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State News

News For Wednesday 05/30/12


NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY 05/30/12
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA HAS BEEN GRANTED A WAIVER FROM THE HARD-TO-REACH FEDERAL GOALS OF THE 2001 NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT. THAT LAW REQUIRES THAT ALL STUDENTS BE PROFICIENT IN READING AND MATH BY 2014. THE WAIVERS GRANTED TO LOUISIANA AND SEVEN OTHER STATES ON TUESDAY ALLOW THEM TO FALL SHORT OF THAT REQUIREMENT WITHOUT LOSING FEDERAL FUNDS, PROVIDED THEY OFFER A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE PLAN. LOUISIANA EDUCATION OFFICIALS SAY THEY SUBMITTED A MULTI-FACETED APPLICATION. STATE OFFICIALS SAY POLICIES OUTLINED IN THE WAIVER REQUEST ARE DESIGNED TO ENSURE ALL STUDENTS ARE ON TRACK FOR A COLLEGE DEGREE OR A PROFESSIONAL CAREER.

LEGISLATION TO SHORTEN ELECTION DAYS IN LOUISIANA IS ON ITS WAY TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK. THE BILL, IF SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR WOULD HAVE POLLS OPEN AT 7AM, INSTEAD OF 6AM, ON SATURDAY ELECTIONS. THE POLLS WOULD HOWEVER CONTINUE TO OPEN AT THE CURRENT 6AM FOR FEDERAL ELECTIONS. THE BILL WOULD TAKE EFFECT ON JANUARY 1ST OF NEXT YEAR.

LOUISIANA VOTERS WILL DECIDE WHETHER TO TOUGHEN THE STATE'S CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR WEAPON OWNERS AND WHETHER TO REMOVE A PROVISION THAT GIVES THE LEGISLATURE EXPLICIT AUTHORITY TO LIMIT CONCEALED HANDGUNS. THE PROPOSAL BY SEN. NEIL RISER, R-COLUMBIA, RECEIVED FINAL PASSAGE TUESDAY WITH A 34-4 VOTE OF THE SENATE. BESIDE LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL, IT REQUIRES BACKING BY VOTERS IN THE NOV. 6 STATEWIDE ELECTION BEFORE IT COULD BE ENACTED. THE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE WOULD SET A TOUGHER STANDARD FOR RESTRICTING THE USE OF FIREARMS.

SOME PRIVATE SCHOOL OPERATORS ACROSS THE STATE SAY THEY FEEL THE STATE WAS IN TOO MUCH OF A RUSH TO IMPLEMENT THE NEW SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM. SCHOOLS HAD A DEAD LINE OF MAY 18TH, JUST DAYS AFTER LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF THE VOUCHER PROGRAM, TO DECIDE IF THEY WANTED TO PARTICIPATE. TWO SCHOOLS IN ALEXANDRIA DECIDED AGAINST PARTICIPATION FOR NOW SAYING THEY FELT THEY WERE BEING FORCED TO MAKE A MAJOR DECISION, BASED UPON INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION FROM THE STATE. GRACE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL PRINCIPAL KAY BLACK BURN SAID IT WAS A MOOT POINT FOR THEM SINCE THE SCHOOL IS AT CAPACITY. ALEXANDRIA COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL HEADMISTRESS NANCY RIALS SAID SCHOOL OFFICIALS "DEFINITELY" WOULD CONSIDER PARTICIPATING IN THE FUTURE.

TO STAVE OFF DEEP CUTS, SENATORS ARE PROPOSING TO BALANCE NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET WITH A COMPLEX SERIES OF SHELL GAMES AND FINANCING MANEUVERS TIED TO BUILDING SALES, LOAN REPAYMENTS AND FUND TRANSFERS. THE PACKAGE OF FINANCING MEASURES WILL BE DEBATED THURSDAY BY THE FULL SENATE. SENATORS SAY THE PLANS FOR THE 2012-13 FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1 WILL PREVENT DAMAGING CUTS TO HEALTH CARE AND PUBLIC COLLEGES. A BLOC OF LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE QUESTION WHETHER SOME OF THE PROPOSALS ARE LEGAL AND ARE PUSHING FOR GREATER BUDGET CUTS NEXT YEAR.

STATE TREASURER JOHN KENNEDY'S ANNUAL PUSH TO FORCE REDUCTIONS IN THE STATE WORK FORCE AND AGENCY CONTRACTS WAS RESOUNDINGLY REJECTED TUESDAY BY THE SENATE'S BUDGET COMMITTEE. KENNEDY HAS PROPOSED THE IDEAS FOR SEVERAL YEARS, BUT HAS BEEN UNABLE TO GET TRACTION IN THE LOUISIANA SENATE, EVEN THOUGH THE HOUSE HAS BACKED THE TWO BILLS. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION OPPOSED THE MEASURES. ONE PROPOSAL WOULD MANDATE THAT EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES CUT AT LEAST 5,000 JOBS EACH YEAR FOR THE NEXT THREE BUDGET YEARS. THE SECOND MEASURE WOULD REQUIRE THE STATE TO SPEND 10 PERCENT LESS ON CONSULTING AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CONTRACTS NEXT YEAR.

