An estimated $208 million in property tax breaks for businesses have been stalled at the request of Governor John Bel Edwards. The Board of Commerce and Industry agreed Thursday in a 14-2 vote, to delay a decision on 305 applications for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. New and expanding manufacturing facilities are allowed, under the state constitution, an exemption from paying local property taxes for up to 10 years. The Board of Commerce and Industry and the governor must sign off on the exemptions. Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said the governor and his economic development secretary are devising new rules for reviewing such exemption requests and Edwards wanted more time to look at the list proposed. The tax breaks are slated to come up at the June 24 meeting.
Eleven states are suing the Obama administration over a new directive about transgender students in public schools. The lawsuit announced Wednesday includes Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, Utah, Arizona and Georgia. The challenge follows a federal directive to U.S. schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. The lawsuit accuses the Obama administration of "running roughshod over commonsense policies" that protect children. It asks a judge to declare the directive unlawful.
An effort is underway to help laid-off oil and gas industry workers find training options and new jobs in south Louisiana. A new website, BayouOpportunity.com, will offer workers an opportunity to find employment. The website will also provide links for career help from various agencies including the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as well as training resources. Job seekers can also register on the website for an Industrial Trades Job Fair that will be held June 10 at Fletcher Technical Community College in Schriever. Those with oil and gas experience are encouraged to attend and bring their resumes. The job fair will feature companies with openings in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and around southern Louisiana.
Congressman Ralph Abraham introduced legislation on Monday, May 23, that seeks to halt the Obama administration’s executive overreach regarding the transgender bathroom directive handed down to public schools. Earlier this month, President Obama issued a directive stating that any public school that failed to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their "gender identity" would be found in violation of Title IX. He warned that such a violation could result in the loss of federal funds. However, Title IX has been widely interpreted to refer to biological sex since it became enacted in 1972. It was originally passed to rectify inequality among the sexes, particularly in regards to athletic opportunities and after school programs. The bill Dr. Abraham introduced Monday, amends Title IX by simply clarifying that "the term ‘sex’ means with respect to an individual the biological sex of such individual."
An unrestrained Clarence man was killed in Natchitoches Parish Sunday, May 22. State police responded to the crash around 1:40 p.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 480 near US 71. The crash involved a 2006 Toyota Corolla, driven by 56 year-old John L. Turner Jr. The Toyota was eastbound on LA Hwy 480 when Turner lost control and ran off the right side of the road. Turner overcorrected his vehicle, reentered the roadway, and ran off the left side. The Toyota then collided with a ditch and began overturning. Turner was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to state police, Turner was unrestrained and alcohol use is a suspected factor.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Sunday, May 22, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Christi Duke, of Winnfield. Duke was charged with possession of alligator skins, prohibited acts, possession of Schedule I and Schedule II substances, and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. Also arrested Sunday was Gregory Roberts, of Winnfield, for possession of Schedule I and Schedule II substances, prohibited acts, and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. On Monday, May 23, deputies arrested James Smith, of Jonesboro, for driving under suspension and no tail lights. On Wednesday, May 25, Mickal Riggs, of Winnfield, was arrested for assault with a firearm. Also arrested Wednesday was Linda Lestage, of Winnfield, for simple battery. Christopher Riddle, of Goldonna, was arrested Wednesday for possession of drug paraphenalia, no seat belt, and driving under suspension.
Winnfield residents are invited to a sendoff celebration for a local resident who is leaving for a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. A salute to Major Jeremy Kelly, of Winnfield, is scheduled Saturday, June 4, at 4:00 p.m. Activities will be at The Main Event, located at 404 West Main Street in Winnfield. Kelly is the director of training for the Louisiana Air National Guard, and assists the commander, director of operations, and command chief on matters concerning TACP training. While serving with the U.S. Air Force, Kelly served as an Air Weapons Officer and an Electronic Combat Officer on AWACS and went on three deployments in the Middle East. Kelly is among five persons from Louisiana who will be deployed to Afghanistan on Monday, June 6.A mandated reporting seminar on how to recognize, report, and stop child abuse will be held Tuesday, May 31, at the Family Church in Winnfield. The seminar will be given by Wade Bond, Director of the Children's Advocacy Center, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. The seminar is open to the public, and registered nurses and social workers will receive one free contact hour. The Winn Ranger District of the Kisatchie National Forest will host the 14th Annual Youth Fishing Derby Saturday, June 11, at the Bombing Range Pond near the Gum Springs Recreation Area. Children age 2 through 12 are invited to participate, and the derby will provide a fun, exciting, and an educational fishing experience for area youth. Each child that attends the derby will leave with a prize. Donations are also needed, and persons making donations can make checks payable to the Winnfield Bass Club, and mail donations to the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Highway 84 West, Winnfield, LA, Attention Ginger Cummings. For more information, contact the Winn Ranger District at 628-4664.
Congressman Ralph Abraham has announced satellite office hours for Central Louisiana parishes. Office hours for Winn Parish will be in the Winn Parish Police Jury meeting room at 119 West Main Street, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. Constituents are encouraged to visit the staff during these hours if they need help with any federal agency. Staff members are also available during business hours at the Central Louisiana District Office in Alexandria, which can be reached at 318-445-0818.
The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, June 14, 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