News for Friday 051713
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal declares a state of emergency in response to potential flooding along the Mississippi River. Flood warnings are posted along the river from Arkansas City, Arkansas to Baton Rouge. The National Weather Service says the main flooding concern is with those areas not protected by the main levee system.
State senators cracked open the Louisiana House’s version of the nearly $25 billion state spending plan Thursday and immediately raised questions. Members of the state Senate Finance Committee focused their concerns on a planned tax amnesty program, severance tax adjustments and the TOPS program. State Sen. Fred Mills characterized one piece of the plan that the House advanced as almost looking like a pay day loan, referring to a transaction in which someone gets immediate cash but eventually loses money on the deal. The committee will continue to look at the budget today.
Legislation prohibiting future teacher union employees from receiving state retirement benefits cleared the Louisiana House Thursday after fierce debate. House Bill 727 would not allow employees hired after Sept. 1 to belong to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana. State Rep. Herbert Dixon, D-Alexandria, denounced the proposal as a union busting measure. The House voted 57-40 in favor of the legislation, which now moves to the state Senate.
A bit of a scare yesterday in Alexandria. Police blocked off the streets surrounding the courthouse at about 10:20 a.m. after a suspicious package was found. Just after 2 p.m., Louisiana State Police bomb technicians and FBI agents determined what was in it. Police retrieved some electric hair clippers and two pocketknives. Sheriff William Hilton said in a news release. "In this day and time, you can never be too careful when something like this is found, especially in light of recent events.
One day after rejecting a public school $3.5 billion spending plan, lawmakers said Thursday, they will consider a slightly different version submitted by the BESE board.
The panel on Wednesday rejected BESE’s initial proposal in light of last week’s ruling by the state Supreme Court, which struck down how the state financed school vouchers. The money was first planned to come from the $3.5 billion. But later in the day BESE officials said the rejected proposal inadvertently included language never considered by the board. The corrected version included language aimed at keeping the resolution intact if the court tossed out the voucher funding method, which it did.
Lawmakers have given final legislative passage to a bill requiring public schools to formulate a crisis response plan with local lawmen, and rehearse that plan at least once a year. The bill, received no opposing votes on the Senate floor today. It's now headed to Governor Jindal's office, where he can either sign it, veto it or allow it to take effect without his signature.
Lafayette Republican Charles Boustany will be involved in a Congressional hearing today looking into the allegations that Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Boustany says those responsible may have committed civil rights violations. Boustany is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is holding today's hearing. Steven Miller, who resigned earlier this week as acting IRS Commissioner, is scheduled to testify.
There were no big winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing so the estimated jackpot climbs to an estimated $550 million which is the 2nd largest of all time. The next Powerball drawing is Saturday night.. By the way, The Mega Millions drawing for tonight is also up there.. it’s at $190 million.
Louisiana State Police say a teenager who was not buckled up died in a Calcasieu Parish crash Thursday morning. Three teenage girls were in a car that allegedly ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle. All three teenagers were unrestrained in the crash. One died from her injuries, the other two are in critical condition.
New Orleans Police have arrested the brother of the man accused of opening fire on a crowd of people on Mother's Day, for his part in the shooting spree. Akein Scott was arrested Wednesday for 20 counts of attempted murder. His bail set at $10-million. Yesterday, the NOPD says brother Sean Scott will face the same charges. Four others have been arrested as well for harboring the suspects. Scott allegedly shot and
injured 20 people Sunday; three are still in critical condition.
The ban on social networking while driving bill passes 94-0 on the House Floor. The bill by Livingston Senator Dale Erdy would prohibiting drivers from using sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle.
The bill has to go back to the Senate for final passage.
A computer issue recently resulted in the disclosure of personal health information about 8,330 LSU Health Shreveport patients. Spokeswoman Meg Willett describes the release as unintentional and says those affected patients are being informed via notification letters sent out Wednesday. "No Social Security numbers, birthdates or financial account numbers were disclosed; so officials do not believe any financial information has been compromised.
The LSU Baseballers won game one of their three game series against Ole Miss last night with a 7 to 1 victory. Game two is tonight at 6:30. Tomorrow’s game is at 11:30 in the morning..