News for Wednesday 050113
By Dave Graichen
It took a daylong meeting, but the Louisiana College Board Of Trustees exonerated Dr. Joe Aguillard of all allegations that were made by several whistleblower complaints. The board was considering competing motions, one that would terminate Aguillard and another that would that would affirm him as president. They opted for the latter.
Much of the state is under a flash flood watch through Thursday. Forecaster Robert Ricks, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says the problem is a slow moving low pressure system that's stalled over southeastern Texas and Louisiana. Ricks says we can expect periods of heavy rainfall, lightning and possible severe thunderstorms. He says it comes on the heels of an April with almost 10 inches of rainfall, bringing the risk of flash flooding in low-lying areas. The rain should begin to move out tomorrow, with fair & cool weather behind it...:
John Georges, who took over a small family company and transformed it into a billion-dollar business, completed a deal Tuesday to buy The Advocate, the largest daily newspaper in Louisiana. The Advocate, which dates back 171 years and serves readers from Lafayette to New Orleans, is one of the few newspapers in the United States whose print circulation is growing. It was owned by the descendants of Charles P. Manship Sr., who have been newspaper proprietors in Baton Rouge since 1909.
Georges said he will meet today with the newspaper’s 450 employees. He said he has been negotiating with the Manships for nearly two years.
Legislation that would double the amount of time a parent would have to give up their newborn, no questions asked, advances in House Health and Welfare. The proposal, by Pineville Rep Chris Hazel, would amend the "Safe Haven" law to say a person could give up their baby within 60 days. Wade Bond with the Rapides Children's Advocacy Center supports the extension of the Safe Haven law. He believes it would help assist
parents who feel the only answer is to murder their children. That bill now also heads for the House floor.
Two bills that take away the legislature's authority over the setting of college tuition rates are moving through the Louisiana House of Representatives. The House Education Committee approved a measure which gives the management boards of the state's 4 public college systems the power to set tuition rates. A similar piece of legislation passed out of the House Governmental Affairs Committee. That Bill is proposing a change to the state constitution, so that a two-thirds vote of the legislature is no longer needed to raise tuition.
A bill that would prohibit outdoor smoking within 25 feet of most state buildings passed in the House Health and Welfare Committee. The bill by West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says the penalties for those who violate this law are minimal with first offense being a $25 fine, second offense a $50 fine and any offense
after $100. Hoffman admits enforcement could be difficult. The vote was 15-1 and now heads to House floor.
A state Senate panel late Tuesday narrowly endorsed a revamped Medicaid expansion plan that would use the private insurance market place to provide health care coverage to Louisiana low-income adults. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 4-3 for what state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, called “a Louisiana solution” for state participation in the Medicaid expansion called for in federal law. The bill now heads to the full Senate.
A state Senate judiciary committee backed a proposal that would remove a requirement that judges retire after reaching age 70 and completing their current terms. Senate Bill 5 heads next to the full Senate for debate. If approved by the House and Senate, the constitutional change also would require approval from voters in a statewide election.
The House Governmental Affairs committee killed a measure that would have opened more of Governor Bobby Jindal's office to more scrutiny. The committee voted 6-3 to back the governor's effort to keep most of his records away from public view.
The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors approves U-L-L's request to move forward with the school’s 115-million dollar athletic facilities master plan. The plan includes major renovations to the football stadium, Cajun Field.
Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne announces 2012 was a record-setting year for tourism. Dardenne says a record number of visitors came to the state last year. Based on statistics from a U-N-O study, Louisiana attracted 26-point-3 million tourists last year, which resulted in more than 10-billion dollars in total visitor spending.
The full House has passed a bill that requires that dogs must be secured in cages or kennels, while the trucks or trailers they're being carried in are on Interstate highways. Kenner Rep. Tom Wilmott brought the legislation out of concern for the number of dogs killed when thrown out of moving trucks, and for the safety of motorists as well.
A Louisiana House committee rejected a bill that would have allowed convicted felons to vote if they were out of prison but still on probation or parole. Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, said current law disenfranchises people who pay taxes. She said her house Bill 175 would encourage people to participate in society and would support re-entry programs designed to ensure people don’t reoffend. A victim rights’ organization opposed the measure, saying convicted felons shouldn’t be allowed to vote until they’ve completed their entire sentence.The House and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 5-2 against the bill.
A wreck involving two big rigs on I-20 in Caddo Parish has left one of the two truck drivers dead. Caddo Sheriff's office spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says it happened shortly after midnight last night, with one 18-wheeler running into the back of another
Ouachita Parish deputies report a homeowner shot a suspected home invasion robber yesterday afternoon. They say the resident confronted the alleged thief and the suspect tried to run the homeowner over with his vehicle. The homeowner fired--hitting the suspect at least once. He was airlifted to a Shreveport hospital where his condition is
BP agrees to pay about $340-million to fund coastal restoration projects for Louisiana. It's part of $1-billion the oil company will invest in areas damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. David Cresson is CEO of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana. He says this is good news that's been a long time coming. The state has been requesting BP make a down payment on the billion dollars promised the state for coastal rebuilding, and they're now making good on the promise. Cresson says the lion's share of the money will go to barrier island projects.
Lake Charles annual Contraband Days pirate festival begins today. The 54th annual event features pirates forcing the Mayor to walk the plank, a car show, live music. midway rides, fireworks and a boat parade. The vent wraps up on May 12th.