News for Wednesday 042413
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana gets hit with another cold front today, but State Climatologist Barry Keim says the chances for severe weather associated with this front are low. Keim says we will see some rain today though, with the possibility of some areas seeing up to two inches of rainfall, especially in south Louisiana.
At the State Capitol, the House Ways & Means Committee has rejected Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson's bill, that would have doubled the tax on cigarettes--bringing it up the level of Mississippi's tobacco tax. The bill failed the pass the committee by a vote of 11-7. It seems any efforts to raise the cigarette tax may be dead for the session. Two other tobacco tax bills have been deferred by their sponsors.
The House has approved a bill that would protect the Second Amendment rights of Louisianans from possible future federal gun regulations against owning semi-automatic weapons or having large capacity magazines. Debate was long and heated, with many Democrat House members challenging people's need to own such guns, and questioning the bill's ability to withstand a legal challenge. In the end the bill was approved by a 67-25 vote and will go to the Senate for committee review.
The House also passed Bossier City Rep. Jeff Thompson's bill that would ban any public release of private information on who in the state has a concealed weapon carry permit. Debate lasted over an hour. Thompson says concealed carry information is already private, and his bill would place a $10-thousand fine on anyone who intentionally makes it public, as was recently done by the New York Times in the
wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting. Thompson's bill passed by a 76-18 vote and moves to the Senate.
Public school teachers from across Louisiana are expected at the capitol today as the legislature takes up education matters. The House Education Committee will consider three bills which are already state law, but subject to a court challenge. Part of that removed seniority as the key factor in teacher layoff decisions.
Lafayette's Festival International bringing in music lovers from around the world kicks off today. The annual 5-day festival is always held during the last full week of April. Kelly Strenge with the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau says the free festival is a celebration of diversity in music. She says historic downtown Lafayette is transformed into an entertainment complex featuring six music stages, food court areas, street musicians and more. Strenge says they are expecting between 300 to 350 thousand people to attend the festival through the weekend.
Many of us over the years have tempted fate and slipped around the gates at a railroad crossing to beat the train. It’s not a good idea any time, especially when you are driving a school bus filled with kids. A Lafayette parish school bus driver learned that lesson the hard way. He received a ticket for doing just that. He may also lose his job.
State Police say they'll take part in another national prescription drug take-back day this Saturday. They say it's an effort to help local residents rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Expired, unused, and unwanted medications may be brought for disposal from 10 until 2 Saturday, to any State Police Troop.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that will allow future drivers of a three-wheeled car to be made in Shreveport to do so without a helmet. Elio Motors will revitalize the old General Motors manufacturing plant in Shreveport to produce the three wheeled car which seats two and gets high gas mileage. The bill now heads to the Senate.
With a boom in business comes an interesting employee perk. The Port of Lake Charles plans to build an "employee village". They are expected to add over 5,000 permanent jobs over the next two years. The $70 million dollar village will include recreation facilities and more. Scheduled completion is set for November of next year.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office says a woman was shot and killed in New Iberia last night. They say she was discovered lying on the street and she had been shot twice. The identity of the 41 year old woman is being withheld until the next of kin can be notified. No arrests have been made.. the investigation is ongoing.
Gruesome testimony was heard in a senate committee yesterday. It involved a bill that adds "burning by fire" in a domestic abuse case as a crime that is punishable by five to fifty years in prison. A woman from Ouachita Parish told the story of her former boyfriend who used an iron to burn her. Senate Bill 70 advances to the Senate floor.