News For Thursday 04/17/14
News for Thursday 041714
By Dave Graichen
Members of the House Criminal Justice committee shot down a proposal to allow some teachers and administrators to carry a gun on school campuses. The legislation is by Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo who says he's just trying to make criminals think twice before going on a killing spree at a school. But he recognized there was lots of opposition to the bill so he voluntarily deferred.
Speaking of guns, legislators won't be allowed to carry them around while they work at the Capitol either. The discussion was quite heated on the Senate Floor as both sides argued about Senate Bill 651 that would allow lawmakers to carry guns at the Capitol. It ended up failing by a vote of 23-12.
Leah Gordon, the staff member of Congressman Vance McAllister who is accused of leaking the video of the congressman’s scandalous kiss, has resigned as his Monroe District Office manager.
Adam Terry, McAllister’s chief of staff, confirmed her resignation late Wednesday. He said Gordon wasn’t fired and went on to say they won’t terminate or discipline any employee until after an internal investigation of the security breach is complete.
It's been almost four years since the BP oil spill, and Wednesday it was announced that the "active" clean-up following the Deepwater Horizon disaster has come to an end. BP says that they will continue to be available should any more oil show up on the Louisiana coastline. (More than $14 billion dollars was spent in the clean-up effort)
Two bodies were found inside a vehicle that was on fire in Vermilion Parish. Sheriff's deputies made the gruesome discovery around 9 Thursday morning. Major Darryl LeBlanc, with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Department says it will take a while before they are able to get an ID on the victims. LeBlanc says the deaths are currently considered to be suspicious.
State Police say a man was fatally shot by law enforcement with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's office in order to stop him from attacking his 70-year-old mother.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputies say a fight between two step brothers resulted in one shooting and killing the other. The shooter claimed he was acting in self-defense.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe has been ranked by Business Insider Magazine as the most underrated college in Louisiana. There were 50 colleges along with ULM on the underrated list which had great academics, high acceptance rates and strong in-state populations…
A Louisiana House-passed measure that would ban use of photo speed enforcement devices on Louisiana’s interstate highways neared final legislative passage Wednesday. The Senate Transportation and Public Works Committee - without objection - sent House Bill 896 to the Senate floor for approval.
The House Education Committee approves a bill that gives public schools the authority to put up nativity scenes and Christmas trees as part of a holiday display. The author of the measure is Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh, who says it's the Merry Christmas bill. Seabaugh says he gets calls every year from public schools, asking if they can have a Christmas play or put up a Christmas tree. He says the Supreme Court has ruled that it's not a violation of church and state
and therefore he would like it written into state law.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has announced some additions to the LSU football schedules. The "home and home" series with Syracuse University will have the Tigers travel to the Carrier Dome in 2015, then a return to Tiger Stadium against the Orange in 2017.
News For Wednesday 04/16/14
News for Wednesday 041614
By Dave Graichen
It's been a rough ride for Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard, with many students and board members calling for his resignation recently. Tuesday the Board of Trustees announced their
plans to make him a President Emeritus and a tenured professor. Dr. Argile Smith, dean of the LC divinity school, was named interim president while the school searches for a replacement.
Embattled US Representative Vance McAllister will not make any public appearances this week, but he will return to work in Washington D-C when Congress returns from a two-week holiday recess. McAllister has not been seen publicly since video was made public that showed him kissing a staffer that was also married. In a written statement, his office said McAllister is with his wife and family for
the rest of the Easter recess.
A senate committee has approved legislation this Tuesday that would allow judges to sentence individuals convicted of heroin distribution or possession to 99 years in prison. The bill heads to
the Senate floor.
A bill that would take the unenforceable anti-sodomy law off Louisiana's books did not pass on the House floor Tuesday. The legislation by Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith only got 27
yes votes and needed 53 to pass. Anti-Sodomy laws were invalidated nationwide by the US Supreme Court in 2003
The Jindal Administration launches a campaign that encourages schools, businesses and restaurants to help Louisiana citizens live healthier. Jindal says it's called the "Well-Ahead Health Initiative" and those entities that choose to participate would be considered a "Well Spot" if they meet a certain amount of criteria set forth by the Department of Health and Hospitals.
A senate committee approves a bill to ban the use of drones to photograph people on private property without permission, but a couple of lawmakers have concerns. The measure contains several exceptions, including for law enforcement. Despite the concerns, the bill passed without objection and heads to the Senate floor.
