKS. NEXT AUTOWORK NEEDS 321-MILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD A PROPOSED AUTO ASSEMBLY PLANT IN MONROE. DURING A SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCE COMMITTEE, LANDRIEU SAID THE COMPANY NEEDS AN ANSWER SOON. THE NEXT AUTOWORKS PLANT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CREATE 14-HUNRED JOBS. LANDRIEU TOLD JONATHAN SILVER, WHO HEADS THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S LOAN PROGRAM, THAT FUNDING FROM LOUISIANA IS IN JEOPARDY, BECAUSE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S SLOW RESPONSE TO NEXT AUTOWORKS APPLICATION. SILVER SAYS THERE ARE REGULAR MEETINGS WITH NEXT AUTOWORKS AND OTHER APPLICANTS AND A DECISION TO FINALIZE THE LOAN IS FORTHCOMING.

A MEASURE THAT WOULD CALL FOR A TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT TO BE POSTED ON THE STATE CAPITOL GROUNDS HAS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED IN THE HOUSE. SHREVEPORT REP. PATRICK WILLIAMS IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BILL AND HE SAYS IT WOULD NOT MANDATE THIS INTO LAW, IT WOULD JUST ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN. HE SAYS THE STATE WOULD NOT HAVE TO PUT UP ANY FUNDS FOR IT. WILLIAMS SAYS BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE BILL IS DRAFTED, IT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL MUSTER AND DOESN'T CLOUD THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE ISSUE. WILLIAMS SAYS HE BELIEVES THIS BILL HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF PASSING IN THE SENATE AND EVENTUALLY BECOMING LAW. THE MEASURE NOW HEADS TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

IN LAFAYETTE, AUTHORITIES ARRESTED A 31-YEAR-OLD MAN AND CHARGED HIM WITH FIRST DEGREE MURDER IN THE BEATING DEATH OF HIS GIRLFRIEND’S 9-YEAR-OLD SON. THE BOY WAS NOT BREATHING WHEN RONJOEROX HAMILTON, THE MOTHER’S BOYFRIEND, BROUGHT THE BOY TO WOMEN’S & CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL IN LAFAYETTE ON SATURDAY. THE HOSPITAL STAFF BEGAN TREATING THE BOY AND DISCOVERED SIGNIFICANT INJURIES THROUGHOUT HIS BODY, INDICATING HE HAD BEEN SEVERELY BEATEN. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WAS CONTACTED AND HAMILTON WAS ARRESTED. THE CHILD DIED FROM HIS INJURIES SUNDAY. HAMILTON WAS BOOKED INTO THE LAFAYETTE PARISH CORRECTIONAL CENTER. THE CASE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.




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