KSYL Local News

Morning News For Friday 061711


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 061711
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

A BILL SPONSORED BY ALEXANDRIA REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS ROY MOVES FORWARD. LOCAL LEGISLATORS WORKED OUT A COMPROMISE ON A BILL THAT WILL CHANGE HOW ALEXANDRIA CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION MEMBERS ARE APPOINTED, TAKING OUT LANGUAGE THAT WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE CITY'S MAYOR VETO POWER OVER APPOINTEES. HOUSE BILL 581 HEADS TO THE FULL SENATE FOR PROBABLE PASSAGE AFTER THE SENATE LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS PASSED THE AMENDED BILL THURSDAY AFTERNOON.

NO END IN SITE TO THE OPPRESSIVE TEMPS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS. YESTERDAY, FOR THE FOURTH DAY IN A ROW, THE HIGH TEMPERATURE EITHER SET OR TIED THE RECORD HIGH FOR THE DATE. NORMALLY IN MID-JUNE, THE HIGH TEMPERATURE IS 90 DEGREES. WE HAVE BEEN AVERAGING ABOUT 10 DEGREES ABOVE THAT.

A PROPOSAL TO REPEAL THE STATE'S PERSONAL INCOME TAX STALLED THURSDAY AFTER A MAJORITY OF LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BACKED STUDYING HOW TO MAKE UP THE MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR LOSS OF REVENUE RATHER THAN REMOVING THE TAX OUTRIGHT. THE HOUSE VOTED 57-35 FOR A CHANGE BY REP. CHRIS ROY, D-ALEXANDRIA, TO REQUIRE THE STUDY. LAWMAKERS ARE CONCERNED STATE SERVICES COULD BE DEVASTATED WITHOUT A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO REPLACE THE MONEY. THE SENATE ALSO SUPPORTED THE STUDY, RATHER THAN A DIRECT REPEAL. REP. HUNTER GREENE, R-BATON ROUGE, SHELVED THE BILL WHEN HE COULDN'T GET HOUSE MEMBERS TO SUPPORT THE ELIMINATION OVER 10 YEARS, STARTING IN 2014. GREENE CAN ATTEMPT TO BRING THE MEASURE UP AGAIN, BUT TIME IS GETTING SHORT. THE REGULAR SESSION ENDS NEXT WEEK.

A HOUSE-BACKED ATTEMPT TO CAP SALARIES FOR LOUISIANA'S EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT AND COLLEGE LEADERS HAS BEEN QUIETLY UNDONE BY STATE SENATORS. THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE REMOVED THE CAP PROVISIONS WEDNESDAY AS SENATORS CRAFTED THEIR PLANS FOR THE 2011-12 STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. NO MENTION WAS MADE OF THE REMOVAL DURING THE PUBLIC HEARING ON BUDGET AMENDMENTS. REP. SIMONE CHAMPAGNE, WHO PUSHED TO LIMIT EDUCATION PAY, SAID THE COMPENSATION HAS GROWN TOO FAST AND IS OUT OF LINE WITH OTHER STATES IN THE REGION. UNDER CHAMPAGNE'S RESTRICTIONS, PAY PACKAGES COULD HAVE BEEN REDUCED BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

THE LOUISIANA HOUSE REFUSED THURSDAY TO OVERRIDE GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VETO OF A 4-CENT CIGARETTE TAX RENEWAL, WITH REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORTED THE TAX UNWILLING TO EMBARRASS THE GOVERNOR WITH WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST LEGISLATIVE OVERRIDE IN 18 YEARS. JINDAL CALLED THE LEGISLATION BY DEMOCRATIC REP. HAROLD RITCHIE OF BOGALUSA A TAX INCREASE BECAUSE THE LEVY IS SET TO EXPIRE.
THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR HAD APPEALED DIRECTLY TO GOP LAWMAKERS TO REJECT AN OVERRIDE, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN A STRONG SHOW OF DEFIANCE IN A STATE WHERE GOVERNORS TRADITIONALLY HOLD A LOT OF SWAY OVER THE LEGISLATURE. ONLY TWO GUBERNATORIAL VETOES HAVE BEEN OVERRIDDEN IN MODERN TIMES. THE TAX RENEWAL INITIALLY PASSED WITH 70 VOTES OF THE HOUSE, THE SAME NUMBER NEEDED FOR AN OVERRIDE. BUT THE HOUSE VOTED 58-44 FOR THE OVERRIDE, 12 VOTES SHORT OF THE ORIGINAL VOTE FOR PASSAGE

WINNINGS FOR LOUISIANA'S STATE-LICENSED CASINOS IN MAY WERE JUST ABOUT THE SAME FOR BOTH APRIL AND MAY 2010. THE CASINO BUSINESS HAS BEEN HOBBLED BY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND, MORE RECENTLY, HIGHER GASOLINE PRICES THAT HAVE PUT A WEIGHT ON CONSUMER SPENDING.