As the legislative session continues in Baton Rouge today, the House Criminal Justice Committee is scheduled to hear a bill that would allow principals, and even teachers, to bring a gun on a school campus, if they have a concealed gun permit and have undergone required training.
A woman from Haughton and a male friend from Bossier City were arrested Monday night for conspiring to murder her husband this past weekend. Cassie Sims and Patrick Pierce were taken into custody for devising a plan to murder Sims' husband Sunday morning. Pierce and Sims admitted to detectives they developed the plan, however; while attempting to carry out the plot, the husband disarmed Pierce who then fled. Multiple charges have been filed. Bonds are
With today's check on gas prices, we're now paying 20 cents more for a gallon of regular than we were this time last month. The American Automobile Association says the price is $3.46 right now and jumped another penny last night.
State Superintendent of Education John White got a favorable review in his annual job evaluation, officials said Tuesday. The review was done by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Chas Roemer, president of the board, made the announcement after an hour-long, closed door meeting with White and the panel. The scores mean that, for the second year in a row, White is got the second highest of four ratings, effective/proficient. That is defined as meeting between 75 percent and 99 percent of the annual goals.
Fans of Bruce Springsteen slated to attend his show at Jazzfest this year will be getting a lot more bang for their buck. Officials with the fest announced Monday the E Street Band will now be getting a slot that's 2 hours and 45 minutes long.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gave some encouraging news today about Louisiana's Whooping Crane Population. A mating pair has produced eggs in the wild for the first time in seventy years. The eggs will be under observation by project biologists.
News For Tuesday 04/15/14
News for Tuesday 041514
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana College board of trustees is meeting on campus today to discuss among things the future of it’s president Dr. Joe Aguillard. The 34 members will decide if Aguillard will be removed or given a new contract. About 50 Louisiana College alumni, students, faculty and community members joined hands in prayer for the private Baptist school in Pineville on Monday, as well as looking for guidance with the board’s decision.
A spokesperson for Republican former congressman Rodney Alexander says that he does not intend to run for his old congressional seat, currently held by embattled congressman Vance McAllister. Robin Keller, Alexander's spokesperson says that Alexander has no interest in the 5th District seat. Alexander gave up the congressional seat last year to become Governor Jindal's veteran affairs secretary.
Chilly weather is back in the bayou state today as a result of that strong cold front that produced severe weather across the state yesterday. A damaging storm ripped though the town of Gautier (goh-SHAY) Mississippi last night toppling trees and destroyed or damaged up to 30 RV trailers at a local campground. State Climatologist Barry Keim says make sure you have a jacket with you today as highs will only be in the low 60s. Keim says the cold weather will last until tomorrow and there's a chance we can break some record lows tomorrow as temperatures will dip into the 30s for much of the state.
Today is tax day and there are millions of Americans who still haven't filed and are waiting till the last minute. The IRS says if you plan to file electronically, it must be done by midnight tonight. If you make less than $58,000 a year, you can log on to irs.gov and choose from 14 different commercial software companies and file your federal taxes for free. By the way, Three out of four filers get refunds and they are issued within 21 days for the most part.
In a survey of 600 likely voters in the 6th district congressional race, 52-percent said they would NOT vote for former governor Edwin Edwards. 31-percent said they would vote for him, while 17-percent are undecided. LSU Political Science Professor Kirby Goidel says the survey has 11-percent voting for Paul Dietzel and another 11-percent for state senator Dan Claitor. Goidel feels that Edwards is actually sitting in a strong position to at least make a runoff election .
A man who kidnapped a school bus driver in Baton Rouge at gunpoint surrendered to authorities after a stand-off that lasted for several hours. The BRPD SWAT team was called out to the house just a block away from an elementary school where 37 year old Jock Jones was holding the female bus driver hostage. He eventually gave himself up without incident.
A distracted driver texting on a cell phone crashed his car into the back of a Calcasieu Parish School Bus on Highway 171 Monday morning. One of the injuries was reportedly a child on the bus. Nineteen year-old Tyler Moses of Longville-who was also injured-was charged with texting while driving, careless operation, and failure to stop for a school bus.
The Lafayette Police Department says they have interviewed the two men who found the phone of a woman whose body was discovered in Girard Park early Sunday. The two are not considered persons of interest in the death of 21-year-old Alexandria Shelton of Lafayette. The cause of death of the woman has not yet been released, however police are now saying her death was not the result of a homicide. The investigation continues.
