News for Thursday 060613
By Dave Graichen
This is it, the last day of the 2013 Legislative Session, And it appears the Louisiana House and state Senate officials have reached a preliminary agreement on the state budget that begins on July 1st. Word is, the deal was struck shortly after the chambers adjourned for the night. A final deal will not be completed until the various caucuses and factions have an opportunity to tell their members.
We have our first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season. Tropical Storm Andrea is located in the east-central Gulf. It's forecast track should take it northeast into Florida. We could be seeing some related rain from Andrea though.
Gov. Bobby Jindal will allow Louisiana’s public colleges to raise new fees on their students, charges that will produce an estimated $18 million annually for campuses. The Legislative Fiscal Office said the building fee would generate $4.7 million for the LSU System each year, $7.2 million for the University of Louisiana System, $700,000 for the Southern University System and $4.9 million for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
The Louisiana Senate on Wednesday refused to take up House-passed legislation that would reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana. A two-thirds vote was required in order to bring House Bill 103 up for debate as the 2013 session winds down. The Senate voted 22-10 to allow the measure to be heard but it was four votes short of the super majority.
The Louisiana House made a failed stab Wednesday at reviving a proposal to eliminate the mandatory retirement age for judges. Senate Bill 5 is a constitutional amendment that needs the approval of two thirds of the Legislature to go before voters. In the House, the bill needs 70 votes. The amendment would ensure that judges no longer are required to retire when they turn age 70. The House vote was 59-29 in favor of the bill, not enough for passage.
Members of the LSU and Southern University system governing boards will have to disclose which students receive scholarships from them, if Gov. Bobby Jindal agrees to a bill that received final passage Wednesday. Senate Bill 31 requires the boards to post the list of its scholarship recipients annually on their websites and to provide a list to the Louisiana Legislature. The list will have to include the name of each recipient, the board member who gave the scholarship and the annual dollar value of the award. Refusal to submit the information would suspend board members’ ability to give scholarships. The bill passed both house unanimously.
A bid to let Louisiana driver’s licenses comply with federal law requiring each state to create a national identification card for air travel, including domestic flights, has stalled in the state Senate. Officials with the state motor vehicles department have said that if the state doesn’t comply with the federal Real ID law, residents will need passports to fly starting in October.
The Lafayette Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a suspect involved in a shooting in the city early Wednesday morning. They say two suspects in masks forcefully entered a home around 2:50am and once inside exchanged gunfire with the resident. One suspect was killed by the home owner and the other fled in a getaway car and remains at large. The homeowner was later arrested on drug charges. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is launching a program that will collect oyster shells from New Orleans area restaurants and use them to improve public oyster seed areas along the coast. It’s believed the oysters can serve as a foundation for reefs. A one-million dollar donation from Shell Oil Company makes this program possible.
The Assumption Parish sinkhole has grown again. This time nearly 500 feet of berm set up to help keep possible contaminants from leaking into other waterways, have now sunk. It's been almost a year since the now 15-acre sinkhole caused the evacuation of nearby residents in Bayou Corne.
LSU shortstop Alex Bregman was named Wednesday as the National
Freshman Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Bregman
has been invited to join Team USA this summer for its 33-game
international tour, which includes a trip to Japan.
The LHSAA Executive Committee is set to vote today on the biggest issue on their agenda, the split football championships. LHSAA President Todd Guice of Ouachita High says the debate has been over whether the playoffs for the private schools should have two divisions or up to five. The LHSAA president says the advantage of having five playoff divisions for select schools, is that schools of similar size will be play each other in the postseason.