WITH NO DEBATE, THE LOUISIANA HOUSE BACKED A NEARLY $3.4 BILLION SPENDING PLAN FOR STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS NEXT YEAR. THE 87-4 VOTE FOR THE 2011-12 FUNDING FORMULA SENDS THE MEASURE TO THE SENATE FOR DISCUSSION. THE SPENDING PLAN WOULD KEEP FUNDING STATIC FOR A THIRD YEAR, NOT PROVIDING DISTRICTS WITH THE ANNUAL 2.75 PERCENT INCREASES THEY HAD GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO RECEIVING TO COVER RISING HEALTH AND RETIREMENT COSTS.

THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE APPROVED A PROPOSAL TO GIVE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS MORE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE THE TEXTBOOKS THEY USE. CRITICS SAID THE HOUSE-APPROVED MEASURE IS INTENDED TO FORCE TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR THE TEACHING OF CREATIONISM ALONG WITH THE BIOLOGY CURRICULUM, WHICH THEY SAID WOULD LOWER THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION FOR LOUISIANA STUDENTS. THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 580) BY REP. FRANK HOFFMANN, R-WEST MONROE, WOULD REMOVE A RESTRICTION THAT CURRENTLY KEEPS DISTRICTS FROM USING STATE FUNDS TO PAY FOR BOOKS OUTSIDE OF A STATE-APPROVED LIST.

TVS WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE FRONT SEAT OF VEHICLES, IF GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AGREES TO A BILL THAT RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE WITH A UNANIMOUS SENATE VOTE THURSDAY.
CURRENT LAW RESTRICTS TELEVISION SCREENS TO BEHIND THE DRIVER'S SEAT OF A CAR, TRUCK OR OTHER VEHICLE. THE PROPOSAL (HOUSE BILL 243) BY REP. HELENA MORENO, D-NEW ORLEANS, WOULD REMOVE THAT LIMITATION, ALLOWING TVS IN THE FRONT SEAT. THERE WOULD BE A CAVEAT: THE SCREEN COULD NOT BE VISIBLE BY A DRIVER WHILE A VEHICLE IS IN MOTION.

A HIGH RANKING U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS OFFICIAL SAID THURSDAY THE COST OF REPAIRING MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEES THAT WERE DAMAGED BY THIS YEAR'S HISTORIC FLOODING COULD REACH $1 BILLION, BUT IT'S NOT CLEAR HOW MUCH FUNDING WILL BE AVAILABLE, COL. THATCH SHEPARD, DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS' MISSISSIPPI RIVER DIVISION, ANNOUNCED THAT REPAIRING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEE SYSTEM COULD COST $700 MILLION TO $1 BILLION. THE CORPS BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IS $210 MILLION. SHEPARD SAID HE'S HOPING CONGRESS WILL APPROVE SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING.

DESOTO PARISH AUTHORITIES SAY A 5-YEAR-OLD LOGANSPORT GIRL IS IN STATE CUSTODY, HER MOTHER UNDER ARREST AND HER FATHER WANTED AFTER A TOURIST FOUND THE CHILD ON A SABINE RIVER BRIDGE. AUTHORITIES SAYS DEPUTIES TOOK THE CHILD HOME BUT FOUND MARIJUANA, KNIVES AND CIGARETTES WITHIN CHILDREN'S REACH AND DOG FECES ALL OVER THE HOUSE. THE MOTHER TOLD INVESTIGATORS SHE REALIZED HER DAUGHTER WAS MISSING WHEN HER 4-YEAR-OLD SON WALKED IN AND SAID HIS SISTER WAS GONE. THE MOTHER WAS CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF CHILD ABANDONMENT AND ONE OF POSSESSING MARIJUANA, AND THE CHILD’S FATHER IS WANTED ON THE SAME CHARGES.







God Bless America!

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