Former LSU linebacker Tahj Jones is recovering after a second surgery Sunday afternoon from a gunshot wound. Jones was shot in the abdomen late Friday night allegedly by another former LSU football player, Brandon Winey. Winey was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of second degree attempted murder.
A man who is suspected of being an armed robber in at least two cases in Northwest Louisiana was apprehended after a long chase through Caddo Parish Sunday night. Several agencies were involved in the chase of Terry Leroy Smith who ended up being shot by officers after he allegedly pointed a gun at them. His injuries are not considered life threatening and he faces a laundry list of charges when he gets out of the hospital.
A bill that would require dogs to be secured in the beds of pickup trucks traveling on interstates cleared committee 13-2 yesterday. The legislation heads to the full house.
News For Monday 041414
News for Monday 041414
By Dave Graichen
According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets index, the Baton Rouge housing market is the most rapidly recovering in the nation, and New Orleans is No. 9 on the list. Norman Morris is the CEO of the Louisiana Realtors Association. He says areas across the state are seeing a nice housing boom. He also says The Bayou State weathered the recent housing recession better than most states.
Northwestern State University President Randy Webb announced Friday he will retire later in the year. Under Webb, Northwestern State has received national and international attention for its academic programs and student accomplishments.
LSU has completed a survey on two social issues that are gaining a lot of attention, the legalization of marijuana and same sex marriages. Amy Reynolds, director of the Reilly Center for Media and Public affairs says they found the support for legalizing marijuana in Louisiana is on the rise with 79% of people saying pot should be legal for medical use. She says the support for same sex marriages increased from 39 to 42 percent over the past year as well.
A Democratic lawmaker from Amite is criticizing Republican leaders for calling for the resignation of Congressman Vance McAllister, when they backed Senator David Vitter amidst his scandal. La. GOP chairman Roger Villere said McAllister is a hypocritical embarrassment. Rep. John Bel Edwards, who plans to run for Governor says Villirie is the hypocrite. Edwards questions why Vitter taking phone calls from prostitutes is any different from Congressman McAllister making out with a married woman who worked for him.
The Sulphur Police Department says a former LSU football player was shot Friday night. They say Tahj Jones, who played for The Tigers as a linebacker and was at last week's Pro Day, was allegedly injured by a bullet and taken to a hospital. He is said to be in stable condition. An arrest has been made according to authorities but a suspect's name is not being released at this time.
The largest cruise ship ever to be docked at the Port of New Orleans arrives today. The 36-hundred passenger Carnival Dream will begin year round, 6 day Caribbean departures starting at 4 o'clock this afternoon. Senior Vice President of Fleet Deployment Terry Thornton says this ship is 30% bigger than their last ship and can hold 4 thousand people.
The House Transportation committee is scheduled to hear a bill today that would designate a section of I-49 in St. Landry Parish as a "Slow Down Speed Trap." The bill is by Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh introduced the bill. The proposed law calls on the department of transportation to place signage near the Washington exit reflecting the highway designation. Seabaugh believes that the town of Washington is not using the speed limit laws as they were intended.
A lawmaker from Kenner wants people to be required to have a dog secured in a humane manner when the animal is in the back of a pickup truck traveling on the interstate. Representative Tom Willmott's House Bill 1091 would do just that. He says dogs in the bed of a truck that is going a high rate of speed could be considered an unsecured load. Willmott says he's heard several stories about dogs flying out of trucks on interstates who then get run over and killed. He also says these types of incidents could cause serious crashes.
The full senate is scheduled to vote on a bill this afternoon that would require judges to sentence a person convicted of a home invasion armed with a dangerous weapon to five years in prison. Right now, there's no minimum jail time, while the maximum sentence is 30 years. The legislation was approved unanimously by a state senate committee last week.
News For Friday 04/11/14
News For Friday 041114
By Dave Graichen
No raise in the $7.25 minimum wage in Louisiana this year. A series of bills that would have done just that failed to pass out of the House Labor committee on Thursday. Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, testified a higher minimum wage in the state would lead to lay-offs and higher prices for consumers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal bolstered the Louisiana Republican Party’s call Thursday for 5th district congressman Vance McAllister to resign in the wake of a “kissing congressman” controversy. The governor, in a prepared statement said “Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign. He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress. Earlier in the day, the GOP made a similar request.
