KSYL Local News

News For Monday 04/23/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 042312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

FOUR UNATTENDED CHILDREN DIED IN A MOBILE HOME FIRE OVER THE WEEKEND AND THEIR MOTHER WAS CHARGED SUNDAY WITH FOUR COUNTS OF NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE FOR ALLEGEDLY LEAVING THEM ALONE. CAPT. DOUG CAIN WITH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SAYS THE FIRE BEGAN JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT SATURDAY IN THE TOWN OF RAYNE. CAIN SAID THE CHILDREN WHO DIED WERE AGES 2, 5, 7 AND 8. HE SAID THEIR MOTHER, 26-YEAR-OLD SHAQUETA MCDADE, WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH FOUR COUNTS OF NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE. SHE WAS BEING HELD AT THE ACADIA PARISH JAIL. AUTHORITIES SAY THEY DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE WOMAN WAS WHEN THE FIRE BROKE OUT. WHAT THEY DO KNOW, IS SHE WAS NOT AT HOME.

THE FEDERAL RESTORE ACT, WHICH WOULD SEND FINES PAID BY BP FOR THE GULF OIL SPILL TO THE STATES IMPACTED BY THE DISASTER, IS CLOSER TO FINAL PASSAGE. THE MEASURE CLEARED THE US HOUSE LAST WEEK. SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU, WHO CHAMPIONED THE RESTORE ACT IN THE UPPER CHAMBER, SAYS THE RESTORE ACT WOULD DEDICATE 80% OF WHATEVER FINES ARE LEVIED AGAINST BP FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN WATER ACT TO LOUISIANA AND 4 OTHER COASTAL STATES. THAT COULD AMOUNT TO OVER TEN BILLION DOLLARS. THE RESTORE ACT WAS ADDED TO A HOUSE TRANSPORTATION BILL THAT PASSED LAST WEEK BY 293-127 VOTE. THE SENATE HAS PASSED ITS OWN VERSION, AUTHORED BY LANDRIEU. SHE SAYS BOTH CHAMBERS WILL CONFERENCE ON WHICH BILL WILL GO TO THE PRESIDENT, AND GET ONE TO HIS DESK OVER THE SUMMER.

STATE OFFICIALS TOLD LAWMAKERS FRIDAY THAT GOVERNOR JINDAL'S PROPOSED REFORMS FOR THE STATE WORKERS' PENSION SYSTEM WILL LIKELY RESULT IN THE LOSS OF EXPERIENCED, KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE. POLITICAL ANALYST BERNIE PINSONAT SAYS IF THE REFORMS PASS, IT'S POSSIBLE MANY STATE EMPLOYEES WILL TAKE EARLY RETIREMENT, BEFORE THE CHANGES KICK IN. MANY STATE AGENCIES TESTIFIED BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, SAYING LARGE NUMBERS OF THEIR EMPLOYEES WOULD LIKELY EXIT STATE GOVERNMENT, RATHER THAN PAY MORE INTO THEIR PENSIONS AND WAIT LONGER (UNTIL 67) TO RETIRE. THAT WOULD AGGRAVATE THE UNFUNDED ACCRUED LIABILITY FOR STATE RETIREMENT. SOME FEEL THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION’S PLAN UNFAIRLY SEEKS TO BALANCE THE STATE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF IT'S RANK & FILE EMPLOYEES.

A NEW ORLEANS AREA LAWMAKER IS STILL TRYING TO PASS LEGISLATION IN THIS SESSION TO REGULATE TRAFFIC CAMERAS. THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE DEFEATED TRAFFIC CAMERA BILLS EARLIER THIS MONTH, BUT METAIRIE SENATOR DANNY MARTINY SAYS HE'S NOT GIVING UP. MARTINY SAYS HE'S WORKING WITH THE OPPONENTS ON A COMPROMISE THE LEGISLATURE WILL GO ALONG WITH. ONE OF MARTINY'S PROPOSALS WOULD PUT THE OPTION TO USE TRAFFIC CAMERAS UP TO A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. HE SAYS MUNICIPALITIES OPPOSE LEAVING IT UP TO THE PEOPLE TO DECIDE BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS UNFAIR. HE SAYS THE WAY CAMERA TICKETS ARE USED IN MANY CITIES AMOUNT TO A MONEY MAKING SCAM.

