News for Tuesday 050614
By Dave Graichen
State lawmakers are concerned about Governor Bobby Jindal's plans to privatize state-owned hospitals now that the federal government has rejected the financing plans. The Jindal administration learned on Friday that the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will not approve of the financing plans. But Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the state will appeal the decision. Nichols says if they are not successful on appeal, then it will result in the state owing the federal government 200 million dollars, because federal money is a part of the financing deals. These public-private partnerships are already in place for 8 hospitals within the LSU hospital system.
A measure that would allow judges to grant an immediate divorce in cases where a spouse or child is a victim of domestic abuse is approved by the House Civil Law committee. The bill, which has already passed the Senate. It now heads to the House floor.
Another bill that attempts to weaken Common Core fails in the legislature. A House committee shot down a proposal to require approval of the new Common Core test called, PARCC. State Superintendent of Education John White voiced opposition. Common Core represents new academic standards in reading, writing, and math that Louisiana and 42 other states have adopted.
National Tourism Week is this week and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is touring the state to celebrate. He'll be hosting events throughout his travels. The tour started in Monroe yesterday, and will hit Ruston, Shreveport, Avery Island, Hammond and more before it wraps up Thursday. Dardenne wants to encourage Louisianans to appreciate tourism and the impact it has on the state. Tourism is a $10.8 billion industry in Louisiana and the state is coming off a record setting year.
Governor Jindal was in Avondale Monday to announce that the IndyCar Racing Series has agreed to come to the New Orleans Motorsports Park in 2015. The park will have to complete $4.5 million in improvements to the course. Jindal will need state Legislative approval for the money, which will be combined with private funds.
There's a potential "Duck Dynasty" connection to the 5th Congressional District Election this fall to replace Vance McAllister. According to the Monroe News Star, Zach Dasher a
Calhoun pharmaceutical rep with "Duck Dynasty" ties may throw his hat into the ring. Willie Robertson has already stated that he is trying to convince Dasher to run.
There's was another elementary school gun discovery Monday. Police responded to a call from Westdale Heights Elementary School in Baton Rouge, where they discovered an unloaded .25 caliber handgun on the floor of a fifth-grade class-room. After questioning students, authorities are still unclear where the gun came from.
Nursing homes and hospitals have proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot seeking protection from the state budget axe. But the Louisiana Senate on Monday killed a proposed constitutional change aimed at providing the same type protection for services for the elderly, disabled and dying. The Senate voted 13-25 against the measure by state Sen. Fred Mills, R-St. Martinville. Senate Bill 355 fell 13 votes shy of the two-thirds majority in the 39 member Senate to advance.
According to a release from the office of Governor Bobby Jindal, Site Selection magazine named IBM's new technology center in Baton Rouge as one of its Top North American Deals of 2013. The statement also indicates the publication ranked the Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and New Orleans regional economic development groups among the top 11 in the nation.
A bill forcing the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to use 3rd-party arbitration to hear player eligibility issues is closer to final legislative passage. The LHSAA is prohibiting an Episcopal
student from playing football this fall because he is too old. Athletic Director Myra Mansur feels a non-partisan arbitrator should hear his case. The LHSAA rule states that if you turn 19 before September 1st, you cannot play varsity sports the following school year. Executive Director Kenny Henderson said to the House committee that the 19-year-old in question is not the first kid who's had a tough life and was not allowed to play under this rule. He says rules are rules. It now heads to the full House for further consideration.
The park program in Baton Rouge known as BREC says one of their employees is fired after he was arrested for allegedly stealing about 4,320 rolls of toilet paper from the company. BRPD busted 44-year-old Cordell Curtis who BREC says was a warehouse manager. He was booked with felony theft.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says, sadly, the two whooping crane eggs that were produced this spring were not fertile and they will not hatch. But spokesman Bo Boehringer says it's not all bad news. He says it's a good sign that the endangered whooping cranes from the LDWF experimental population are mating.
Fox Sports reports, Former LSU football players Zach Mettenberger and Anthony Johnson had their drug tests flagged at the NFL combine monday. Mettenberger had a diluted sample, which constitutes a failed drug test. Johnson, failed his test outright. No traces of illegal or banned substances were found in Mettenberger’s sample.