The Associated Press

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Home Insurance
1:04 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Citizens sets annual Katrina-Rita bond assessment

Homeowners will pay $54 on average next year on their insurance policies to cover bond payments being made by state-backed Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which had to borrow nearly $1 billion to pay claims from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The board voted Thursday to impose a 3.74 percent assessment on all commercial and personal policyholders in the state starting Jan. 1.

Latest News
1:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Judge overturns Alexandria's fortunetelling ban

A federal judge has struck down a central Louisiana ordinance banning fortunetelling, palm reading, astrology and similar activities in the city of Alexandria.

U.S. District Judge Dee Drell's ruling Wednesday concurs with a magistrate's conclusion that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

Rachel Adams is a fortune-teller who says she accepts donations but doesn't charge for her services. She sued the city after a police officer issued her a court summons in 2011 for violating the ordinance. A violation can result in daily penalties of up to $500.

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Education
12:31 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Orleans Parish School Board to lay off 21

The Orleans Parish School Board plans to lay off nearly two dozen employees, largely because of a drop in federal funding for low-income students and those with special needs.

The Times-Picayune reported the list of staff losing their jobs includes four teachers.

Interim Superintendent Stan Smith, who has been warning of a potential budget gap for months, said layoffs would have gone deeper — to more than 30 positions — were it not for some recent resignations.

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Latest News
12:26 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Slidell man cashes in million-dollar Lotto ticket

A Slidell man thought he was lucky when he won more than $1,800 on the Louisiana Lotto on July 4. But, 29-year-old Evan Bauer was even luckier three days later when he became a millionaire.

The Times-Picayune reports Bauer matched all six Lotto numbers to win Saturday's $1.7 million jackpot — the state's largest since 2009. After federal and state taxes were withheld, officials said Thursday he received a $1.2 million prize.

The winning numbers were: 3, 6, 9, 10, 14 and 25. His advice: "Pick your numbers and stick to them. Eventually, it will pay off!"

Embezzlement
12:23 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Man pleads guilty in embezzlement case

A 69-year-old New Orleans man has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of theft of government funds.

U.S Attorney Jim Letten's office says Robert P. McFarland entered the plea Thursday before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.

Medicaid Cuts
12:19 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

$859M in Medicaid cuts expected today

Health care providers and patients who rely on Louisiana's Medicaid program are expected to learn Friday how the Jindal administration plans to slash $859 million in the program that takes care of the poor, elderly and disabled.

The cuts are tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.

The reductions will strip 11 percent of the funding from the $7.7 billion Medicaid budget that lawmakers passed for the fiscal year that began July 1.

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Child Abuse Hotline
12:17 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Child abuse hotline: 114,000 calls in first year

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says its child abuse and neglect hotline has received 114,000 calls in its first year, and more than 50,000 of those calls reported suspected abuse or neglect.

The hotline is 1-855-4LA-KIDS. It's for both people required by law to report suspected abuse or neglect, and people in the general public.

Department Secretary Suzy Sonnier said Thursday that the toll-free number replaced a long list of parish and regional phone numbers. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by 41 trained child welfare specialists.

Day Care Wages
12:12 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Labor: Louisiana day cares violating wage laws

The U.S. Department of Labor says more north Louisiana child care businesses are paying workers a legal wage after a crackdown by the Wage and Hour Division. But it says a majority of such businesses in Bossier, Caddo, East Carroll, Lincoln and Ouachita parishes are still breaking the law.

A news release Thursday said 57 percent of the employers investigated this year were violating minimum-wage, overtime or record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act — compared to 81 percent last year.

Police Academies
3:35 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

State police agencies consider joint officer training

The Louisiana State Police and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are exploring the possibility of a joint training academy as a way to recruit new officers and reduce agency costs.

State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said Wednesday that no date has been set for a possible class, according to The Times-Picayune.

Both agencies haven't held training academies because of the state's budget troubles.

State Debt Collection
3:32 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

State considering ways to boost debt collection

State officials are looking at ways to beef up efforts to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in debts owed to agencies across Louisiana government.

Louisiana doesn't have a centralized collection agency that handles all state government debts.

Lawmakers authorized the creation of a two-year pilot program that would let the state sell or auction off long-term delinquent accounts to companies that believe they can collect some of the money owed.

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