A bill that would name the Holy Bible as the official state book of Louisiana passes out of a House committee yesterday. The measure passed on an 8-5 vote and now heads to the house floor.
Federal officials have warned Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration that it will withhold $307 million in Medicaid money from the state if no agreement has been reached on financing plans for the privatized LSU hospitals. Jindal’s health secretary, Kathy Kliebert, said Thursday the announcement was expected because of continuing negotiations over financing plans for uninsured care at LSU hospitals that have been privatized. Most of LSU’s charity hospitals were turned over to private managers, but federal officials haven’t decided yet whether they’ll agree to the money arrangements used to pay the new hospital operators.
The Colorado State University hurricane forecast team is calling for a below-average hurricane season. C-S-U researcher Phil Klotzbach says they anticipate nine named storms and only three hurricanes this year. Klotzbach says an El Nino will likely develop in the Pacific, which will effect storm development in the Atlantic. The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making
landfall on US soil and Klotzbach says there's a 19-percent chance of a Category 3 or higher hurricane hitting the gulf coast.
One of the state's largest festivals gets underway today, The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival gets underway at 4:00 today and it's estimated to attract 200-thousand people over the next three days.
Tax Day is just a few days away, which means thousands of Louisiana taxpayers will spend this weekend filling out their tax forms. I-R-S spokeswoman Lea Crusberg says once you get your paperwork together electronic filing may be the way to go. The deadline for filing your taxes is midnight on April 15. Crusberg says if you need to file for an extension, it is easy to get one. But, that will not let you off the hook for your tax bill.
The presence of LSU Athletics generated almost $400 million dollars in new sales and $119 million in new household earnings for the four parishes surrounding the university in 2012. That's according to a study conducted but former LSU economics professor Dr. Loren Scott. He says these numbers are quadruple what they were in 2002.
Good news for crawfish lovers. As temperatures are finally starting to warm up, the supply of crawfish is heating up and the price is going down. The size of the mud bugs are still rather small. But, the President of the Crawfish Farmers Association David Savoy says they should be getting larger as the weeks go by.
News For Thursday 04/10/14
News for Thursday 041014
By Dave Graichen
The House Labor Committee is scheduled to hear several bills today that would raise the state's minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. One of the items of legislation would raise it to $10.10 which opponents say would force businesses to hire fewer people. Proponents say it would give workers a livable wage.
Gas prices keep climbing. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular jumped two pennies last night to $3.41. That's also up 17 cents from last month.
The Colorado State University Forecast team will issue its initial forecast for the 2014 season today. State Climatologist Barry Keim anticipates Doctor William Gray and Phil Klotzbach will call for an
average season, because there's a 50 percent chance an El Nino will form later this year. Keim says an average season would be 10 to 12 named storms. He says an El Nino makes it less conducive for storms to form in the Atlantic.
The office of Vance McAllister says they are backing off their request that the FBI investigate whether or not the leaking of the surveillance kissing video was a federal breach in security. Legal analyst Tim Meche doesn't think a crime took place. He says this video came from a surveillance camera at the office and everyone knew it was there. Word is now, the state’s GOP Executive Committee, may today ask McAllister to resign.
The pending closure of Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville is moving ahead, with the latest step coming with Senate approval. Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 48 was adopted by a 26-11 vote on Tuesday. It next goes to the House for consideration. HPL was the last of the state’s public hospitals to have its services transferred to private partners. A cooperative endeavor agreement between the state, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center is transferring those services to clinics operated by the two hospitals and the hospitals themselves.
A plan that would create a $40 million pot of money that Louisiana’s colleges and universities would then compete over, sailed through the state House overwhelmingly Wednesday on a 100-0 vote. The plan would set aside 80 percent of the funding for workforce development. Every public college or university in the state would get a shot to collect a share of the money depending on how many graduates they produce in high-demand fields such as computer science and engineering. In order to draw down the funds, schools would have to come up with a 20 percent match in private investments. It now heads to the Senate for a vote.
The House Health and Welfare committee approved a bill Wednesday that would require abortion clinics to provide information to the patient about possible psychological effects associated with ending a pregnancy. Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says this info will be contained in a pamphlet that women seeking abortions would receive. The measure passed without objection and now heads to the House floor.
The House Criminal Justice Committee agreed with a bill today that would remove the state's anti-sodomy law from the state's books. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says she authored this bill, because the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the law violates the constitution. The bill now heads to the house floor.
A bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their gun into certain places that sell alcohol passed Wednesday afternoon on the House Floor. The bill now heads to the Senate for
A bill that would ban motorists from using certain hand held cell phones in school zones got approval from the full House Wednesday. House Bill 370 received unanimous approval and now heads to the Senate.
Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres has suspended three of his deputies for allegedly giving special treatment to a New Roads police officer who was involved in a crash, while off-duty. The
officer, Captain Mark Munson, was suspected of driving while drunk and he's been suspended too.
News For Wednesday 04/09/14
News for Wednesday 040914
By Dave Graichen
Sad story today out of Winnfield. Winn Parish Sheriff Cranford Jordan (Jerdon) says the search for a three year old little boy who fell into a creek Monday has ended with the boy’s body being found. He says they received the 911 call around 10:30 am Monday about a child who had fallen into the water. Jordon says the boy slipped under a culvert and he drowned.
5th district congressman Vance McAllister in an exclusive interview with The (Monroe) News-Star, said he asked his wife, Kelly, and their five children for forgiveness weeks ago, before the release Monday of a video showing him kissing another woman. He said the relationship was “absolutely” his first infidelity.
So how might the Vance McAllister kissing video scandal affect the election for the 5th District Seat coming up this fall? Political analyst Elliott Stonecipher says this might be the end of McAllister. Stonecipher believes the reason someone wanted to tarnish McAllister's reputation is so that more candidates would jump into the Congressional race. He feels state Senator Neil Riser, who was Bobby Jindal's choice for the job in the 2013 special election, will pop back up. Stonecipher believes the Jindal Administration and Timmy Teeple are behind this. Stonecipher says there's also a rumor that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has an interest in yanking McAllister's family values platform.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office says two deputies have been arrested and fired for allegedly engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with an inmate at the jail. Spokesman Tommy Carnline says the charges are against 56-year-old John William Benjamin and 51-year-old Donald Weston. Carnline says Benjamin and Weston were each charged with Malfeasance in Office and Prohibited Sexual Contact with an inmate.
The senate health and welfare committee gives unanimous approval to legislation that would give hospitals the ability to NOT hire someone just because that person smokes. The bill by New Orleans Senator David Heitmeier has the support of the hospital industry. Catherine Levendis, with the Ochsner Health System, spoke in favor of the bill. Levendis says hospitals are also interested in implementing a tobacco free living policy for its workers, because they want to protect patients from known carcinogens that could be found on a smoker's clothes, hair or skin.
A bill that would ban unmanned aircraft devices from flying over chemical plants or water facilities passed in a Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White's says he bill would make it illegal use a drone to take surveillance of "critical infrastructure sites" without prior written consent of the owner. The measure advanced to full Senate without objection.
A senate committee approves legislation that would allow lawmakers who possess a concealed handgun permit to bring their gun into the state capitol. Franklin Senator Brent Allain says legislators should have the ability to protect themselves. He says the proposed law requires an armed legislator to undergo annual firearms training. The measure passed on a five-to three vote and heads to the Senate floor.
The latest campaign finance reports show US Senator Mary Landrieu continues to our raise her main republican challenger in the 2014 US Senate race. Landrieu's campaign says the Senator raised 1.8 million dollars in the first three months of 2014, while Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy collected 1-point-2 million dollars. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says you can expect to start seeing the money being spent on ads here in about two or three months.
Penalties would go up dramatically in vehicular homicide cases involving accidents in which two or more people die under a bill headed to the Senate floor. The Senate Committee on Judiciary C approved the measure Tuesday under which the offender would be sentence separately for each victim. In addition, the sentences would run consecutively. Senate Bill 148 would also include the unborn who dies along with a pregnant woman as a feticide victim. The feticide provision was added in committee.
Representatives from all 32 NFL teams are in Baton Rouge today to scout LSU players that are eligible for next month's draft. It's a big day for quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who is expected to throw in front of scouts, for the first time since tearing his A-C-L in November. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier says LSU will have 20 former players participating in a variety of drills during today's Pro Day. Detillier says there's only one sure first round pick out of the group and that's wide receiver Odell Beckham junior.
News For Tuesday 04/08/14
News for Tuesday 040814
By Dave Graichen
Freshman GOP Congressman Vance McAllister has issued an apology in response to the video released Monday showing him romantically kissing a woman for almost 30 seconds from inside his congressional office in Monroe. The Monroe News Star says Vance McAllister issued statement asking for forgiveness from his family and constituents Monday afternoon.
