KSYL Local News

News For Thursday 05/09/13


News for Thursday 050913

By Dave Graichen

 

The Louisiana House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on a  24-billion dollar budget for next fiscal year. Many lawmakers do not like the governor's budget because of the  use of one-time dollars, but insiders say the votes are not there for an alternative  plan that would reduce state tax credits as a way to raise revenues. A group of republican lawmakers known as "fiscal hawks" were working  with democrats on a proposed budget that the Jindal administration  criticized as a tax increase on businesses. But that  plan fell apart when the governor put pressure on republican legislators.

 

Senator David Vitter has introduced legislation to end the free cell  phone program for the poor. The Senator says the  Lifeline Program, introduced in 1984, was originally about expanding  land line phone service to rural areas and low income households--at a  relatively low cost to taxpayers. But, the Lifeline Program has somehow become a dispensary of free  cell phones that currently costs taxpayers over $2-billion a year.

 

According to a new survey, Louisiana is the second best state in the nation to retire. The  study  by  Bankrate.com says besides jazz and beignets, our state offers retirees  an excellent combination of low taxes and balmy weather. Analyst Chris  Kahn  says  people  like  to retire in places where it's warm. Kahn  says popular places with warm weather, beaches and other major attractions  are  great  places  to  visit, but they don't make good places to retire due to overall tax rates and high cost of living.

 

The  House  Health  and Welfare Committee has approved a bill to tap into federal dollars  available  to expand Medicaid coverage to more of Louisiana's working poor. Testifying  before  the  panel,  former state  Health  and  Hospitals  Secretary  David  Hood says the state should take the federal money. Also testifying on the bill, acting Health and Hospitals  head Kathy Kliebert   who   says   the   expansion   will   eventually   become unsustainable. The  Jindal Administration has resisted the Medicaid expansion.  The committee passed the measure by a close 10-9 vote, sending it to the House floor.

 

A bill to increase student fees  at  LSU advances in House Education today. The bill by Baton Rouge Representative  Franklin  Foil  would implement  a  $60  a  year  fee  to  go  towards  campus maintenance projects. If passed it would go into effect this fall  and could top out at $300 a year by fall of 2017. It now heads to the House floor.

 

A  USA  Today  report  shows  LSU's  athletic department took in 114 million dollars in revenues in 2012 which  is  the  seventh  highest figure  among  public universities. LSU Associate athletics director Herb Vincent says  the  report  is accurate and the study also shows LSU's athletic department is one of the few in the country that does not rely on subsidies. Ticket sales, contributions and right  licensing  help  make  up the

revenue  totals. Vincent says LSU expects to see its revenue numbers continue to  grow  with  the  launch of the SEC Television Network in August 2014.

 

The  House  has  passed West Monroe Rep.  Frank  Hoffman's  bill  to prohibit smoking within  25  feet  of state-owned buildings. Hoffman amended  his bill to make it apply only  to  office  buildings,  the Capitol and nothing else. Hoffman's legislation passed the House by 84-11 vote. It now goes to the Senate for committee review in that chamber.

 

A Senate committee has approved a House-passed bill that would place criminal  penalties  on  anyone  who  makes  public  information  on Louisiana's holders of concealed weapon carry permits. That bill now goes to the full Senate, where it will be up for final passage.

 

The  "I'm  a  Cajun"  license  plate  bill  has made it another step further.  The  legislation by State Senator Fred  Mills  that  would start offering the  specialty  plate passes the Senate and now heads to the House for further consideration.

 

An  Abbeville man has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the  death  of  his girlfriend's 3-month-old daughter. Police say 25-year-old  Shane  Jude  Vincent  was  arrested  without  incident. Vincent was also charged  with  tampering with evidence in the death of Jayla Broussard last November.

 

Federal regulators are investigating whether workers at the Shaw Modular Solutions facility in Lake Charles, which supplies parts to nuclear plants, broke quality control rules and falsified records. CB&I, which acquired the facility’s owner, Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, in February, said it is cooperating in the probe and has turned over all the requested documents.

 

The Louisiana House on Wednesday voted 99-0 to allow public high school students with disabilities to avoid taking the ACT and other standardized tests.

 

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite and sponsor of the plan, said the exclusion would apply to students who are not pursuing a high school diploma and who have an exceptionality listed in state law. The proposal does not cover gifted and talented students. The legislation, which next faces action in the state Senate, is the latest move aimed at revamping rules of the state Department of Education.

 

A state Senate-passed bill that would spell out details of a 2012 law to overhaul early childhood education in Louisiana cleared the House Education Committee on Wednesday. The measure, Senate Bill 130, next faces action on the Louisiana House floor. Last year’s law calls for early learning performance guidelines for those from zero to age 3 and academic standards for 3- and 4-year-olds. In addition, pre-kindergarten centers and schools will get letter grades, and state aid will be linked to how the centers perform. The changes take effect in the 2015-16 school year.

 

Sports..

 

The number three LSU baseball team is in College Station, Texas,  preparing for a three-game series that starts tonight against the Texas  A-and-M Aggies. Head coach Paul Mainieri says he's excited about the  opportunity to play on the road in a new environment and in front of a  raucous crowd. You can hear all three games of that series on 970 KSYL.

 

 

 

 

 

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