News for Monday 050514
By Dave Graichen
A 6-mill tax to improve recreation and provide more financial stability for the Alexandria Zoo earned voter approval Saturday. Winning approval with 58.7 percent of the vote. Also on Saturday, Rapides Parish voters approved a 2.06-mill, 10-year tax continuation for Renaissance Home. 7 other Millage taxes were approved in the parish as well.
A decision by federal officials to reject Gov. Bobby Jindal’s financing plans for the privatization of six state-owned hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured threatens deals that already have been used to turn over hospital management and could create upheaval in the state’s operating budget. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agreements don’t meet federal guidelines governing how Medicaid dollars can be spent. The rejections involved plans for LSU-run hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe. The decision to reject the deals didn’t cover the agreement that allowed two Alexandria hospitals to take over services of Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville because that deal has not been fully completed.
If you had an opportunity outside of Louisiana, would you take it and leave? According to a recent Gallup poll, 40% of residents in The Bayou State say they would move out of the state if they could. The Gallup report indicated that because of high poverty rates, some people who live in Louisiana feel like they're stuck. According to Gallup, Louisiana is above average when it comes to the percentage of residents who want to live in another state. The top reasons for leaving was work or business related, then family/friends, quality of life and cost of living.
According to the American Automobile Association, we should see some relief at the gas pump in the near future. Refinery production is increasing and that should help the price of gas. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says gas prices peaked in April of this year. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular dropped 2 cents in 2 days and stands at $3.47.
A Baton Rouge senator has revised his bill that would revamp the way Louisiana legislators award Tulane University scholarships. The program that allows Louisiana legislators to pick who receives the valuable scholarships has been the subject of much-publicized reports that the recipients often have been people with political connections. The Louisiana Senate could take up the bill as early as Monday.
A 12-year-old boy is in jail today after he allegedly fired three gunshots at a school bus that was full of children that attended Kenilworth Science and Technology Center in Baton Rouge. BRPD says the child had apparently gotten into a fight with another student on the bus then got off, walked into a residence to get a gun then shot and struck the bus three times. He is booked on many charges including 6 counts of attempted first degree murder.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month urging drivers to be extra cautious of motorcycles while traveling on roadways. Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says over the past 10 years, 83 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in Louisiana. Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of motorcycle accidents and found motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in crash.
A state Senate bill could have a serious impact on high school athletics. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor's measure would essentially require groups like the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to use third party arbitration to settle player eligibility disputes. President Todd Guice believes in the process that is in place and the cost of third party arbitration would be too great for the organization. Claitor's bill passed the Senate on a 21-to-17 vote and will be brought up in a House committee today.