A statewide poll shows that voters in Louisiana are generally split on the idea of Common Core, but would support education reform. The study indicated 41% of people are for common core, while 40% percent are against it. But it also asked how they felt about implementation of education standards that are more in line with most other schools across the US and only 27% of people say that oppose that.
According to an audit released Monday, the state should beef up its bridge inspection process in Louisiana. Legislative auditor Daryl Purpera's report says the Department of Transportation is just fully compliant with 39% of federal standards in place to be used for bridge inspections. DOTD spokeswoman Lauren Lee says they are happy with their bridge inspection program. But she says they do agree with the audit's recommendations that they should improve its inspection frequency, procedures and bridge inventory.
Another legislative audit report that came out Monday, estimates districts courts were not able to collect 126-million dollars in court costs and fines. The report says collection efforts need to be
According to the WWE, Wrestlemania 30 broke the record for the most money ever spent at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Sunday event brought in over 75,000 people and grossed $10.9 million dollars.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Deputies are asking for public help in locating two missing juveniles. 12 year-old Ariel Blaze Robin was last seen getting into a 2001 Mercury driven by 15 year-old Henry
Bieber, Jr. Both suffer from severe depression and are considered at risk. If you have any information, please call St. Landry Crimestoppers.
A state Senate committee is expected to hear legislation today that will prohibit using drones to take pictures of private property. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says he wants Louisiana
laws to keep up with technology and promote privacy. Claitor says the bill will not impact the use of drones for law enforcement purposes that help with crime scene investigations.
The House overwhelmingly approves a bill that would fine someone $300 if they threw a cigarette butt out of a car window. Marrero Representative Patrick Connick says his legislation is intended to
stop the littering of cigarette butts. The House passed the bill on a 95 to 1 vote and it now heads to the Senate for further discussion.
The state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Monday that would strengthen the state’s 2008 ban on cockfighting. The bill sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell would expand the state’s ban on cockfighting to include all types of chickens. It also would make it a crime to possess paraphernalia, such as razors, spurs, leather spur covers and other items commonly used in the sport, together with chickens that have been trained as fighting birds. The measure passed on a 31-7 vote, but not before senators again debated the merits of a “sport” known as “chicken boxing.”
News For Monday 04/07/14
News for Monday 040714
By Dave Graichen
A new poll on Louisiana's US Senate race shows Senator Mary Landrieu leading three republican challengers. In a survey of 600 voters, 39-percent favored her, while 26-percent preferred GOP Congressman Bill Cassidy. State representative Paul Hollis and retired air force colonel Rob
Maness received single digit support in the poll. 28-percent of respondents said they were undecided.
A look ahead to the 2015 governor's race shows a statistical tie between republican senator David Vitter and democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Vitter is running, while it's unknown if Landrieu will run. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross doesn't expect Landrieu to run, so it's Vitter's race to lose. In the Magellan Strategies poll of 600 voters, Vitter received support from 28-percent of the respondents, 26-percent said they would vote for Landrieu and another 13-percent backed republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.
Grambling State President Frank Pogue announces he's retiring and his last day at the university is June 30th. Pogue says when he came out of retirement to take the job as GSU's president, he planned to stay for five years, but that wasn’t to be. Pogue says the last few years have been challenging as the university's state funding was cut by more than 56-percent.
Today marks the start of Work Zone Awareness Week and the State Department of Transportation is asking motorists to slow down in construction zones and pay attention. DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas says this awareness week makes drivers more mindful of safety issues on the road. Based on the latest statistics available, 609 people nationwide lost their lives in construction zones in 2012 and 12 were from Louisiana.
The bill that will create a penalty for throwing cigarette butts from a vehicle is set to come up on the House floor today. State Representative Patrick Connick says he wants to clarify the law and make cigarette butts count as a form of litter. Under the proposed law, violators would be fined 300 dollars and ordered to perform eight hours of community service. The Marrero rep says when the bill was discussed in committee there was no opposition because lawmakers seem to understand this is an issue.
A bill that a lawmaker from Opelousas fears will ruin the sport of chicken boxing is scheduled to come up on the Senate floor today. The legislation by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell expands Louisiana's ban on cockfighting by applying all chickens to the law and also making it illegal to own such paraphernalia. Senator Elbert Guillory opposes. Guillory says under Senate Bill 523, anyone who owns any type of aggressive chicken would be breaking the law which he calls ludicrous. He says it's time for everyone in Louisiana to realize that "chicken boxing" is a real sport and it's perfectly legal.
