KSYL Local News

News For Wednesday 05/23/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 052312
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

MORE THAN 5,000 LOUISIANA STUDENTS IN 33 PARISHES CAN GET NEW TAXPAYER-FUNDED VOUCHER SLOTS AT PRIVATE SCHOOLS THIS FALL, UNDER A LAW PUSHED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL THAT CREATED A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM. THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ON TUESDAY UNVEILED THE LIST OF PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VOUCHER PROGRAM EXPANSION APPROVED BY LAWMAKERS IN APRIL. THE FINAL ASSIGNMENTS AND NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO WILL TAKE THE SEATS FOR THE 2012-13 SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE SET BY THE END OF JULY.

FOUR CENTRAL LOUISIANA SCHOOLS WILL BE AMONG THOSE PARTICIPATING IN THE STATE’S SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. ST. FRANCES CABRINI IN ALEXANDRIA, CENLA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN PINEVILLE, ST. MARY’S ASSUMPTION IN COTTONPORT AND BEAU-VER CHRISTIAN IN DERIDDER, ARE ON THE LIST OF SCHOOLS THAT WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM. NOTICEABLY ABSENT FROM THE LIST.. HOLY SAVIOUR MENARD, GRACE CHRISTIAN, OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR AND COUNTRY DAY IN ALEXANDRIA, ST. MARY’S IN NATCHITOCHES AND ST. JOSEPH IN PLAUCHEVILLE

SUNDROP FUELS WILL ANNOUNCE TODAY THAT IT HAS ENTERED A PARTNERSHIP WITH A WORLDWIDE ENGINEERING AND FOR CONSTRUCTION OF ITS PLANNED "GREEN GASOLINE" PRODUCTION PLANT NORTH OF ALEXANDRIA. CONSTRUCTION FOR THE PLANT WILL BEGIN IN DECEMBER ON A 1,200-ACRE SPREAD NEAR COWBOY TOWN, WITH PLANT COMPLETION SOMETIME IN 2014.

TWO VILLE PLATTE TEENAGERS WERE KILLED TUESDAY MORNING IN A CAR ACCIDENT ON LA. HIGHWAY 10 NEAR OAKDALE. STATE POLICE REPORT 17 YEAR OLD KYLE LANDRY , AND HIS PASSENGER, 17 YEAR OLD CADE GUILLORY WERE PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE BY THE ALLEN PARISH CORONER’S OFFICE. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 11 YESTERDAY MORNING WHEN A PICKUP DRIVEN BY LANDRY RAN OFF THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD. LANDRY OVERCORRECTED TO THE LEFT AND CROSSED THE CENTER LINE SIDESWIPING ANOTHER VEHICLE. GUILLORY’S VEHICLE THEN TRAVELED OFF THE ROADWAY AND STRUCK SEVERAL TREES AND ROLLED OVER. LANDRY AND GUILLORY WERE WEARING THEIR SEAT BELTS.

FIVE RAPIDES PARISH HIGH SCHOOLS, PLAINVIEW, GLENMORA, OAK HILL, PEABODY AND RAPIDES HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED WITH BRONZE MEDAL DESIGNATIONS IN THE 2012 U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT BEST HIGH SCHOOLS RANKINGS. SEVENTY-NINE SCHOOLS IN LOUISIANA RECEIVED THE DESIGNATION. U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT ANALYZED 21,776 PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS IN 49 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO DETERMINE ITS BEST HIGH SCHOOLS.

A BILL PROHIBITING DOCTORS FROM PERFORMING ABORTIONS 20 WEEKS AFTER FERTILIZATION BY DECLARING THE FETUS CAN FEEL PAIN HAS PASSED THE SENATE WITHOUT OPPOSITION. THE MEASURE BY SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN ALARIO DECLARES THAT THE STATE SHOULD PROTECT "THE LIVES OF UNBORN CHILDREN FROM THE STAGE AT WHICH SUBSTANTIAL MEDICAL EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF FEELING PAIN." DOCTORS WHO VIOLATE THE PROHIBITION WOULD FACE A PRISON SENTENCE UP TO TWO YEARS. ALARIO'S PROPOSAL MAKES EXCEPTIONS FOR WOMEN WHOSE LIVES ARE IN DANGER DUE TO COMPLICATIONS WITH THEIR PREGNANCIES. RAPE AND INCEST WOULD NOT BE AN EXCEPTION. SUPPORTERS SAY THE LEGISLATION WOULD ONLY AFFECT A SMALL NUMBER OF ABORTIONS IN LOUISIANA. THEY SAY SIX OTHER STATES HAVE SIMILAR LAWS.
THE BILL PASSED 35-0 TUESDAY AND HEADS TO THE HOUSE.

