News for Friday 060713
By Dave Graichen
State lawmakers have, in the closing hours of the legislative session, passed a $25.4-Billion state budget. This averts the necessity for a special budget session as was feared by many, just a day ago. The Senate approved the compromised budget bill by a 38-1 vote. The House vote was unanimous. The budget deal includes a
$69-million increase in funding for local school districts, and small raise for school teachers. The budget deal has the approval of Governor Jindal. The Governor has already singed bills that change the way future budgets may be put together.
Public school teachers will see pay raises of about $500 under a budget compromise that won final approval less than an hour before adjournment Thursday, officials said.
The salary increase would stem from a surprising boost of $69 million in state aid to public schools, which was a key part of the late-session agreement on Louisiana’s $25.4 billion operating budget. Under the plan, half of the money would be used for certificated personnel, teachers and others, and the other 50 percent would be left to the discretion of local school districts.
The State Bond Commission signed off Thursday on a refinancing of Louisiana’s tobacco settlement bonds that will take advantage of low interest rates and generate more than $60 million to plug into next year’s budget. The dollars were included in the 2013-14 budget under negotiation by lawmakers to help pay for the state’s free college tuition program called TOPS, so passage was needed to keep the $25 billion spending plan in balance. The state will save an estimated $144 million over three years.
The congressional fight to avoid potentially skyrocketing flood insurance rate increases in Louisiana and elsewhere made its first tangible gains Thursday. The U.S. House approved legislation that would delay the rate hikes on “grandfathered” properties by a year. Nearly 500,000 people in Louisiana participate in the NFIP. The program has been in financial distress with a loss of more than $20 billion, largely due to payments made after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
To celebrate National Get Outdoors Day, the U.S. Forest Service will waive most recreation use fees such as day-use areas that include picnic sites, swimming and boating sites in Kisatchie National Forest on Saturday. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says this weekend is a free for all fishing weekend for Louisiana citizens and visitors. Spokesman Bo Boehringer says that means you can recreationally fish in fresh or salt water without a fishing license. -- June 8th and 9th.
He says they use this weekend as a recruitment tool in hopes to inspire Louisiana's youth to make fishing a lifelong hobby
A 29-year-old Kenner man has been arrested in the kidnapping and rape of a 7-year-old girl in Metairie. Deputies say the girl was kidnapped Wednesday afternoon by a man who entered through a broken gate at her apartment complex. Overnight, they caught up with David Carter, who will face charges of aggravated kidnapping of a child and aggravated rape.
Southwest Louisiana will be the place to win championships for high school athletes over the next two years. The LHSAA awarded Lake Charles' Burton Coliseum as the host site for the girls and boys Top 28 basketball tournament. All seven baseball state championship games will also be played in southwest Louisiana as the games will be played at Sulphur's McMurray Park.
The House bill aimed at protecting the privacy of Louisiana's concealed weapon permit holders has won final legislative passage. The bill imposes fines of up to $10-thousand on anyone who releases or publishes the confidential information about who has or has applied for a CWP. He says Governor Jindal supported the legislation
and is expected to give it his signature.
Governor Jindal has officially named Timothy Barfield the Secretary of Revenue. Barfield has pretty much run the department ever since the departure of Cynthia Bridges last year. Barfield will be compensated at around $250-thousand a year; twice what Bridges was paid. Barfield officially takes the title July 1st. He's also served
as executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission during The Governor’s 1st term.
LSU will face one of the top pitchers in the country in Game 1 of their super regional series with Oklahoma. Tigers right-hander Aaron Nola will oppose Sooner righty Jonathan Gray. Game 1 of the best of 3 Super Regional Series starts on tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday if necessary at 5:30p.