KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 04/19/12


NEWS FOR THURSDAY 041912
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY CORP. REPORTS THAT NOBODY WON THE MAJOR JACKPOTS IN THE LOUISIANA LOTTO AND MULTISTATE POWERBALL DRAWINGS WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE LOTTO PRIZE WILL RISE TO AN ESTIMATED $550,000. THE POWERBALL TO AN ESTIMATED $152 MILLION FOR SATURDAY.

HOURS AFTER A MAY 2009 EMERGENCY APPENDECTOMY A LOCAL HOSPITAL, A PATIENT TESTIFIED WEDNESDAY HE FLED THE HOSPITAL RECOVERY ROOM AFTER HE AWOKE FROM SURGERY TO FIND PHILLIP RAINES, THEN A NURSE, ASSAULTING HIM SEXUALLY WITH HIS HANDS AND MOUTH. THE PATIENT, WHO WAS 23 AT THE TIME OF THE SURGERY, WAS THE FIRST WITNESS CALLED IN THE SEXUAL BATTERY TRIAL OF THE 47 YEAR OLD RAINES. IF CONVICTED, THE FORMER NURSE FACES UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL CHOSE A PRIVATE CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN BATON ROUGE TO SIGN LEGISLATION THAT IS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN LOUISIANA. THE LAWS MAKE CHANGES TO TEACHER TENURE AND ALSO PROVIDE PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS TO LOW INCOME STUDENTS. DURING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, CRITICS COMPLAINED THE ISSUES WERE "FAST-TRACKED", AND THEY PROMISE LEGAL CHALLENGES, BUT JINDAL SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION IS CONFIDENT THE COURTS WILL NOT TAKE ISSUE WITH THE NEW LAWS. JINDAL SAYS THE CHANGES WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR THE FALL SCHOOL YEAR.

A HOUSE BILL AIMED AT LETTING THE STATE SELL A PRISON IN AVOYELLES PARISH HAS BEEN AMENDED INTO A BILL TO ALLOW A PRIVATE COMPANY TO OPERATE THE PRISON. JONESBORO REP. JIM FANNIN AMENDED THE BILL FROM ONE TO MAKE AN OUTRIGHT SALE TO ONE THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR A TEN-YEAR CONTRACT WITH A PRIVATE FIRM TO RUN THE FACILITY. ALEXANDRIA MAYOR JACQUES ROY, WHO HAS TESTIFIED AGAINST JINDAL'S PLAN IN FRONT OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE, SAID THE PRISON PLAN WILL CREATE "SIGNIFICANT ISSUES" TO SEVERAL GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES IN THE REGION, INCLUDING BOTH HIS CITY AND PINEVILLE, AS WELL AS THE ENGLAND AUTHORITY. THE AMENDED BILL WAS HELD BACK FOR FURTHER DEBATE ANOTHER DAY SOON.

AFTER A DAY OF EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY BEFORE THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, A BILL THAT WOULD CHANGE THE STATE'S ANTI-BULLYING LAWS WAS PULLED BY ITS AUTHOR BATON ROUGE REPRESENTATIVE PAT SMITH. SMITH WITHDREW HER BILL AFTER AMENDMENTS WERE OFFERED THAT SHE FELT WOULD WEAKEN THE INTENT OF THE BILL. STUDENT TANYA OLIVER SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF THE MEASURE. SOME VICTIMS WERE REPRESENTED BY THEIR PARENTS. SMITH'S BILL WOULD HAVE GIVEN TEACHERS, WHO WANT TO INTERVENE, GREATER POWER TO STEP IN TO PREVENT BULLYING. SMITH'S BILL FACED OPPOSITION FROM GROUPS SUCH AS THE LOUISIANA FAMILY FORUM AND OTHER CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATION WHO BELIEVE THE BILL PROMOTES A GAY AGENDA.

THE HOUSE HAS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE A MANDATORY 30-DAY JAIL SENTENCE FOR CERTAIN SECOND OFFENSE DWI CONVICTIONS. THE MEASURE PASSED BY A 99-0 VOTE AND HEADS OVER TO THE SENATE.

THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON LABOR IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR A BILL THAT WOULD REPEAL A DECADES-OLD BAN ON DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SMOKERS. ST. MARTINVILLE SENATOR FRED MILLS IS THE BILL'S AUTHOR. HE SAYS THE BILL ENABLES EMPLOYERS TO ESTABLISH A SMOKE-FREE WORKPLACE AS A COMPANY POLICY--IF THEY SO CHOOSE. CURRENT LAW BARS EMPLOYERS FROM REQUIRING THEIR EMPLOYEES ABSTAIN FROM SMOKING. IT ALSO BARS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WORKERS WHO SMOKE. MILLS' BILL WOULD UNDO THAT, BUT HE SAYS IT'S NOT HIS INTENT THAT EMPLOYERS FIRE WORKERS, IF THEY SMOKE CIGARETTES. MILLS SAYS THE BILL WOULD ALLOW EMPLOYERS TO MAKE COMPANY POLICY
ESTABLISHING A SMOKE-FREE WORKPLACE. THE BILL IS SCHEDULED IN THE SENATE LABOR COMMITTEE TODAY.

A SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE WOMEN TO HEAR THE HEARTBEAT OF THEIR UNBORN BABY BEFORE THEY COULD HAVE AN ABORTION. BATON ROUGE SENATOR SHARON WESTON BROOME SAYS HER BILL AMENDS A TWO-YEAR-OLD LAW REQUIRING WOMEN TO VIEW AN ULTRASOUND IMAGE OF THEIR BABY BEFORE THE PROCEDURE. KEITHVILLE SENATOR SHERRI BUFFINGTON PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT TO GIVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO OPT OUT OF THE HEARTBEAT AND ULTRASOUND
REQUIREMENT BY SIGNING A WAIVER. JULIE MICKLEBERRY, WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD, STILL OPPOSES THE MEASURE. SHE SAYS IT'S AN INTRUSION ON THE DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP. THE MEASURE PASSED THE SENATE HEALTH & WELFARE COMMITTEE AND GOES NOW TO THE SENATE FLOOR.

U.S. SEN. MARY LANDRIEU SAYS THE CYBER INNOVATION CENTER IN BOSSIER CITY WILL RECEIVE $2.35 MILLION FOR EDUCATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES.
THE FUNDS ARE INCLUDED IN THE $22.8 MILLION HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS BILL, WHICH SHE AUTHORED.

STATE POLICE CONFIRMS TWO SEPARATE INVESTIGATIONS ARE ONGOING THAT INVOLVE FORMER STATE FIRE MARSHAL BUTCH BROWNING. A REPORT HAS SURFACED, SINCE HIS RETIREMENT, THAT BROWNING WORE UNEARNED MILITARY MEDALS WHILE HE WAS FIRE MARSHAL. THE INSPECTOR GENERALS OFFICE IS ALSO LOOKING INTO ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND MISMANAGEMENT OF FUNDS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS BEEN ASKED TO SIGN OFF ON THE FORMAL DETAILS OF A SETTLEMENT BETWEEN BP AND A LARGE GROUP OF PLAINTIFFS WHO ARE SEEKING DAMAGES FROM THE 2010 GULF OF MEXICO SPILL. BP ESTIMATES IT WILL PAY ABOUT SEVEN-POINT-BILLION DOLLARS TO RESOLVE THESE CLAIMS WITH PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES. TULANE LAW PROFESSOR ED SHERMAN EXPECTS BP WILL END UP PAYING MORE. THE U-S JUDGE OVERSEEING THIS SETTLEMENT IS EXPECTED TO HOLD A "FAIRNESS HEARING" BEFORE DECIDING ON WHETHER HE'LL GIVE FINAL APPROVAL. THE SETTLEMENT DOES NOT COVER ANY STATE OR FEDERAL SUITS AGAINST BP.

