GUNS AT THE CAPITOL
Rewritten bill bans judges' guns in the Capitol
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state senator who couldn't persuade his colleagues to let lawmakers carry concealed handguns in the Louisiana Capitol doesn't want anybody else to have guns there either.
Sen. Bret Allain's bill was defeated earlier this month. On Wednesday, he rewrote the proposal to instead remove existing law that allows judges, district attorneys, constables, coroners and justices of the peace to carry in the Capitol.
Currently, the Capitol is a gun-free zone except for state troopers who provide security and the list of exceptions for the judiciary.
Allain, a Republican from Franklin, told senators he heard them loud and clear that "nobody wants guns at the Capitol."
The Senate voted 32-6 for the rewritten bill, which heads to the House for debate.
House refuses to put limits on Tulane scholarships
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A bid to put restrictions on how lawmakers can dole out their Tulane University scholarships has been rejected by the Louisiana House.
Rep. Harold Ritchie, a Democrat from Bogalusa, sought to prohibit lawmakers from giving scholarships to students whose family members have contributed to their campaigns. His bill also would have required publication of information saying if a scholarship recipient is related to an elected official.
The House voted 53-44 against the proposal Wednesday.
Rep. Jeff Thompson, a Republican from Bossier City, said while the bill was well-intentioned, he saw no need to tweak the program. He said lawmakers are held accountable by their constituents and their consciences.
The program lets each state lawmaker give one student annually a Tulane scholarship, an award worth up to nearly $47,000 a year.
House agrees to repeal REAL ID ban in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana House has agreed to repeal a state law prohibiting compliance with federal standards that will be required for ID cards used to board domestic flights.
Under Rep. Karen St. Germain's bill, drivers in Louisiana could choose if they want a license compliant with the REAL ID standards or a license that doesn't comply.
State lawmakers enacted a prohibition against compliance with the federal law in 2008 because of privacy concerns.
But if licenses aren't deemed REAL ID-compliant by 2016, Louisiana residents could run into flying difficulties. They could need a passport to board domestic flights or face intense questioning from airport security.
The House voted 79-22 Wednesday for St. Germain's bill, sending it to the Senate for consideration.
Fund set up for funeral costs of woman, son
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A memorial fund has been set up for a woman and her son, who were found murdered in their Gonzales home. The money collected will help with the funeral expenses.
WAFB-TV reports a GoFundMe account has been established to assist the family in paying for funerals for 40-year-old Dewona Green and her 12-year-old son Ronald Green Jr.
They were shot to death April 17 allegedly by Ronald Green Sr. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office says the suspect called someone around 2 a.m. that day and admitted killing his wife and son and planned to jump off a bridge. Authorities said it was possible Green jumped into the Mississippi River but investigators haven't ruled out the possibility that Green - who hasn't been found - is still alive.
New Orleans sergeant accused in child porn case
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A veteran New Orleans Police sergeant has been arrested on child pornography charges.
According to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, 54-year-old Bradley Wax was booked Wednesday with 38 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles. Sheriff's spokesman Capt. George Bonnett confirms Wax was at the St. Tammany Parish jail. It was unclear if he has an attorney.
WWL-TV reported Wax is a 16-year veteran assigned to the police department's 4th District. According to the attorney general's office, an undercover operation led investigators to get a search warrant for Wax's home in January. Investigators later found child pornography on his computer and other electronic devices.
Wax is on emergency suspension without pay pending the outcome of an ongoing criminal investigation. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison on each count.
No charges for man who shot cousin's kidnapper
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A Lafayette Parish grand jury has declined to bring charges against a man in the fatal shooting of a suspect accused of abducting and stabbing his cousin.
The shooting happened in November after Bethany Arceneaux was abducted from a day care center where she was picking up her child.
Authorities said the suspect was her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Scott Thomas.
Thomas held Arceneaux at an abandoned house for two days before relatives found her.
Thomas was fatally shot by 23-year-old Marcus Arceneaux, the woman's cousin.
Thomas began stabbing Bethany Arceneaux after relatives arrived to rescue her and authorities said it appeared that Marcus Arceneaux fired to save his cousin's life.
Senators reject Medicaid expansion bill
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
The definitive 6-2 vote Wednesday against expansion likely ends the Senate's debate on the issue for the session.
Sen. Ben Nevers' bill would have let voters decide whether to direct Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to offer insurance coverage to up to 250,000 adults, mainly the working poor - with most of the cost picked up by the federal government.
Opponents, including Jindal, say the expansion is too costly to the state and federal government.
The vote of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee divided along party lines. Republicans voted to kill the measure, while Democrats supported passage.
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