News for Tuesday 110513
By Dave Graichen
A Legislative Auditor's report shows the Department of Health & Hospitals last year paid out nearly $2-million in Medicaid benefits to persons who were actually dead. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert wants taxpayers to know this was not a case of Medicaid Benefits being paid out fraudulently. She says the money was paid out to five Medicaid service providers and was based upon federal Social security data that had not been updated in some time. She says they will take steps to recoup the money.
Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway has given his endorsement to Vance McAllister in the race to fill the fifth district congressional seat. McAllister is in a runoff with State Senator Neil
Riser of Columbia. Holloway called McAllister a "sound conservative."
A republican state lawmaker, who was considering a campaign for U-S Senate next year, has changed his mind and instead endorsed Congressman Bill Cassidy to go up against Mary Landrieu. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh told the Louisiana Radio Network in
September that he questioned whether Cassidy was a true conservative. Now he says his opinion is changed after watching how he handled debate during the government shutdown. The Shreveport lawmaker is calling on other GOP members to unite behind Cassidy.
The White House confirms President Barack Obama will be visiting New Orleans on Friday to discuss the importance of increasing exports from the Port of New Orleans to create jobs and boost the economy. Governor Bobby Jindal has reissued his invitation to the President to visit with parents and students participating in the state's scholarship program while he's here and discuss the DOJ's opposition to the vouchers.
There's a growing sentiment among lawmakers that they shouldn't be allowed to hand out Tulane scholarships and LSU Board of Supervisors should be banned from awarding LSU scholarships. State legislators can each award one Tulane scholarship a year and in exchange Tulane doesn't have to pay sales tax. Richard plans to file a bill for the 2014 session that would prohibit LSU board of supervisors members from giving away scholarships to the state's flagship university. Some lawmakers have reportedly given their award to relatives of other politicians. Richard says it's time to completely do away with these programs.
Senator David Vitter says state leaders haven't done enough to pursue those who committed food stamp fraud last month, when the food stamp card system crashed. The October 14th glitch triggered a run of food cardholders on two Wal-Marts - cleaning out their shelves - when the cards showed no credit limits. Vitter says there's been no consequence. Vitter has urged Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the Department of Children & Family Services to investigate and prosecute those who
defrauded the food benefit card system, by purchasing well beyond what they knew their card limits were. Vitter says Caldwell and DCFS have deferred to the US Dept. of Agriculture, which runs the program.
State lawmakers voiced their concerns to education leaders about the tougher standards that are being implemented in public schools. The standards are called Common Core and during a legislative hearing yesterday, Metairie Representative Cameron Henry told BESE President Chas Roemer, parents are not sold that Common Core is best for their kids. Other lawmakers said the state is not providing enough guidance or funding to help school districts implement common core. State
Superintendent of Education John White understands the concerns, but still believes the increased rigor in public schools will result in students who are more prepared for life after high school graduation. Representative Henry wasn't satisfied with the answers from White and Roemer. The republican lawmaker says he'll file legislation that could lead to big changes to common core.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says they responded to an area hospital Saturday night where a man claimed he was attacked then set on fire allegedly by 5 teenagers. Investigators say the 37-year-old victim reported the teens stole a small amount of money from him and a lighter before beating him unconscious. Apparently the man awoke to find his pants on fire which he was able to put out and get help. The suspects remain at large.
The Houma Police Department says a 13-year-old boy faces negligent homicide charges after an ATV he was driving flipped and killed one of the five occupants. Investigators report the ATV was going at a high rate of speed when it flipped. A 14-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the
scene. The owner of the ATV was issued a summons for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and allowing a minor to drive.
According to the American Automobile Association says the gas price continues to drop almost every day. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.05.
A Baton Rouge Police officer is recovering from wounds received over the weekend, when he was attacked from behind, beaten and kicked by three 17-year-olds. The off-duty officer was working security at a Chili's restaurant, and was dealing with a female customer asked to leave the restaurant for using loud, filthy language...when the other three jumped him. Security video helped identify the trio, who have all been arrested.
Officials with the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair says they'll look into stiffer security measures, after a fatal shooting this past weekend. 18-year-old Keithdrick Pier faces 2nd degree murder for the killing of 20-year-old Darrius Scott. Officials says next year will likely see metal detectors and restrictions on minors unaccompanied by an adult.