A PROPOSAL TO SET UP A FORMAL HOUSE PROCESS FOR DISCIPLINING PEOPLE WHO ATTEMPT TO INTIMIDATE LAWMAKERS WAS SHELVED TUESDAY FOR THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. REP. NEIL ABRAMSON, D-NEW ORLEANS, SAID HE OFFERED THE LEGISLATION AFTER BEING THREATENED FOR HIS POSITION IN A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY AND LANDOWNERS OVER HOW TO CLEAN UP ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE DONE IN DRILLING YEARS AGO. BUT HE SAID SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT THE BROADNESS OF HIS SUGGESTED HOUSE RULE CHANGE AND POSSIBLE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. SO, ABRAMSON TOLD THE HOUSE AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HE WAS SCRAPPING THE LEGISLATION (HOUSE RESOLUTION 46) TO REVIEW THE IDEA OVER THE NEXT YEAR. HE SAID HE'LL RETURN WITH A PROPOSAL NEXT YEAR. THE NEW ORLEANS LAWMAKER IDENTIFIED THE PERSON AS LAWYER JIMMY FAIRCLOTH, A FORMER EXECUTIVE COUNSEL TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL WHO IS REPRESENTING LANDOWNERS ON THE OILFIELD CONTAMINATION ISSUE. FAIRCLOTH SAID HE DIDN'T THREATEN ABRAMSON WHEN TALKING TO HIM.

SENATORS REVERSED COURSE AND BACKED A PROPOSAL THAT WILL LET A LIMITED LIST OF OLDER PRISONERS SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE TO SEEK A PAROLE HEARING, GIVING THE MEASURE FINAL PASSAGE. THE HEARING WON'T APPLY TO ANYONE WHO WAS CONVICTED OF A VIOLENT CRIME OR A SEX OFFENSE. THE PRISONER WILL HAVE TO COMPLETE CERTAIN TYPES OF EDUCATIONAL TRAINING AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT AND WILL HAVE TO BE DEEMED A LOW-RISK OFFENDER IN A RATING SCALE USED BY THE STATE CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT. SENATORS SENT THE BILL TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK WITH A 23-12 VOTE TUESDAY, A DAY AFTER IT ONLY RECEIVED 18 VOTES OF SUPPORT.

HEALTH AND HOSPITALS SECRETARY BRUCE GREENSTEIN KEPT SAYING THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION HAS SCRAPPED PLANS TO MERGE AN ELDERLY AFFAIRS OFFICE INTO THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, BUT LAWMAKERS ASKED GREENSTEIN TO SAY IT AGAIN AND AGAIN TUESDAY, SHOWCASING THE STRONG RESISTANCE TO THE IDEA. AT THE START OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, GOV. BOBBY JINDAL PROPOSED MERGING OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF ELDERLY AFFAIRS INTO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS. PARISH COUNCILS ON AGING AROUND LOUISIANA AND ELDERLY RESIDENTS WHO RECEIVE SERVICES THROUGH PROGRAMS OVERSEEN BY THE OFFICE HEAVILY CRITICIZED THE IDEA, AND LAWMAKERS SIDED WITH THEIR LOCAL ELDERLY AFFAIRS LEADERS. GREENSTEIN REITERATED THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS NO LONGER ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH THE PLAN.

THE LOUISIANA SENATE HAS REFUSED TO PROHIBIT SMOKING WITHIN 25 FEET OF THE ENTRANCE TO ANY BUILDING WHERE SMOKING ALREADY IS BANNED, EVEN AFTER THE MEASURE WAS LIMITED TO STATE-OWNED BUILDINGS. LOUISIANA PROHIBITS SMOKING IN RESTAURANTS, PUBLIC PLACES, PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND MANY PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT.
AS APPROVED BY THE HOUSE, WEST MONROE REP. FRANK HOFFMANN'S PROPOSAL WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE BAN TO WITHIN 25 FEET OF THOSE BUILDINGS' ENTRANCES AND TO THEIR WHEELCHAIR RAMPS. BUT SENATORS SAID IN DOWNTOWNS AND AREAS LIKE THE FRENCH QUARTER, THE 25-FOOT BAN COULD ELIMINATE SMOKING OUTSIDE ENTIRELY. SO, THE SENATE LIMITED THE MEASURE TO STATE-OWNED BUILDINGS. THAT WASN'T ENOUGH TO WIN PASSAGE. SENATORS VOTED 18-16 TUESDAY FOR THE PROPOSAL. IT NEEDED 20 VOTES TO PASS.

