The Louisiana Legislature is looking into the cost associated with carrying out the death penalty in the state. Louisiana Senator J.P. Morrell, of New Orleans, is heading up a new Capital Punishment Fiscal Impact Commission. The group's first meeting was held last Wednesday morning. Currently, Louisiana does not have a well-researched estimate of how much it is spending on capital punishment trials and execution, according to Morrell. The commission's goal is to get an idea of what the overall price tag is for executions in the state.As the quarantine period ends for people exposed to the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola, the virus for the first time ranks among the top 10 issues Americans consider to be the most important ones facing the country. However, Ebola still ranks behind five other issues, including the economy (17%), dissatisfaction with government (16%) and unemployment (10%), and ties several others. These results come from the October 12 - 15 Gallup poll, conducted while dozens of people in the U.S. were still being quarantined after coming in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who died earlier this month from the virus. Two of the nurses who cared for Duncan have now been diagnosed with the virus. Most others who had contact with Duncan were quarantined for three weeks, which ended Monday. Governor Bobby Jindal has announced that the only greater public office he wishes to occupy in the future is President of the United States. According to a news release, Jindal indicated that he would either serve as President or leave politics altogether. Jindal also said that he would not seek office in the Senate nor the House. Jindal has not formally decided that he will run for president in 2016 and said that a formal decision should be made following the holiday season. However, many politicians are giving Jindalís term as governor middle-ground marks. On a scale of 1 to 10, the governor has received scores in the 4-7 range.
A Sabine Parish inmate who escaped early Monday morning from the Sabine Parish Detention Center after freeing himself from restraints and running past a deputy is back in custody. 31-year-old Mack H. Johnson Jr., of Many, returned to the detention center around 5:30 p.m. Deputies say Johnson will face additional charges of simple escape, battery of a police officer and negligent injury. Johnson was in custody because of pending charges of theft and forgery. Johnson had been free since around 3:30 a.m. when he was able to wrestle away from a deputy and run away.
Louisiana delinquent taxpayers have until November 14, to pay off delinquent tax bills without having to pay all the penalties or interest on the debt. The program is intended to provide an incentive for people to pay the government the money they owe more quickly than they would have otherwise. Louisiana's state budget is depending on the tax amnesty to bring in at least $100 million. If it falls short, there will could be midyear cuts to the state's higher education and health care spending. Secretary Tim Barfield of the Department of Revenue and Taxation is fairly confident the program will reach the $100 million goal. Last year's amnesty program brought in about $435 million.
Voters trying to sort through the details of 14 constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot have an online guide they can consult. The nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, known as PAR, has released its online informational guide on the proposals to rewrite the state constitution. The amendments can be dense, dealing with health care funding changes, property taxes and transportation financing. This yearís ballot contains one of the largest number of amendments voters have ever faced at once. PARís guide provides background information for each amendment, describes the change and offers arguments both in support and opposition. It also includes a checklist, so voters can decide which amendments they support or oppoe and take that list into the voting booth. The guide is available at www.parlouisiana.com.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Wednesday, October 15, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Christy Ingles, of Winnfield. Ingles was charged with distribution of methamphetamine. On Thursday, October 16, Humberto Rodriguez, of Winnfield, was arrested for careless operation and indecent behavior with a juvenile. Also arrested Thursday was Reginald Thomas, of Winnfield, on a warrant for failure to appear. Caleb Cummings, of Winnfield, was arrested Thursday for violation of bond restriction. Christopher Stevenson, of Winnfield, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear. Also arrested was Vernon McCoy, of Van Nuys, California, for possession of cocaine.
The Winn Parish School Board will hold a special meeting Monday, October 27, at 5:00 p.m. in the Winn Parish School Board office. The Board will meet to hear a student disciplinary hearing appeal. There will also be a meeting of the Academics and Instruction Committee at 5:00 p.m., to discuss the Office of Rural Health Grant.Early voting for the November 4 election will continue until Tuesday, October 28 in the Registrar of Voters Office in the Winn Parish Courthouse. The hours for early voting will be 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day, with no early voting on Sunday. The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, November 11, at 9:00 a.m., at the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Office, at 602 North Fifth Street in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend this meeting, and assistance will be provided to those who need special accommodations in order to attend this meeting. For more information, persons may call 225.342.1500
The Juanita Pharr Cancer Support Group meets on the first Friday of each month at 12:00 noon for a dutch treat meeting. All cancer survivors and caretakers are invited. There is a different meeting place each month, and persons may contact Maxine Godman for more information at 628-3858.