News for Thursday 011713
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana's republican lawmakers are expressing their displeasure with President Obama's plan to combat gun violence. The President's gun-control proposal includes a ban on high-capacity
magazines and "military-style" assault weapons, plus universal background checks on all gun buyers. Governor Jindal says the President is abusing his authority by seeking to restrict
law-abiding citizens from having access to firearms and ammunition.
Yesterday morning Kentwood Police Chief Greg Newton turned himself in after an investigation uncovered $2000 seized from a burglary that was misappropriated by the Chief. State Police say Newton was booked on one count of malfeasance in office and one count of obstruction of justice.
Some state tourism officials are concerned with Governor Jindal's plan to eliminate state incomes taxes, while raising state sales taxes to offset revenues. They worry that significantly higher sales
taxes could have a chilling effect on the state's hospitality industry--especially in New Orleans, where local sales taxes are already high and there's a 14% tax on hotel rooms. They say they'd be supportive of some kind of exemptions.
Cigarette smokers could pay more to puff if Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax package succeeds in the upcoming legislative session. Aides confirmed Wednesday that the governor is looking at what neighboring states charge in tobacco taxes and is considering putting Louisiana more in line with its neighbors. At 36 cents per pack of cigarettes, Louisiana’s state sales tax is among the lowest in the region. Texas and Arkansas charge more than a dollar in state sales tax. Just two years ago, the governor opposed a 70-cent hike in the state sales tax on a pack of cigarettes. He also vetoed a 4-cent cigarette tax renewal, characterizing it as a tax increase. Now, with the task of replacing nearly $3 billion in state revenue that would vanish through his push to eliminate the state personal income and corporate taxes, it’s believed the governor will take a different stand on the matter.
State Superintendent of Education John White got a positive job review Wednesday from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Chas Roemer, president of the board, said the superintendent got the second highest rating of four — effective/proficient, which is defined as meeting between 75 percent and 99 percent of goals. The superintendent has held the job for about one year, and the review was the first of its kind since he took the job.
Louisiana's state school board agreed Wednesday to shrink the number of mandates required of local districts, despite concerns the move would let schools eliminate counselors and librarians to cut costs.
Superintendent of Education John White proposed changes to 150 different sections of policies governing school systems. They included eliminating the statewide school calendar and changing physical education standards to allow credit for extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and participation in marching band. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education backed the changes with no discussion, after making modest adjustments a day earlier in a committee meeting. As approved, schools can sidestep requirements for how many counselors and librarians they must have, raising complaints that it will let schools do away with the jobs altogether.
There’s been another major drug bust in Cenla. The Rapides parish sheriff’s office reports 5 people have been arrested and charged with the selling of meth and other drugs in the Hineston area. Deputies said they found meth, three types of Xanax, marijuana, digital scales and drug paraphernalia at a highway 121 home.
The word isn’t official yet, but an Austin, Texas, clean energy company’s website says it plans to develop a $1 billion methanol plant at the Port of South Louisiana in LaPlace. Zero Emissions Energy Plants Ltd. said on its website that construction of the facility is set to begin in the third quarter of 2013 and the plant will be operational by the end of 2015.
Has the bad weather this week got you down? According to Michelle Moore, a clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, it's very common to get the
blues during nasty weather. Moore says bad weather increases depressive symptoms and also anxiety. She says when it's cold and rainy outside, it takes more effort for people to go out and do anything.
A state legislative committee meets today to discuss how Louisiana schools are protecting themselves following the tragic mass shooting in Connecticut. Chairman of the Homeland Security committee, Rep. John Schroder, says legislators want to make sure schools around the state are safe for Louisiana students. Schroder says during today's meeting, school superintendents, principals and law enforcement officials will discuss if any new procedures need to be put in place by the state Legislature. Schroder says in the light of the Newtown school shooting one popular topic of discussion is the possibility of arming teachers or school administrators or having armed security guards on campus.
The flu outbreak has been bad in the Bayou state. Health officials say children are particularly vulnerable to the flu and other illnesses. But L-S-U AgCenter nutritionist Denise Holston-West says parents can help ward off the flu by providing their little ones with a healthy diet. Holston-West recommends a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for children along with whole grains and calcium-rich foods.
She also says proteins can help ward off illnesses. By the way, Holston-West says it's better for children to get nutrients from the food they eat, rather than get them from vitamins.
A sign outside a New Iberia motel has been turning some heads. The recently renovated Mike's Inn Motel has a sign reading "drug free, 'ho free motel"...the owner's way of saying his business is no
longer a haven for illegal activity. He says it's working and he stays booked up.