News for Monday 050613
By Dave Graichen
All tax items on the Saturday ballot here in Rapides Parish all easily passed with over 70% of the vote. The 9.60 Mil 15 year Sherriff’s tax renewal. Pineville School Dist. No. 52 -- 7.41 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs. And Big Island Sch. Dist. Number 50 -- 6.36 Mills - SB - 10 Yrs. Race for Justice of the Peace Ward 4, Patricia "Pat" Paul won with close to 53% of the vote.
Boise Incorporated will invest 111-million dollars to upgrade its paper mill in Deridder. The governor's office says the expansion will retain 440 existing jobs and create 54 new direct jobs. Deridder Mayor Ron Roberts says Boise plans to convert an old newsprint machine, so that it will be able to produce cardboard for
packaging. Roberts says Boise's investment, which will also create an estimated
600 construction jobs, is the biggest ever by a private employer in Beauregard Parish.
The man who escaped from the Natchitoches Detention Center Thursday was captured by US Marshals Friday evening. 29-year-old Derrick Evans was a trustee serving time for attempted manslaughter when he turned up missing while working at the jail's farm. Authorities say Evans was discovered in Jackson, Mississippi so he now sits in a jail there until he can be extradited back to Louisiana.
Discussions on the proposed state budget continued over the weekend and more details could be released today. Lake Charles Representative Brett Geymann says the state House wants to vote on a spending plan that has bipartisan support and prevents the midyear budget cuts that have occurred during the Jindal administration. Geymann says their budget proposal will call for spending cuts, while also suspending certain tax exemptions.
The 2013 legislative session has reached the halfway point. Council for a Better of Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the session started with a discussion on phasing out the state income tax. But Erwin says that idea was quickly shot down, so the focus in the Louisiana House has been on the proposed budget for next fiscal year. As far as other legislation goes, not one bill has passed the entire legislative process during the first 4 weeks of the session.
Legislation that would protect parents from FALSE child abuse claims will be debated on the Senate floor today. Jennings Senator Blade Moorish says he decided to file this bill after an innocent Iota family was investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services in the death of their baby. Moorish says Amanda and Jerry Spaetgens' baby died of SIDS, but since one doctor reported suspected abuse, DCFS protocol removed the other children from the home while they conducted an investigation. Moorish says his bill would establish a "level of risk" that DCFS would use when determining abuse.
The House Way & Means Committee is scheduled today to debate a proposal to help state road and bridge funding keep pace with inflation. Ken Perret, with the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association, says the bill would index the state's 20 cent gasoline tax – dedicated to highways - to the Consumer Price Index. The state has a multi-billion dollar backlog of road and bridge repair and replacement projects, with too little cash to get them started. Perret says - if passed - House Bill 675, sponsored by Plaquemine Rep. Karen St. Germain, would likely raise the gas tax by just under a penny in its first year. The governor has said he will veto any bill that would raise taxes.
Third ranked LSU has another nice winning streak going as they head into the final two weeks of the regular season. The Tigers rebounded from a series loss to South Carolina by sweeping Florida this past weekend. The Fighting Tigers will get back on the diamond Thursday night when they begin a three-game series at Texas A-and-M.