News for Thursday 051817
By Dave Graichen
A proposal to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2019 wins approval in the Senate Labor Committee. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says his bill would ensure workers earn a decent wage, which will boost morale and lower turnover rates for employers. But Jim Patterson with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says this will drive up costs for businesses. He says once low wage employees start making more, other workers will want a raise too. The measure now heads to the Upper Chamber and possibly the Senate Finance Committee, where it was killed last year.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the possibility of another special session is increasing, because legislators have failed to advance proposals to address a billion dollar shortfall next year. About three weeks are left in the session and the majority-Republican House has approved just one tax bill that would address that looming deficit.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor touting a Medicaid reform bill that he has filed. Kennedy says it would require adults ages 18 to 55, that have no dependents and are not disabled, to work 20 hours a week, go to school or do community service to receive Medicaid. Kennedy says he filed The Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017 as not an attempt to take Medicaid away from people in need but so fewer people need Medicaid.
The House has passed a bill that would deny state funding to cities that are considered to be more lenient on illegal immigrants. The so-called Sanctuary Cities bill failed to pass the lower chamber last week, but it was rewritten so it no longer needed a two-thirds vote to pass. It now heads to the Senate.
Louisiana residents will not receive a sales tax break on the purchase of diapers, tampons and other feminine hygiene products that are considered necessary. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell was seeking to provide families with a little financial relief, but it would cost the state 13-million dollars revenues, which was the main factor in why it was defeated in Senate Finance.
A proposal to end the death penalty in Louisiana was rejected by the House Criminal Justice Committee. Bishop of the Diocese of Houma Shelton Fabre testified in support of the bill saying every human life is sacred, and an execution won’t bring back a loved one or heal wounds. The proposal failed on an eight to nine vote.
Louisiana’s LGBT community would be protected from workplace discrimination under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state laws. He says as an African American man, he hasn’t always been protected from discrimination under the law. The Louisiana Baptist Office of Public Policy opposes the bill.
A Senate-approved bill seeks to refine the state’s film tax credit program. The proposal by New Orleans Senator JP Morell would place a $150 million front-end cap on the program. It would also sunset the program after 8 years. The bill would also ensure that 10 percent of the available credits are reserved for local Louisiana filmmakers. The measure was approved on a 33 to 3 vote and heads to the House.
The second confederate monument to come down in New Orleans was hauled away early Wednesday morning. It took crews 7 hours to get the statue of PGT Beauregard off its base. Supporters celebrated just feet away from opponents. The next monument to come down will be Robert E. Lee.
A bill that is moving closer to final legislative passage is a bill that would limit first time opioid prescriptions for acute conditions to a seven-day supply. The goal is to prevent addiction by first time users. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the legislation makes sure patients who need them would have access to painkillers.
LSU and Mississippi State battle for the SEC West championship starting tonight with a three-game series in Starkville. The Tigers lead the Bulldogs by one game in the standings. You can hear the entire series beginning tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm