News for Monday 061118
By Dave Graichen
The third special session of 2018 will begin a week from today and must end June 27th. Governor John Bel Edwards is still looking for a fix to the fiscal cliff. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Carbo says after the legislature failed to replace a large portion of the 1.4 billion dollars in temporary taxes that expire June 30th, they had no choice but to give it one more shot.
The Louisiana Department of Corrections warns unless additional tax revenue is raised by June 30th, thousands of inmates will be released. Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says his department is facing a nearly 63-million dollar reduction in state funding.
For the first time since its inception in 2001, the state may have to reduce enrollment to its taxpayer funded pre-k program. State Superintendent of Education John White says state budget cuts are the reason for the reduction, but he hopes legislators will raise the necessary revenue to fully fund this program. Based on the current budget for next fiscal year, pre-k would see a 10-to-20-percent cut.
Louisiana has seen a 29 percent increase in the suicide rate since 1999. That’s according to a CDC report that revealed national suicide rates have skyrocketed over the last two decades. Louisiana Department of Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator Danita Leblanc says the state needs to beef up suicide detection efforts, increase the amount of mental health education, and expand mental health services, but that’s tough to do under a budget crunch.
Two people died after a home invasion early Sunday morning in the Denham Springs area, but details on what happened remain scarce. Sheriff Jason Ard said he could confirm two fatalities but had not yet released their identities as of Sunday evening. He also said nothing about whether the intruder or intruders were among those killed.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says they’re one step closer to a massive reform of the way the feds handle flooding and hurricane protection projects. The 2018 Water Resources and Development Act would allow local governments to take over funds for the execution of protection projects from the Corps of Engineers. Graves says passing this bill would speed up construction of some desperately needed hurricane protection and coastal restoration plans.
There are nearly 800 crashes annually along a notorious stretch of Interstate 10 just west of the Mississippi River. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallet says the DOTD has taken multiple measures to ensure the safety along this stretch of highway with additional signage, cable barriers and ruble strips. Mallett says it also comes down to the responsibility of drivers to make a difference. Mallet says that 77 percent of the 800 accidents are from people not paying attention.
Public school students can have a bulletproof backpack next school year as a result of a new state law. Republican Senator Mike Walsworth, who sponsored the bill, says it could protect students in the event of an active shooter on campus. But, if you are interested in obtaining one, you may need to act now to have one in time for the next school year. Some schools require students to carry mesh fabric backpacks? But Walsworth says even with a mesh backpack, you can purchase a kevlar plate to provide protection.