News for Tuesday 050217
By Dave Graichen
The House Appropriations Committee has voted to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program for the next fiscal year. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil amended the state’s proposed budget to take 82-million dollars from the Department of Health’s budget to fund it.
New Orleans Representative Walt Leger raised concerns about how these cuts would impact LDH. He says the only areas of the health budget that can be cut are optional Medicaid programs that will greatly impact Louisiana residents. More debate will take place on the House floor when the full 28-billion dollar budget will be discussed.
A study by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab and the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children finds a lack of quality childcare costs employers and employees over a billion dollars a year. LPIC Executive Director Melanie Bronfin says Louisiana has cut funding to early child care programs 70-percent since 2008. The report finds one in six workers in Louisiana quit their jobs because of trouble with child care.
Legislation that would regulate car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft received approval from the House Commerce committee. Uber and Lyft support having standard rules across the state, so they don’t have to negotiate agreements with local jurisdictions. They say it could help expand their service into smaller communities. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.
LSU and a news organization have created a website which would let the public give an opinion on how Louisiana’s budget woes could be repaired. LSU’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and The Advocate, together developed “solve-the-budget-dot-org.” LSU Mass Communications Professor Len Apcar says poll participants can select “Yes” or “No” to a number of different options related to revenue and spending, with the dollar amounts included for each. The info will eventually be passed onto lawmakers.
Congressman Clay Higgins has sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards urging him to take action to keep Louisiana’s confederate monuments in place, after the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. Higgins says this is something that has to be done at the state level. He says the decision to surgically remove this part of our history reflects weakness and fear.
Two out of state residents are dead after a private plane crashed Sunday in a field in Morehouse Parish. Sheriff Mike Tubbs says the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation into what caused the crash.
Funeral services will take place Thursday for Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s deputy Justin Beard. He was killed in a single vehicle wreck on Sunday while responding to a burglar alarm.
An 83-year-old LaRose man will be sentenced next month for a sex crime he committed over 30 years ago. Lafourche Assistant District Attorney Kristine Russell says the victim was seven years old at the time and this is a huge victory for her. Warren Danos was convicted of sexual battery and faces at least 25 years behind bars.
The Diocese of Lafayette says the Reverend Felix David Broussard is expected to enter a guilty plea tomorrow in court on charges of accessing and possessing child pornography. Louisiana State Police arrested the Acadia Parish native last July after investigators allegedly found over 500 images of child porn his personal computer. Broussard served as a priest for the Diocese of Lafayette for over 20 years.
Evangeline Parish is cleaning up after flooding that occurred when those strong storms rolled through the state over the weekend. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill says although the water wasn’t as high as it was in the August flood, some people had to be rescued from their flooded homes. Flooding impacted about 60 homes in Mamou, along with the schools, hospital, and city hall.
Congress is working on a spending bill that contains 400-million dollars in additional flood recovery dollars for Louisiana and other states, but that’s well short of the two-billion Governor Edwards requested. The state has already received one-point-six-billion, but Edwards says there’s over one-billion dollars in unmet needs for homeowners alone.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser unveils a new initiative called Destination Louisiana to encourage Louisianans to vacation in their home state. Nungesser hopes residents will staycation in the Bayou State rather than jumping on a plane. He says there is so much beauty to see right here.