News for Friday 050213
By Dave Graichen
What is up with the weather? Over the next couple of days, Louisiana is expected to set new records for low temperatures. State climatologist Barry Keim says these chilly temperatures are the result of a late Spring cold air mass.
Next week, Louisiana's House of Representatives will debate the 24-billion dollar state operating budget for the fiscal year that goes into effect July 1st. Thursday, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley gave a strong indication the House will vote on a spending plan that does not include the patchwork financing recommended by Governor
Jindal. Kleckley told lawmakers Thursday that a reworked proposed budget could be unveiled on Monday. It's been reported the House is working on a budget that would
contain spending cuts, while also reducing or eliminating certain tax breaks to raise revenue.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards spoke for about seven minutes on the Senate floor Wednesday then received a standing ovation from members. The expectant father reminisced about working with the legislature during his four terms in office and told Senators that never more than now does Louisiana need leaders who are willing to
set aside personal interests.
Officials in 63 of Louisiana’s 70 school districts have submitted new salary schedules that will reward teachers for effectiveness and other areas, the state Department of Education announced Thursday. The new pay plans stem from a 2012 state law aimed in part at giving local school officials more flexibility in how educators are paid. The law has been declared unconstitutional by a 19th Judicial District Court, in Baton Rouge, but remains in effect while attorneys for the state appeal.
The Southeastern Conference along with its primary television rights provider, ESPN, announced the start of the SEC network which will televise more than one-thousand events each year. The network will broadcast 24-7 starting in August 2014. Commissioner Mike Slive says the SEC Network will televise three
SEC football games each week. The new network will also televise 75 college baseball games a year.
A West Monroe newspaper reports the sponsor of a controversial bill that would allow optometrists to perform eye surgeries is withdrawing the bill from consideration. Rep. Frank Hoffman's bill met fierce opposition from ophthalmologists, who feel eye surgeries should only be done by medical doctors. Optometrists are not MDs. Hoffman told the Ouachita Citizen he's reconsidered the wisdom of the bill.
A bill to allow voters to decide if they want traffic cameras in their area was killed in a House committee Thursday today. Bill sponsor Jeff Arnold says his bill would prohibit using the cams to levy fines unless voters approved them. Opposition came from representatives of local governments, who say the cams reduce accidents and generate revenue. The committee rejected Arnold's bill by a 5-to-10 vote.
In a meeting that went into the evening hours, the Senate Education Committee once again rejected an effort to repeal Louisiana's Science Education act, which allows discussion of alternate theories to mainstream science. Chief among them the theory of Intelligent Design creation of the universe--as opposed to the Big Bang. Critics, like New Orleans Senator Karen Peterson says the 2008 law is nothing less than sneaking religion into public school classrooms through the back door. The committee deferred the bill--ending its progress for another year.
A proposal to increase certain fees the Secretary of State can collect failed to pass in the state House Thursday. House Bill 430 sponsored by state Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, got a favorable vote — 48 to 35 — but failed to meet the 53 vote majority to advance out of the House. The law would have authorized the Secretary of State to raise fees for filing and recording articles of incorporation for businesses from $60 to $75 among other fee increases.
An 82-year-old Jennings woman jumped to her death off the U.S. 90 Mermentau River Bridge Thursday morning. Deputies recovered the body of Irene Jeanise a short time later.