The Associated Press

Pages

Latest News
7:25 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Panel Reports Improvements In New Orleans Jail Fire Safety

Credit Digital Archaeology / CoDiFi via Flickr

A federal court-appointed panel is reporting progress in improving fire safety at a section of the New Orleans jail.

In a report filed at the court Monday, the panel said padlocks on some doors in a holding area known as "the docks" have been replaced with key locks installed in the doors. The padlocks were considered a fire safety hazard.

The report also said the fire sprinkler system at the docks is fully operational. And it outlined repairs and upgrades still in the works, including improvements to alarm and ventilation systems.

Read more
Education
4:09 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Notes On Education From The State Legislature's Regular Session

The Louisiana State Capitol.
Stuart Seeger Flickr

The House supported a rewrite of Louisiana's career-track diploma law, to match a new policy of the state education board that will require public high school students who aren't college-bound to get job skills certifications to get a diploma.

The bill (House Bill 944) by Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, was sent to the Senate with a 94-0 vote Thursday.

The redesign, pushed by Superintendent of Education John White, emphasizes skills training for students who don't intend to go to a four-year university. Fannin said he hoped to keep more students in school with the changes.

Read more
Latest News
3:10 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Bill Easing State Marijuana Penalties Derailed

State Rep. Austin Badon's proposal to soften penalties for marijuana possession was derailed today.
Credit Matthew Benoit / Shutterstock

 

A New Orleans lawmaker's proposal to soften penalties for marijuana possession has been at least temporarily derailed by opposition from Louisiana sheriffs.

Rep. Austin Badon, a Democrat, pulled his bill from consideration Thursday in the House Criminal Justice Committee after testimony by the head of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association.

Association executive director Michael Ranatza said sheriffs fear the bill could lead to decriminalization of marijuana.

Badon says he was caught off-guard by Ranatza's testimony.

Read more
Latest News
5:15 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Louisiana Driver's Licenses Don't Comply With Federal Law

Louisiana residents may have to use passports to fly domestically if state drivers licenses don't comply with federal REAL ID laws by 2016.
Carl Lender Flickr

Louisiana residents could have trouble boarding a plane if state driver’s licenses don’t come into compliance with federal law by 2016.

The leader of the House Transportation Committee is trying to broker a compromise that will put Louisiana driver's licenses in line with a federal laws.

State lawmakers rejected the added security requirements for a driver's license in 2008, saying they were too intrusive. That resulted in Louisiana driver's licenses that are not compliant with federal REAL ID laws.

Read more
Politics
10:48 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Notes From The State Legislature's Regular Session

Lawmakers are considering whether the state should start paying Emergency Medical Service workers the same monthly supplement that local law enforcement officers and firefighters receive.

A Senate judiciary panel agreed without objection Tuesday to a constitutional amendment that would add full-time EMS workers to the list to receive a $500 monthly paycheck from the state on top of their local salaries.

The proposal would cost at least $3.7 million a year and likely more, depending on how many EMS workers qualified, according to legislative fiscal analysts.

Read more
Main Streets
12:51 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Kenner Has High Hopes For Rivertown

Kenner's efforts to turn its Rivertown district into a focal point for development are getting a boost after the area received an official Main Street designation from the state.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the designation formally places Rivertown among several dozen areas in Louisiana that are part of the national Main Street program, aimed at promoting and reinvigorating urban corridors.

Politics
12:43 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman Re-Elected

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman at a press conference last year. Gusman defeated challenger Charles Foti to win re-election as sheriff.
Tom Gogola The Lens

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman has defeated challenger Charles Foti to win re-election.

The race centered on the conditions at the city's jail. The U.S. Justice Department has said the Orleans Parish Prison is a chaotic, dangerous facility that is understaffed.

Gusman says the jail is close to being transformed and he told voters he wanted to see the problems fixed. Foti also vowed to fix the issues.

The sheriff has authority over roughly 2,000 inmates and more than 700 employees.

Politics
1:25 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Battle Shaping Up Over 'Big Oil' Lawsuit Bill

Advocates of a south Louisiana flood control board's lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies over erosion of coastal wetlands are making plans to fight legislation they say could undermine the suit.

Among other things, the bill filed for this year's legislative session would ensure Gov. Bobby Jindal's power to reject an independent committee's nominations for membership on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. Jindal opposes the lawsuit filed by the SLFPA-E last year.

Read more
Latest News
11:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

19 Violations Found At St. Tammany Work-Release Facility

Louisiana Department of Corrections officials have conducted a shakedown raid at a Covington work-release facility that houses state inmates.

The facility's director said 19 inmates were sent back to St. Tammany Parish Jail for violating state regulations.

Director Lester Mitchell said Sunday morning's shakedown was the second at the facility in the last two weeks.

Politics
4:42 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

House Budget Hearings Delayed By Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras calendar is disrupting lawmakers' review of Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget proposal.

Rep. Jim Fannin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he wanted to start combing through the governor's spending recommendations during the first week of March. But he says he couldn't compete with Fat Tuesday, which also falls that week.

Fannin says he didn't think it was a good idea to hold budget hearings if many of the committee members were absent, attending Mardi Gras parades.

Pages