News for Thursday 053013
By Dave Graichen
The Senate Finance Committee has approved House Bill 1, the state budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. However, as in past years, the committee restored about $350-million that was cut in the House. There is just one week left for the Senate to pass it, and for the House to concur on Senate changes.
A vote by residents to allow the sale of alcohol in restaurants in the city of Pineville is one hurdle away from reality. Senate Bill 116 passed the House of Representatives by a 87-6 vote earlier this week, after passing out the Senate on a 24-0 vote. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Hurricane season doesn't even officially start until June but Forecasters are already tracking Tropical Depression 2-E in the Pacific Ocean. Computer models show the system could enter the southwestern part of the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week. However they doubt it will develop into anything more but if it
should they predict it will move toward South Florida rather than Louisiana.
A mother and her two toddler sons are dead after a early morning apartment fire in Lake Charles. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it will take time to
determine the cause of the apartment blaze yesterday morning. But, preliminary indications show there were no working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.
State Police say the woman who crashed head-on into oncoming traffic in St. Charles parish Sunday - killing three people - was driving while drunk. Though they haven't released 40-year-old Jennifer Englade's blood alcohol level, they say it was above the legal limit. Englade in still being treated for her injuries in the crash. Englade has three prior DWI convictions.
The state Department of Education says student participation in Advanced Placement college prep courses was up 33% for this school year. Education Superintendent John White says over 23-thousand were enrolled this year, up from about 17-thousand the previous year. Advanced Placement courses offer students the chance to earn college credit while still in high school.
LSU Football Coach Les Miles is scheduled to raffle off a 24-story building in downtown Baton Rouge today in an effort to raise adoption awareness. Miles is one of several local celebrities and elected officials who will participate in the "Over the Edge for Adoption" challenge.
The House has passed a bill to reduce sentences for those convicted of simple possession of marijuana. The bill is sponsored by New Orleans Rep. Austin Badon, who says the intent is to spend less taxpayer money feeding and housing prison inmates who've committed no violent crime. Badon's bill passed by a vote of 54 yeas to 38 nays. 13 House members did not vote. It goes next to a senate committee, with just one week left in the session.
Louisiana's judges and sheriffs will get a pay raise as a result of a bill that's moving closer to final legislative passage. The measure would give Supreme Court justices a five-point-five percent pay increase on July 1st. Appeal Court judges, district court judges and sheriffs will see their pay go up four-percent.
The New Orleans Saints are still silent on the DWI arrest of wide receiver Joe Morgan over the weekend. State Police say they found him on the side of a Jefferson Parish expressway early Saturday, with a flat tire and asleep behind the wheel. Troopers say his blood alcohol level was nearly three-times the legal limit.
Louisiana ranks at the bottom of another list for healthcare, this time for the growing senior population. The United Health Foundation's inaugural Senior Report ranks the Pelican State 48th. Dr. Rhonda Randall, senior advisor with the United Health Foundation, says there are several key reasons why Louisiana ranks
so low, including a high number of seniors who live in poverty, a high prevalence of seniors who smoke and of course the big “O”, obesity.
Alexandria Police say they busted the ice cream man for possessing pot. Officers say the driver of the ice cream van failed to signal a turn and was mighty nervous about being stopped. They found a small amount of weed in his possession and took him to jail.
Police in Ponchatoula, in Tangipahoa Parish, say they've made an arrest in the city's first murder in over 5 years. Authorities say robbery appears to be have been the motive.
A 12-year-old boy has been arrested for making a bomb threat earlier this month at a Lafayette middle school. The threatening message was scrawled on a restroom wall. The school was evacuated; no bomb found. The child has been released to his parents' custody and removed from the school.
A constitutional challenge to a state law that makes it a felony for non-citizens to drive without proof they are legally in the United States has attracted the attention of three national civil rights groups and four foreign governments. At issue is Louisiana’s “operating a vehicle without lawful presence” statute, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
People who donate money to public schools may soon be eligible for a tax break after a vote by the state House of Representatives Wednesday. House Bill 324 would authorize a tax rebate of up to 75 percent of the donation given to a public school. The law requires that the donations be used by the school for purchasing instructional materials, maintaining tutorial and in-school child care programs and for school-based health clinics. The bill passed on a 61-34 vote. It heads to the Senate next for further consideration.
A bill that would provide an income tax break for certain taxpayers making less than $50,000 per year failed by a large margin in the state House of Representatives Wednesday. House Bill 699, sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, would provide an overtime wages tax credit up to $500. On the House floor, Wednesday, Thompson said the bill was his way of helping people who make less than $50,000 keep more of their money. The bill failed on a 26-71 vote.
The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office is searching for three suspects in the theft of about $1 million in copper wire from a Frierson company. The thefts happened in six separate incidents from the Trinidad Drilling Co. DeSoto Parish Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that result in the suspects’ arrests. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers or contact the Desoto Parish Sheriff's Office