EVEN THOUGH NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED FOR IT, LOUISIANA WILL HAVE AN EXPLICIT BAN AGAINST PORNOGRAPHIC FILMS RECEIVING STATE TAX CREDITS. THE PROHIBITION PROPOSAL WAS GIVEN FINAL PASSAGE MONDAY BY THE STATE SENATE, SENDING IT TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK. RATHER THAN DEFINE PORNOGRAPHY, THE BILL PROHIBITS THE TAX CREDITS FOR ANY FILM THAT HAS TO REGISTER WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, UNDER THE FEDERAL CHILD PROTECTION AND OBSCENITY ENFORCEMENT ACT.

A BID TO STRENGTHEN LOUISIANA'S BAN ON EUTHANASIA IS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK AFTER RECEIVING FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE. THE STATE HAS A PROHIBITION IN CRIMINAL LAW AGAINST EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE. THE BILL WILL ADD THE PROHIBITION TO THE STATE'S MEDICAL CONSENT LAW.

MANY LOUISIANA MOTORISTS WILL BE ABLE TO GET THEIR VEHICLES INSPECTED EVERY TWO YEARS, INSTEAD OF EACH YEAR, IF THE GOVERNOR AGREES TO A PROPOSAL THAT RECEIVED FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE. THE MEASURE WILL SET THE STATEWIDE CHARGE FOR A TWO-YEAR TAG AT $20, WHILE THE ONE-YEAR STICKER WILL REMAIN AT $10. SOME LOCAL PARISHES ALSO ADD CHARGES TO THE PRICE. IN PARISHES WITH AUTO EMISSION PROBLEMS, LIKE THE BATON ROUGE AREA, ANNUAL INSPECTIONS STILL WILL BE REQUIRED.

SENATORS SHELVED A BID TO REQUIRE POLICE TO NOTIFY MOTORISTS BEFORE SETTING UP CHECKPOINTS TO EXAMINE VEHICLE INSPECTION STICKERS, LIKE THE EXISTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CHECKPOINTS ON SEAT BELT AND AUTO INSURANCE. THE HOUSE-APPROVED MEASURE WAS REJECTED TUESDAY BY THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE.

DETECTIVES ARE STILL TRACKING DOWN LEADS IN THE DISAPPEARANCE OF 22-YEAR OLD MICKEY SHUNICK, WHO WAS LAST SEEN RIDING HER BIKE IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF MAY 19TH. LAFAYETTE POLICE CPL. PAUL MOUTON SAYS THEY STILL WANT TO TALK WITH THE OWNERS OF THE THREE VEHICLES SPOTTED IN SURVEILLANCE VIDEO AS MICKEY WAS RIDING HER BIKE THAT NIGHT. A SEARCH OF THE AREA NEAR THE WHISKEY BAY EXIT ON I-10 IN ST. MARTIN PARISH WAS CALLED OFF YESTERDAY. THAT'S WHERE MICKEY'S BIKE WAS FOUND BY A COUPLE OF FISHERMEN THIS PAST WEEKEND. INVESTIGATORS IN LAFAYETTE SAY THEY DON'T BELIEVE THERE ARE LINKS BETWEEN THEIR INVESTIGATION OF A MISSING COLLEGE STUDENT AND THAT OF A STUDENT WHO HAS BEEN MISSING FOR A YEAR FROM BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA.

FOUR FEMA CONTRACTORS THAT INSTALLED OR MAINTAINED GOVERNMENT-ISSUED TRAILERS FOR STORM VICTIMS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA HAVE AGREED TO PAY A TOTAL OF $5 MILLION TO RESOLVE CLAIMS THAT THE TEMPORARY SHELTERS EXPOSED GULF COAST RESIDENTS TO HAZARDOUS FUMES. THE DEAL IS LINKED TO A PROPOSED CLASS-ACTION SETTLEMENT BETWEEN PLAINTIFFS' ATTORNEYS AND SEVERAL COMPANIES THAT MANUFACTURED TRAVEL TRAILERS FOR THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOLLOWING HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA IN 2005.

TRAVELERS WANTING TO HEAD FARTHER WEST FROM SHREVEPORT REGIONAL AIRPORT CAN ADD DENVER TO THE LIST OF DESTINATIONS. UNITED AIRLINES ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THE ADDITION OF DENVER FLIGHTS TO AND FROM SHREVEPORT REGIONAL AIRPORT.
THE NONSTOP DAILY SERVICE WILL START AUG. 28. UNITED EXPRESS WILL OPERATE THE FLIGHT WITH A 50-SEAT REGIONAL JET.







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  • Jack Miller Winner from Michigan Jack Miller Winner from Michigan
  • Authors of the New Evangeline Parish Book Authors of the New Evangeline Parish Book
  • Jack Miller Winners from Germany Jack Miller Winners from Germany
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