THE STATE HOUSE APPROVES A BILL THAT MAKES THE PIROGUE THE "OFFICIAL BOAT" OF LOUISIANA. RAYVILLE REPRESENTATIVE BUBBA CHANEY IS THE AUTHOR OF THIS LEGISLATION. CHANEY SAYS THE PIROGUE HAS BEEN USED AS A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION FOR OVER 200 YEARS IN LOUISIANA. HE SAYS ITS IMPORTANT TO CAJUNS AND HE MADE THAT POINT KNOWN RIGHT BEFORE THE VOTE. THE MEASURE PASSED THE HOUSE ON A 95-TO-1 VOTE. THE LONE "NO" VOTE? SHREVEPORT REP. ALAN SEABAUGH, WHO FEEL THE LEGISLATION UNFAIRLY OMITS THE LOUISIANA JOHNBOAT.

CALDWELL PARISH SHERIFF STEVE MAY, UNDER A PLEA DEAL WITH THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, PLEADED GUILTY WEDNESDAY TO FIVE MISDEMEANOR COUNTS INVOLVING AN ALLEGED TICKET-FIXING SCHEME. IN ENTERING THE PLEA, THE SHERIFF MAINTAINED HIS INNOCENCE AND SAYS HE ONLY PLEADED GUILTY BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS IN THE PARISH'S BEST INTEREST. MAY, WAS SENTENCED TO A SIX-MONTH SUSPENDED JAIL TERM AND FINE OF $350 AND PLACED HIM ON TWO YEARS OF UNSUPERVISED MISDEMEANOR PROBATION ON EACH COUNT TO RUN CONCURRENTLY. HE ALSO AGREED TO PAY THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE $7,250 , WHAT THE OFFICE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IN FINES HAD THE TRAFFIC COMPLAINTS BEEN PROSECUTED.

THE LOUISIANA HOUSE WILL DEBATE A PROPOSAL THAT WOULD STRIP THE CURRENT REQUIREMENT THAT PUBLIC COLLEGE TUITION INCREASES BE APPROVED BY LAWMAKERS BEFORE THEY CAN BE ENACTED. THE BILL WAS BACKED IN A 7-3 VOTE WEDNESDAY BY THE HOUSE AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. LOUISIANA HAS THE STRICTEST TUITION BOOST REQUIREMENTS IN THE NATION, NEEDING A TWO-THIRDS VOTE OF BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE BEFORE COLLEGE TUITION CAN BE RAISED. COLLEGES HAVE SAID THAT HIGH HURDLE RESTRICTS THEIR ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN BUDGETS, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY FACE CUTS. SUPPORTERS OF THE CURRENT PROCESS SAY IT ENSURES COLLEGES AREN'T PRICING POORER STUDENTS OUT OF THE ABILITY TO GET A DEGREE.
HARRISON'S BILL HAS A TOUGH ROAD TO PASSAGE. BECAUSE IT WOULD CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION, IT REQUIRES A TWO-THIRDS VOTE OF BOTH CHAMBERS AND BACKING FROM VOTERS IN A STATEWIDE ELECTION TO TAKE EFFECT.

A BID TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR BREAKAWAY SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FORM IN PARISHES ADVANCED THROUGH THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE WITH AN 11-6 VOTE, OVER THE OPPOSITION OF TEACHER UNIONS AND THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION WHO ARGUED IT COULD SIPHON DOLLARS AWAY FROM SOME OF THE NEEDIEST, MOST AT-RISK PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THE PROPOSAL GOES TO THE FULL HOUSE. IT WOULD TAKE OUT A CURRENT REQUIREMENT THAT BREAKAWAY DISTRICTS GET SUPPORT FROM VOTERS STATEWIDE AND INSTEAD REQUIRE ONLY VOTERS IN THE PARISH WHERE THE NEW DISTRICT IS PROPOSED TO DECIDE ON THE IDEA.

