News for Friday 012513
By Dave Graichen
A Baton Rouge judge Thursday struck down a new 401(k)-type pension plan that was scheduled to take effect July 1 for future state employees. State District Judge William Morvant, who did not rule on the merits of the so-called “cash balance” plan, agreed with the Retired State Employees Association of Louisiana that the plan did not get a two-thirds vote in the 2012 legislative session, as required by the state’s Constitution. The state plans to appeal.
Mary Landrieu and David Vitter are among a group of 53 senators who are urging President Obama to support the construction of the Keystone X-L Pipeline. The pipeline would transport synthetic crude oil from Canada to Texas. Landrieu says members of the Senate are pushing the President to green light the project now that Nebraska no longer opposes it. Landrieu says construction of the Keystone Pipeline will provide much needed jobs and help the U-S move toward energy independence.
LSU announces today that Les Miles' contract extension will pay him four-point-three million dollars a year. The mad hatter made 3.7 million dollars last season. The new deal also runs through the 2019 season. Miles would become the fifth coach in college football to make four-million dollars or more a year. The LSU Board of Supervisors will vote on Miles amended contract at their next meeting on February first.
As of next basketball season, the New Orleans Hornets will be no more. In their place will be the New Orleans Pelicans. Owner Tom Benson says it was a long process to re-align the team with something more suitable for a professional basketball team in south Louisiana. Team officials said the name change was made after looking at more than one hundred possible new names.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon announced Thursday he has rejected a request by State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. to introduce a regional deductible for homeowner’s coverage. State Farm, Louisiana’ largest insurer, with more than 300,000 homeowner’s policies or 29 percent of the market, is the first company to request such a plan. According to commissioner Donelon, “The regional deductible plan submitted by State Farm neither illustrates the company’s intent to write new business nor denotes how the plan is in the best interest of policyholders.”
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office says a mother is under arrest for sending her daughter to school with a sock full of golf balls to fight bullies. Captain Kip Judice says the 9-year-old child was reportedly beat up by a group of older students at Charles M. Burke Elementary School in Duson the day before.
Louisiana State Police are investigating a fatal deputy-involved shooting in St. John the Baptist Parish. They say 60-year-old Barbara Lassere was pulled over Wednesday night for not having her headlights on when she fled from officers. Deputies pursued her vehicle and when they caught up with her she refused to leave the car then shot at the authorities at which time they returned fire.
The FBI has subpoenaed over 1200 DWI case files from St. Charles Parish, that were filed during former DA Harry Morel's last term in office. The subpoena requests all records, whether the case was prosecuted or not, also cases that were dismissed, refused or lined up for pre-trial diversion. The nature of the FBI's investigation is unknown, and agents aren't talking for now.
The Secretary of State's Office has removed the names of about 52-thousand inactive voters from state rolls. State law require the periodic purge of voters who have not voted in the past two federal elections or any state or local race within two years.
Some folks in Thibodaux and Terrebonne Parish have received fake ransom calls--telling them a family member was kidnapped and demanding money; usually a thousand dollars. Police say so far not one reported case has proven to be a real kidnapping. They ask residents who get such calls to alert police right away.
Port Allen's own Brandy Hotard is heading to Hollywood after getting a "yes" from the four judges last night during the Baton Rouge auditions of American Idol. 26-year-old Hotard, former Miss Southeastern Louisiana, says this Season 12 was her third time to audition for Idol.