News for Tuesday 050713
By Dave Graichen
The House Ways and Means committee advances several bills to the House floor that limit the amount of tax breaks Louisiana doles out. These measures will be used in a budget deal House members are working to approve later this week. One bill heading to the House floor will cut tax credit programs by 5-percent, raising state
revenues by an estimated 47-million dollars. Governor Jindal held a press conference after the committee meeting say what the state reps were doing was sneaky and he believes all they want to do is raise taxes.
An audit on Louisiana's food stamps program shows about two-million dollars in benefits went to ineligible residents, including prisoners. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says one-point-one million dollars in food stamp benefits went to over 17-hundred incarcerated participants during fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The audit also shows that about 300 participants spent 100-percent of their benefits at a single retailer. Purpera says it's an indication the food stamp recipient used their benefit card to possibly by liquor or tobacco. Something not allowed under the program.
The House has passed a bill that will exempt Louisiana-based gun manufacturers from federal gun regulations. The bill, by Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto, provides for a license for in-state made firearms and that the making and selling of said guns is not subject to federal laws. The measure passed by a wide margin.
A House bill that would loosen restrictions on who can carry a gun into a restaurant that sells alcohol will be heard in a Senate committee today. The legislation by Haughton representative Henry Burns was originally written to allow off-duty police officers into bars and restaurants. Burns believes his bill was amended to include ALL permit holders in a effort by opponents to kill it, but that backfired and it passed. It
also passed on the House Floor despite confusion over who the bill applied to.
In an effort to help traditional retailers and financially strapped state and local governments, the US Senate Monday passed a bill that would allow for the charging of state sales taxes on most purchases made over the internet. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 69-27, getting support from Republicans and Democrats alike. But opposition from some conservatives who view it as a tax increase will make it a tougher sell in the House. President Barack Obama has expressed his support.
Louisiana judges would no longer be subject to a mandatory age 70 retirement under a proposition endorsed Monday evening by the state Senate.The Senate voted 33-2 for a proposed constitutional amendment contained in Senate Bill 5 , which now moves to the House for debate. The proposition must receive a two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber before it goes to voters at the next statewide election which is in 2014.
Gas prices continue to slide in Louisiana. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.27 which is down a penny from yesterday. Some analysts from the American Automobile Association say it's very possible prices could be $3 a gallon by the time summer rolls around. A year ago at this time the price was $3.63.
A proposal to help state road and bridge funding keep pace with inflation was rejected in a House committee Monday. The bill would have indexed the gasoline tax to the Consumer Price Index.
A state audit shows that more than 44 percent of the Louisiana students who received scholarships from the state's TOPS program over a seven-year period had their awards canceled for one reason or another. The audit says the state spent $165 million in TOPS awards for the more than 42,000 students whose awards were eventually canceled. In response, TOPS administrators said more than 80 percent of money paid for TOPS awards went to students who completed the program. And they said most of the canceled awards were lost by students who failed to maintain enough credit hours but still had good grades.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's office is investigating the death of a 3-year-old child. Capt Ryan Turner says no charges have been filed in the death of the child because cause of death has not yet been determined. However he says they did arrest the four adults that were in the home that day after drugs were found during the investigation.
A 16-year Baton Rouge boy was killed when the car he was a passenger in ran off I-10 in Ascension Parish and crashed into a line of trees. The non-licensed 16-year-old driver and two other passengers in the vehicle were wearing seatbelts at the time of the wreck and suffered only minor injuries. An investigation continues.
Legislation that would prohibit drivers from posting on their Facebook or tweeting while driving moves one step closer to final legislative approval. Livingston Senator Dale Erdey says his bill calls for a fine of up to 175-dollars for the first offense,
500-dollars for subsequent violations. The bill now heads to the House Floor, it's already been approved by the Senate.