THE SENATE HAS APPROVED LEGISLATION GIVING TAX REBATES TO PEOPLE WHO DONATE MONEY TO NONPROFITS THAT PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH SCHOLARSHIPS TO ATTEND PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. THE PROPOSAL APPROVED WEDNESDAY IS AIMED AT CHILDREN FROM LOWER-INCOME FAMILIES WHO ATTEND POORLY PERFORMING SCHOOLS, SIMILAR TO THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE NEW STATE VOUCHER PROGRAM. THE PERSON WHO DONATES THE MONEY WOULD GET A TAX REBATE OF ABOUT 95 PERCENT. THE HOUSE-PASSED MEASURE BY REP. KIRK TALBOT, A REPUBLICAN FROM RIVER RIDGE, GOES BACK TO THE HOUSE FOR APPROVAL OF SENATE LANGUAGE CHANGES. IT'S BACKED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL.

THE HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY BACKED A PROPOSAL TO REQUIRE THAT PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS GET INSTRUCTION ABOUT CELL PHONE SAFETY. THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 236) BY REP. VALARIE HODGES, R-DENHAM SPRINGS, MOVES NEXT TO THE SENATE. THE STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION WOULD HAVE TO DEVISE THE TEACHING MATERIALS ON SEVERAL TOPICS INCLUDING: RECOGNITION AND REPORTING OF ELECTRONIC SOLICITATIONS BY SEXUAL PREDATORS, RISKS OF TRANSMITTING PERSONAL INFORMATION, REPORTING OF CYBERBULLYING, RECOGNITION AND REPORTING OF UNSOLICITED AND DECEPTIVE COMMUNICATIONS AND COPYRIGHT LAWS ON PHOTOS, MUSIC AND VIDEOS.

LOUISIANA'S PROPERTY INSURER OF LAST RESORT HAS ASKED THE NATION'S HIGHEST COURT TO HEAR AN APPEAL OF A $104.6 MILLION AWARD TO 18,500 POLICYHOLDERS WHO SUED OVER SLOW ADJUSTMENT OF HURRICANE CLAIMS IN 2005. THE ACTION BY LOUISIANA CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORP. CAME AS AN ORDER WAS ISSUED TO THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SHERIFF TO GET THE MONEY FROM THE INSURER'S BANK.
IN A STATEMENT, PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY FRED HERMAN SAID A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE IN JEFFERSON PARISH WOULD DECIDE HOW TO DIVIDE THE MONEY ONCE IT IS TURNED OVER BY REGIONS BANK. CITIZENS' CHIEF EXECUTIVE, RICHARD ROBERTSON, SAID A REQUEST FOR THE U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR THE CASE WAS FILED WEDNESDAY. THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF WHEN THE COURT MIGHT DECIDE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THE REQUEST.

THE SENATE VOTED 38-0 WEDNESDAY FOR A BILL AIMED AT KEEPING THE STATE'S MOVIE PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT PROGRAM FROM BENEFITING PORNOGRAPHIC PRODUCTIONS. THE BILL DOESN'T DEFINE PORNOGRAPHY. INSTEAD, IT REFERENCES FEDERAL LAW DEALING WITH RECORDS THAT MUST BE KEPT BY PRODUCTIONS THAT CONTAIN VARIOUS TYPES OF SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL. THE BILL GOES NEXT TO THE HOUSE.

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE REPORT ON OF THE LARGEST DRUG BUSTS IN RECENT HISTORY. OFFICERS FROM TROOP I ARRESTED TWO PEOPLE FROM JAMAICA ON CHARGES OF POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE MARIJUANA. 843 POUNDS OF THE DRUG WERE SEIZED YESTERDAY.

LSU UNVEILS ARTIST RENDERINGS OF WHAT TIGER STADIUM WILL LOOK LIKE IN 2014. ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR HERB VINCENT SAYS PLANS ARE IN MOTION TO ADD SUITES, CLUB SEATS AND 15-HUNDRED GENERAL PUBLIC SEATS TO BRING TIGER STADIUM'S CAPACITY TO AROUND 100-THOUSAND. VINCENT SAYS THE SOUTH END ZONE EXPANSION WILL COST ABOUT 80-MILLION DOLLARS AND IT WILL BE PAID FOR BY THE TIGER ATHLETIC FOUNDATION. VINCENT SAYS IF THEY RECEIVE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS APPROVAL, CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN THIS FALL AND THE PROJECT WILL BE COMPLETED IN THE SUMMER OF 2014...






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