State Senator Bret Allain, R-Franklin, wants legislators to be able to pack a pistol in the State Capitol chambers and committee rooms. According to the lawmaker, they make votes all the time that are controversial, that sometimes upset groups of people. He think that legislators as a whole should have the same right to protect themselves as judges and Da’s Allain submitted Senate Bill 651 just before the filing deadline for new legislation. The bill must be debated in the next two months in order to reach the governor’s desk.
News For Friday 04/04/14
News for Friday 040414
By Dave Graichen
Investigators from the Louisiana State Police and the FBI arrested the chief of police and an officer from the town of Lecompte yesterday. Chief Mikel White was charged with extortion, malfeasance in office, and false imprisonment. Officer Gregory Armstead was charged with malfeasance in office and false imprisonment. The charges stem from an incident last month in which chief white was captured on video threatening a man who owed him money. The victim was handcuffed and taken into custody by Officer Armstead at the order of the Chief. The victim was eventually released without being charged for any crime.
Could the discussion of Common Core be essentially dead for the session? A bill that would scrap the new controversial education standards set to begin next year was voted down by the House Education Committee 12-7 yesterday, despite Governor Bobby Jindal's last minute backing.
Testimony continues today in the penalty phase of Brian Horn's capital murder trial. Horn has already been convicted for killing 12 year old Justin Bloxom in 2010. Horn was found guilty of picking up Justin in a Taxi after sending texts pretending to be a girl. Horn ended up strangling the child and leaving his body in a wooded area. The DA says they are seeking the death penalty.
There was a bill to reduce the penalties of simple marijuana possession introduced by New Orleans Representative Austin Badon. Now it looks as if it won't be able to get out of the House Criminal Justice Committee. Badon was trying to make a case that the current 20 year sentence is excessive. His proposal would have reduced the penalty to five years.
Also not leaving committee today was a Senate Bill by Mike Walsworth of West Monroe that would allow certain people to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. There was no discussion on the legislation that only got 5 votes and failed 3-2. Those who oppose the bill say data clearly indicates wearing a helmets saves lives.
The Louisiana House supported a rewrite of Louisiana’s career-track diploma law, to match a new policy of the state education board that will require public high school students who aren’t college-bound to get job skills certifications to get a diploma. House Bill 944 by state Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, was sent to the state Senate with a 94-0 vote Thursday. The redesign, pushed by Superintendent of Education John White, emphasizes skills training for students who don’t intend to go to a four-year university.
Public school students in Louisiana who show proficiency in a language other than English could be able to get a state “Seal of Biliteracy” on their diplomas, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House in an 86-0 vote Thursday. House Bill 1016 by state Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, would encourage local school districts to participate in the program, but wouldn’t require it.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says a woman who was trying to get away from her husband with a divorce was found killed allegedly by his hand before the man turned the gun on himself. They say their teenage son found his parents around midnight Thursday morning in the Gonzales residence. The wife was dead and the husband had a gunshot wound to the head but was still alive and is currently listed in serious condition. The investigation is ongoing.
The state House approves a package of domestic violence bills sponsored by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno. One of the, House Bill 753 received unanimous support. Moreno says this legislation will prevent certain offenders of domestic violence from owning a gun. Another bill that passed Thursday enhances the penalties for anyone that violates a restraining order or protective order. The measures head to the Senate.
The Lafayette Police Department says the mother of a 5 month old baby who died of suffocation in January is charged with murder. They say the child was brought to the hospital where the mother reported a plastic shopping bag had covered her baby's head. Corporal Paul Mouton says they received new information in the case and the woman, 20-year-old Raven Senegal of Lafayette, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 1st degree murder.
With hurricane season coming up, emergency preparedness officials are going through a statewide training exercise that's testing their disaster response capabilities. Kevin Davis, director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says federal, state and local agencies are participating in this drill.
20th ranked LSU hosts 9th ranked Mississippi State tonight at Alex Box Stadium. Aaron Nola has been the Tigers traditional Friday starter, but Coach Paul Mainieri will pitch freshman Jared Poche instead tonight. Nola will pitch tomorrow night. Mainieri says since Nola pitched last Saturday, he wanted to rest him six days, before he pitched him again.