News for Tuesday 043019
Compiled by Dave Graichen
State Police report a Pineville man died Monday afternoon after he road an ATV into the path of a car on Highway 28 east. 23 year old Stephen Wade Bennett Jr. was ejected from the ATV. Troopers say he was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene.
Homestead exemption kept its reputation as the third rail of Louisiana politics after a House committee here killed a bill to allow local voters to raise taxes on homeowners in individual parishes. House Bill 12 by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, is a constitutional amendment would have allowed individual parish governments to let locals decide whether to lower the current homestead exemption of $75,000. Members voted 9-3 against the bill, killing it for this year.
The House unanimously passed a statewide framework for ridesharing in the state Monday. HB 575 now moves to the Senate where it’s track record has not been good. For the past two years, similar bills have passed the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
The House Transportation Committee overwhelming supports legislation that would prohibit hand held cell phone use while driving. A similar bill in Louisiana died in the Senate last year. Supporters of the proposed handheld cell phone ban say statistics show that talking or texting on the phone is contributing to more and more accidents.
The measure now moves to the full House for more debate.
A bill that would partially roll back changes to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program advanced to the House floor on a 8 to 7 vote. The change would take the ability to grant the often substantial local property tax breaks out of larger, local level boards, and place them in the hands of a three person, Parish level board.
Some residents are still without power from Thursday’s EF-3 tornado that struck Ruston, killing two and causing widespread damage. Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker says they have 88% of the electrical grid back up, but they will not hit 100% for a while.
Lincoln Parish public schools and Louisiana Tech University re-opened Monday.
A proposed constitutional amendment to exempt diapers and feminine products from the state sales tax cleared the Senate Finance Committee, and is heading to the Senate floor, with debate focusing in on diapers. Baton Rouge Diaper Bank Danielle Satawa says poor families often struggle to afford diapers, and end up needing to lift them from local groceries. The proposal would need a two thirds vote in both houses, followed by voter approval on the October ballot before becoming law.
For the first time, the Bonnet Carre Spillway could be opened twice in one calendar year. Only weeks after the spillway closed, the National Weather Service predicted the Mississippi River will reach 16.9 feet at the Carrollton gage in New Orleans on May 11th, just shy of the 17-foot mark which normally corresponds with an opening. The spillway in St. Charles Parish is designed to divert river water into Lake Pontchartrain to prevent flooding downriver in New Orleans and some of its suburbs.
LSU basketball coach Will Wade’s name surfaced in a federal courtroom in New York Monday where an NCAA corruption trial is ongoing. A recording was played in which a former Arizona assistant coach said he discussed with Wade a 300-thousand dollar recruiting offer in order to get Reid to sign with LSU. Reid played a vital role this past season in helping LSU win an SEC regular season title. There has yet to be any corroborating evidence in court connecting Wade to this potential deal.
The Louisiana Department of Health is warning Louisianans to be on the lookout for the penny sized “kissing bug”, whose bite can carry the rare, but nasty Chagas disease. The Triatomine bugs are known to break into poorly maintained houses, and feast on unsuspecting sleepers. The state has only seen 13 confirmed cases within our borders since cases first began being recognized. Chagas symptoms can take weeks to appear, and can feel very much like the flu initially. Tonzel says after that, it could be quite some time before the long term effects are felt, but they could ultimately be fatal.
A Hepatitis A outbreak results in the first death reported from the virus in the state. The highly contagious liver infection primarily spreads through close contact. According to the state’s department of health, infections usually resolve themselves without treatment, illness, and deaths. However, the current national outbreak has been higher than usual due to older age and underlying health conditions. The virus is preventable with vaccines.
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Tuesday April 30th
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