News for Thursday 051514
By Dave Graichen
It's mid-May but believe it or not, Louisiana is experiencing yet another cold front. State climatologist Barry Keim says the cool weather blew through yesterday causing many of us in Sportsman's Paradise to break out the jackets a little over a month before summer. Keim says morning temperatures ranged from the 40s across northern parishes and 50s along the southern half of the state. He says we can expect daily minimum temperature records to fall all across the state today and tomorrow.
The House has approved legislation the will lead to the closure of Huey P. Long hospital in Pineville. The move will force patients who use Huey P. Long to receive medical care at two nearby private hospitals as part of Governor Bobby Jindal's privatization plan. Marksville Representative Robert Johnson says the proposal will make it difficult for some to receive affordable health care. But Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says citizens will have plenty of options to obtain the health care they need. The House voted 65-29 to shut down Huey P. Long.
A bill that would mandate sex education in public schools was killed Wednesday by the House Education Committee. The vote was three in favor and 10 opposed. State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pleaded with the panel to approve her bill to help combat Louisiana’s high rate of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents questioned the need for the proposal.
Today is the final day for Louisianans to file their individual state income tax returns for 2013. LA-Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson says the majority of taxpayers have already done their state returns likely when they did their federal, but many still have not. Henderson says if you need more time to prepare your Louisiana taxes, you must at least file an extension by midnight tonight.
Legislation that requires abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility receives overwhelming support in the state Senate. The requirement is
similar to what Texas recently passed. Supporters say it will make sure abortion patients receive proper care if something goes wrong during or after the procedure. But pro-choice organizations say it closes three of the states five abortion clinics. the bill, now heads back to the House floor for final legislative passage.
Governor Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are on the rise. A poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research shows the Governor's positive job performance rating is at 48%. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says to appreciate that, you need to look back to the Spring of 2013 when Jindal's approval rating was at an all-time low of 38-percent. However, Jindal's negative rating remains slightly above his
positive at 51%. Jindal's positive rating has not exceeded his negative rating since September 2012.
Lawmakers have decided to raise the retirement age for public school teachers and rank and file state workers who are hired on or after July 1st, 2015. Currently those state workers can retire at the age of 60 with five years of service. The legislation that now heads to Jindal's desk would move that to 62 starting next summer.
Optometrists got another win yesterday as a Senate panel agreed they should be allowed to perform certain surgeries. HB 1065 has already cleared the House and now heads to the Senate floor. Representative Rogers Pope says the bill does not require people to do anything and
they could still go anywhere they wanted to get eye treatment. In opposition is Pamala Williams, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Baton Rouge. She says 90% of people polled in Louisiana say they
have the eye care they need available to them. In spite of the opposition, the bill advanced 7-to-1.
With the beginning of hurricane season just around the corner, another below average prediction has been released. Accuweather.com predicts 10 named tropical storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for the Atlantic Basin this year. Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski says however, you shouldn't let down your guard because of the low numbers. It is expected that the onset of El Nino will increase wind shear and suppress the development of tropical activity this year.
The state Senate tackled the politically charged issue of payday loans Wednesday night, spurning attempts to create databases and to limit borrowing. Debate on House Bill 766 triggered a flurry of amendments as legislators made one last effort to put limits on an industry that makes thousands of small loans each year in Louisiana. Each effort died, although not quietly. On a 28-10 vote, the Senate returned HB766 to the House for concurrence on minor changes. The measure would force online lenders to play by the same rules as lenders with brick-and-mortar locations in Louisiana, making them subject to state regulations.
A 27-year old Eunice man has been charged with third offense DWI after crashing into the back of a school bus in Allen Parish that injured two children and the bus driver. Dustin McGowen ran his pickup truck into the rear of the school bus that was lawfully stopped to drop off children Tuesday. The injured were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
A Central Lafourche High School student is in custody after making threats to set off a bomb at the school Wednesday. The school was placed on lockdown for a short time. The student has admitted to sending emails about the threat, but detectives deemed the threat to not be credible.