BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers seeking to curtail drunken driving backed a string of proposals that toughen penalties, give law enforcement officers more methods to test for driver impairment and crack down on repeat offenders.
Six bills addressing intoxicated drivers have been signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Drunken car accidents are especially predominant in Louisiana. According to data from Louisiana State University, almost 300 people died in alcohol-related crashes last year.
BATON ROUGE — A leader of conservative state House Republicans calls it "shameful" that the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a $25.6 billion budget that contained piecemeal, one-time funding. Rep. Brett Geymann is one of three dozen lawmakers so-called "fiscal hawks" who pushed for reduced spending.
BATON ROUGE — Voters will face a list of questions in the fall election, constitutional changes proposed by lawmakers for them to consider, including provisions about gun rights and pension revocation.
Nine proposals to amend the Louisiana Constitution will be on the Nov. 6 ballot after the action of the legislative session.
In the most attention-grabbing item, voters will decide whether to toughen the state's constitutional protections for weapon owners and whether to remove a provision that gives the Legislature explicit authority to limit concealed handguns.
BATON ROUGE — A sexual abuse scandal that rocked Pennsylvania State University has resulted in new laws in Louisiana to penalize those who fail to report allegations of child sex abuse and to protect those who do.
Lawmakers say the measures were inspired by the Penn State scandal that rocked the university's administration and its athletics department.
Three of the bills have been signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Republican governor said he intends to sign the fourth.
BATON ROUGE — With the state strapped for cash, Louisiana lawmakers have turned to the state's construction budget for their pet projects.
In coordination with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the House and Senate piled in millions of dollars for local parks, sewage and water projects, economic development initiatives and more — $120 million more than the state can afford to spend on construction projects.
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana's colleges are bracing for the newest rounds of budget cuts, with higher education hit with a $25 million cut in the final month of this fiscal year and another $66 million in slashing for the upcoming budget year.
The reductions are lower than lawmakers considered before they wrapped up their work. But they fall on top of years of reductions that campus leaders say are chasing away administration leaders, faculty and students.
BATON ROUGE — Fine and penalty money the state receives because of the Gulf Coast oil spill will be earmarked to Louisiana's coastal protection fund, under a bill that received final legislative passage.
The measure by Jeanerette Rep. Simone Champagne deals with money that could be received by the state for violations of federal pollution standards, a figure that could total billions of dollars. The coastal protection fund, where the money would be placed, is used for coastal restoration projects and hurricane protection efforts.
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana lawmakers have shut down their regular legislative session, ending three months of bitter disputes over budgets, education and retirement. Gov. Bobby Jindal won a big victory for his overhaul of the state education system despite divisions between the GOP governor and some House Republicans.
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana House has agreed to a $25.6 billion budget for next year that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in spending above the figure sought by a group of conservative Republicans.
Lawmakers voted 62-40 Sunday for the Senate version of the spending plans for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The vote gave final passage to the measure, sending it to GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal. He supports the larger budget, rather than the deeper cuts sought by the conservative bloc.
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana House will take up a proposal to use $205 million from the state's "rainy day" fund to offset a deficit in this year's budget. The House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to tap into the Budget Stabilization Fund. The move is overwhelmingly backed by the Senate. A bloc of conservative House Republicans voted against using the money.