VOTERS ACROSS LOUISIANA WILL BE ASKED THIS FALL IF THEY WANT TO ENACT TERM LIMITS ON THEIR LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS. A PROPOSAL BY PONCHATOULA REP. STEVE PUGH REQUIRING THE TERM LIMIT QUESTION TO APPEAR ON THE NOV. 6 BALLOT RECEIVED FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE TUESDAY WITH A 20-16 SENATE VOTE. IF APPROVED IN A PARISH, LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS THERE WOULD BE LIMITED TO THREE CONSECUTIVE FOUR-YEAR TERMS, LIKE STATE LAWMAKERS. SUPPORTERS SAY TERM LIMITS WOULD ALLOW FOR FRESH IDEAS AND NEW PEOPLE ON THE BOARDS THAT DETERMINE EDUCATION POLICY.
OPPONENTS SAY VOTERS CAN OUST ELECTED OFFICIALS THEY DON'T THINK ARE PERFORMING WELL, BY REFUSING TO RE-ELECT THEM. JEFFERSON AND LAFAYETTE PARISHES ALREADY HAVE TERM LIMITS ON THEIR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS.

A CARETAKER OF A CHILD WILL BE REQUIRED TO REPORT A MISSING CHILD TO EMERGENCY OFFICIALS OR FACE CRIMINAL PENALTIES, UNDER A BILL GIVEN FINAL PASSAGE TUESDAY. THE MEASURE (HOUSE BILL 600) BY REP. BARBARA NORTON, D-SHREVEPORT, SETS TIME LIMITS FOR HOW LONG A CHILD IS MISSING, VARYING BY AGE, FOR THE REPORTING REQUIREMENT TO KICK IN. FAILURE TO REPORT COULD MEAN JAIL TIME OF UP TO SIX MONTHS IF THE CHILD IS FOUND UNHARMED. IF THE CHILD IS FOUND DEAD OR FOUND WITH A SERIOUS INJURY, THE JAIL SENTENCES COULD BE A DECADE OR MORE.

A PACKAGE OF TAX BREAKS SOUGHT BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IS NEAR FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE IN THE LOUISIANA HOUSE, BUT WITH MORE RESTRICTIONS FOR THEIR USE THAN WHEN THE REBATES WERE PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNOR. LAWMAKERS IN THE SENATE ADDED SEVERAL HURDLES BEFORE THE TAX BREAKS COULD BE USED, WITH SENATORS SAYING THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THE TAX BREAKS GENERATE NEW JOBS RATHER THAN JUST GIVE MONEY AWAY TO BUSINESSES THAT WOULD HAVE COME TO LOUISIANA ANYWAY.
THE BILLS BY REP. JOEL ROBIDEAUX, R-LAFAYETTE, WOULD GIVE THE STATE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CHIEF LIMITED ABILITY TO OFFER THREE NEW TAX BREAKS TO BUSINESSES THAT ARE CONSIDERING WHETHER TO RELOCATE OR EXPAND IN LOUISIANA.

LAWMAKERS HAVE DIRECTED THE GOVERNOR'S CAPITAL FACILITIES OFFICE TO DECLARE THE SITE OF THE FORMER INSURANCE BUILDING SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR THE USE OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR AND LAWMAKERS. THE HOUSE GAVE FINAL PASSAGE TO THE MEASURE (SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 62) WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE JINDAL ADMINISTRATION HAD TALKED ABOUT SELLING THE PROPERTY, WHICH IS THE SITE OF A PARKING DECK OVERLOOKING THE LOUISIANA CAPITOL, BUT LAWMAKERS CRITICIZED THE IDEA.

THE HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO A BILL BY SEN. A.G. CROWE, R-SLIDELL, AIMED AT KEEPING THE STATE'S MOVIE PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT PROGRAM FROM BENEFITING PORNOGRAPHIC PRODUCTIONS. CROWE'S BILL (SENATE BILL 513) GOES BACK TO THE SENATE FOR APPROVAL OF HOUSE CHANGES.

A NEWLY RELEASED ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY SHOWS CLOSE TO 400,000 LOUISIANA JOBS ARE TIED TO THE OPERATION OF THE STATE'S PORTS, WHICH HAVE GROWN IN ASSETS BY ALMOST $600 MILLION IN THE LAST DECADE. THE AUTHOR OF THE STUDY, JAMES RICHARDSON, FROM LSU, SAYS ONE IN FIVE JOBS IN LOUISIANA ARE TIED TO THE MARITIME INDUSTRY.

STATE POLICE DETECTIVES ARE INVESTIGATING AN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING BY THE LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT. TROOPER STEPHEN HAMMONS SAYS LAFAYETTE OFFICERS RESPONDED TO A SHOPLIFTING COMPLAINT AT A CONVENIENCE STORE MONDAY NIGHT. HAMMONS SAYS ONE OFFICER LOCATED A MAN FITTING THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SUSPECT. WHEN THE OFFICER MADE CONTACT, HAMMONS SAYS THERE WAS A STRUGGLE. SEVERAL SHOTS WERE FIRED AND THE SUSPECT WAS STRUCK MULTIPLE TIMES.
TROOPERS SAY THE SUSPECT IS LISTED IN CRITICAL BUT STABLE CONDITION. THE OFFICER WAS ALSO TAKEN TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE WAS TREATED FOR MINOR INJURIES.
OFFICIALS HAVE NOT RELEASED THE NAMES OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE SHOOTING.


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