KSYL Local News

News For Monday 03/31/14


News for Monday 033114

By Dave Graichen

 

Louisiana's unemployment rate fell  to  its  lowest  level since mid 2008  in  the  month  of February according to the US Department  of Labor. The state's unemployment  rate was 4.9 percent in  January and was 4.5 percent last month.

 

Today is the last day to sign-up for private health insurance plans  offered through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Blue  Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana spokesperson Robin Mayhall says the  federal government is not requiring the uninsured to purchase a plan by  the end of today, but start the process if you want coverage in 2014. The federal government reports there's been an increase in the last  week in the number of uninsured people signing up for coverage through

the Health Insurance Marketplace.

 

State  officials  announce that  the  Phelps  Correction  Center  in Dequincy will re-open.  The  state  closed  the facility in November 2012,  resulting  in  300  employees  losing  their  jobs  or  being

transferred to another prison. But the prison is  re-opening  and it will  house  about  three-hundred  adult  men,  who  are non-violent offenders that are within four years within their release date.

 

Today lawmakers will discuss legislation that would put regulations on  traffic cameras that issues tickets. New Orleans Representative Jeff  Arnold has filed bills in the past to put certain restrictions on the  cameras that can issue tickets, and one of the three bills before  committee today deals with issuing citations through the mail. House Bill 859 would require that automated traffic enforcement

systems use the standardized yellow light time. Arnold says studies  have shown that the best way to reduce accidents is to extend the  caution light time.

 

The House Commerce committee will hear legislation today that will  prohibit an employer or a school from asking for a person's log-in and  password information for their personal e-mail or social media page.  The bill by Baton Rouge Representative Ted James also states that an  employer can't fire someone if they don't give up that information.

 

On April 5th there are several local governments in Louisiana that  have tax measures on the ballot and voter turnout for that election  will likely be low. That's why state senator Bret Allain of Franklin (ah-Leh) has filed a constitutional amendment to require at least a  voter turnout of 20% before any tax measure would be implemented. Allain doesn't think it's right that very small percentages of people  show up at the polls then vote on a tax that will apply to everyone in their municipality.

 

After months of arguments outside the State Capitol, lawmakers are set to cast their first votes Wednesday on the future of the academic standards known as Common Core. In an unusual move, the House Education Committee will devote what may be a daylong hearing, and possibly more, strictly to the bills that would repeal or revamp the classroom goals, which were adopted by Louisiana and 44 other states.

 

A Boston-based hedge fund is threatening to shut down a major pipeline that provides natural gas to thousands in Louisiana and Mississippi. ArcLight Capital Partners is threatening to abandon the American Midstream Pipeline , which was built in the 1920, that runs from Ouachita Parish to as far south as East Baton Rouge Parish. It provides natural gas to Jonesville, Ferriday, Sicily Island, Vidalia, Slaughter and Clayton as well as Natchez, Miss. Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said the company is asking towns to pay $200 million to replace the line.

 

The Natchitoches Parish School Board says 13 people have applied for the position of school superintendent. The applicants are being vetted for minimum eligibility. Derwood Duke, superintendent in Natchitoches since 2009, announced in January that he would resign April 30.

The first round of interviews to determine finalists to become Duke’s successor will be April 8-10.

 

Louisiana State  Police  say  a  deputy  with  the  Richland  Parish Sheriff's office is under arrest for sexual battery and Malfeasance. They say 39-year-old Dewey Allen of Rayville committed battery  on a female without her consent while in his patrol unit. Bond is set  at $40,000  and Allen was terminated. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

 

The St. Helena  Parish Sheriff's office says a 6 month old baby died Thursday after drowning  when a vehicle rolled into a pond. They say the child was in the care of her grandparents who could not stop the car from sinking after it  fell  off  a 20 foot cliff into the water  while  the infant was strapped inside. First  responders  could  not reach the baby in time. The incident is under investigation.

 

This season's shrimp harvest so far has been smaller than normal and that  has  caused  prices  at  the  market  to  go up for consumers. Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry says most of the shrimp we eat is imported and there has been a decline  in  imported shrimp as well. It’s hoped prices will come down the closer we get to summer.

 

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