Louisiana's annual legislative session begins
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Legislature is opening its three-month regular session.
The action starts at noon Monday. Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to lawmakers an hour later, expected to focus largely on his workforce development proposals.
The Republican governor's legislative agenda is more limited than in previous years, with his top priority targeted to boosting job skills training for students in high school and college.
But lawmakers have filed more than 1,500 bills with a range of their own ideas. They'll debate whether to legalize medical marijuana, roll back the state's use of Common Core educational standards and raise the state's minimum wage.
They can tackle nearly any topic of interest - except taxes. And they must get a budget done before they go home.
The session must end by June 2.
FERAL HOGS-AIRBORNE HUNT
Shooters to aim at feral hogs from helicopters
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters flying over two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
Spokesman Bo Boehringer says he's been told one helicopter squad can kill as many as 300 hogs in a day. Officials estimate there are more than half a million feral hogs lose in Louisiana.
They'll be flying this week over three sections of the Sherburn Wildlife Management Area and the marshes south of U.S. Highway 90 in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area. Each section will be covered by a single helicopter.
The Pearl River Wildlife Management Area is in St. Tammany Parish. Sherburne is in Iberville, St. Martin and Pointe Coupee parishes.
BATON ROUGE-FATAL CRASH
Fatal hit and run accident in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police are investigating a fatal hit and run accident.
Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said the accident happened Sunday night on the eastbound Interstate 10/College Dr. Exit ramp.
Coppola says 45-year-old Troy Jacobson died after being hit by a blue compact vehicle that left the scene.
He says the car should have damage to the front bumper and hood area.
Southeastern expands occupational safety program
HAMMOND, La. (AP) - Southeastern Louisiana University is expanding its occupational, safety, health and environment program to include three new minors designed to complement existing degree programs.
Sebastian van Delden, head of the department of computer science and industrial technology, says the programs will be implemented in the fall semester.
The offerings include minors in safety, health and environment.
The university's occupational safety, health and environment degree is one of the few offered nationwide.
Associate professor Lu Yuan says graduates automatically earn the designation of graduate safety practitioner, a gateway to earning the certified safety professional certification.
Statewide projects vie for coastal money
HOUMA, La. (AP) - Eight wetland restoration projects are in the running for federal money this year.
The Courier reports the projects include work in both Lafourche and Terrebonne parish and are among 18 others statewide vying for money set aside by the federal Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act.
Simone Maloz, director of Thibodaux-based coastal restoration advocacy group Restore or Retreat, said the process is tedious, but it has aided in a number of projects and was at one time the only source of money to fight the continuing erosion of Louisiana's coastal wetlands.
A task force overseeing the federal money usually allocates between $30 million and $50 million for projects each year.
The latest projects will be further screened in April.
ASCENSION ROAD PROJECT
Officials push for grant to pay for access road
DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) - Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez said he and other parish officials had some success in pressing Ascension's case in Washington, D.C. for a federal grant to build a key road to Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
The Advocate reports Martinez told the parish council officials spoke with the Louisiana congressional delegation about using a TIGER grant for the $12 million to $15 million road.
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program had about $474 million set aside for fiscal 2013.
The road would tie South St. Landry Avenue, a key access road to the parish-owned Lamar-Dixon, into a new road already built in the Edenborne development. That road already links with La. 44 just south of Interstate 10.
Deputy faces criminal, administrative sanctions
PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) - A West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy arrested last week could face additional discipline after he shoved an Addis police officer and threatened another officer who, during a routine traffic stop, pulled over a car containing the deputy's wife, daughter and her boyfriend.
The Advocate reports Maj. Ronald Graham, chief of uniform patrol for the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, was arrested Wednesday for simple battery and issued a misdemeanor summons after his fiery confrontation with police officers in Brusly.
Col. Richie Johnson said an internal investigation of the incident involving Graham, a 30-year veteran of the force, is underway.
Graham referred all questions about the incident to his attorney, Glynn Delatte.
Delatte, a former law enforcement officer, said it appears everyone overreacted.
Lafayette board reviewing auditor's questions
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board's executive committee is considering how to respond to an external auditor's questions about discrepancies in the school district's salary schedule relative to the pay of some principals.
The Advocate reports the audit found that some employees were hired at a rate of pay that conflicted with the salary schedule approved by the board. Auditors also questioned whether the current salary schedule was in line with certain provisions of state law.
The board's executive committee could take the matter up for further discussion in the next few weeks.
The school system had to submit a corrective action plan to address the issue. That plan involves referring the findings to legal counsel and addressing the issue by March 31.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.