A METAIRIE REPRESENTATIVE IS ONCE AGAIN TRYING TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD TAKE AWAY AN ELECTED OFFICIAL'S OR PUBLIC EMPLOYEE'S PENSION, IF THEY ARE CONVICTED OF CERTAIN FELONIES. REP. TONY LIGI IS MORE CONFIDENT OF PASSAGE BECAUSE HE'S LETTING JUDGES DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO PULL SOMEONE'S STATE RETIREMENT. THE HOUSE RETIREMENT COMMITTEE HAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THIS LEGISLATION AND IF IT PASSES THE ENTIRE LEGISLATURE BY A 2/3RD VOTE, IT WOULD GO TO THE VOTERS THIS FALL.

THE FULL HOUSE APPROVES A MEASURE THAT WOULD GIVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME PRISON INMATES SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE A CHANCE AT PAROLE. BATON ROUGE REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA SMITH'S BILL WOULD NOT APPLY TO VIOLENT CRIMINAL OR SEX OFFENDERS, BUT THOSE WHO SENTENCED TO LIFE FOR REPEATED DRUG OR THEFT CHARGES. THE MEASURE PASSED ON AN 86-7 VOTE AND HEADS TO THE SENATE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. SUPPORTERS SAY THIS PROPOSED LAW CAN HELP WITH PRISON OVERCROWDING AND PROVIDE INMATES HOPE, WHICH WOULD LEAD TO SAFER PRISONS.

A FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS FORMER NEW ORLEANS CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM JEFFERSON TO BEGIN HIS 13-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE IN TWO WEEKS. JEFFERSON WAS CONVICTED IN 2009 FOR TAKING BRIBES AND OTHER CRIMES. HE'S BEEN FREE ON BOND WHILE APPEALING HIS CASE.

THE LAFOURCHE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS A MOTHER HAS BEEN ARRESTED CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE MURDER IN THE DEATH OF HER TWO-MONTH OLD DAUGHTER. AUTHORITIES SAYS 33-YEAR-OLD LATISHA THOMAS OF THIBODAUX CALLED 911 IN FEBRUARY TO REPORT THAT HER BABY WASN'T BREATHING. THE AUTOPSY REVEALED THAT THE BABY, ANGEL THOMAS, DIED BECAUSE SHE HADN'T BEEN FED. POLICE SAY THE MOTHER WAS ARRESTED WITHOUT INCIDENT AND HER BOND HAS BEEN SET AT $500,000. THE WOMAN HAD TWO OTHER CHILDREN WHO ARE NOW IN THE CUSTODY OF THE STATE.

A SHREVEPORT BUSINESSMAN HAS ASKED FOR A NEW TRIAL AFTER BEING CONVICTED OF SEVERAL VIOLATIONS INCLUDING THE DUMPING OF UNTREATED WASTEWATER DIRECTLY INTO THE RED RIVER. JOHN TUMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF ARKLA DISPOSAL SERVICES INC., WAS CONVICTED IN MARCH OF DUMPING WASTEWATER WITHOUT A PERMIT, DISCHARGING UNTREATED WASTEWATER INTO SHREVEPORT'S SEWER SYSTEM AND OBSTRUCTING AN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY INSPECTION. TUMA'S LAWYER SAID HE DIDN'T GET A FAIR TRIAL. IN FEBRUARY OF 2011, TUMA, OF CENTERVILLE, TEXAS, AND HIS SON CODY TUMA OF SHREVEPORT, WERE BOTH CHARGED IN A FIVE-COUNT INDICTMENT. CODY TUMA PLEADED GUILTY IN FEBRUARY OF 2012 TO ONE COUNT OF NEGLIGENTLY DISCHARGING POLLUTANTS INTO THE RED RIVER WITHOUT A PERMIT. ARKLA DISPOSAL INC. OPERATED AS A TREATMENT FACILITY FOR WASTEWATER RELATED TO OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION.

 

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