Choice cuts from Acadiana's news media for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014:
'Reefer Madness' lives on
When it comes to Louisiana’s stance on marijuana, our state is and will continue to be stuck in the stone age, as was witnessed Tuesday in the capital. The issue, according to this report from KATC TV 3, came up for discussion during a hearing before the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. Arguing against any changes to our state’s marijuana laws (not even decriminalization?) was Louisiana District Attorney’s Association President Charles Scott, who offered the outdated stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” To further bolster his argument, Scott adds this confusing nugget of wisdom: “When you’ve served in the drug section and you’ve spent time in the drug court and you’ve seen addicts come in that are hooked on drugs.” At least ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman was on the scene to give this sage advice (though it’s likely to have fallen on deaf ears): “I think we need to realize that our laws are out of sync. They’re out of sync with our neighbors and they’re out of sync with popular opinion. Certainly it makes sense to consider whether we are treating people far too harshly for an offense that ultimately hurts no one.” In Louisiana, a second conviction for marijuana possession carries a potential sentence of five years in prison and 20 years for a third. Considering decriminalization couldn’t even pass muster with our legislature, and that was only last year, it’s probably a safe assumption that legalization will be a long time coming. In the meantime, the only thing getting higher, at least legally, will be the number of nonviolent offenders going on lock-down in our already overcrowded jails.
A courthouse lovers’ quarrel
Based on this report from the Opelousas Daily World, it seems the recent actions of John Moreau — the now former St. Landry Parish Registrar of Voters arrested Friday on a felony charge — were those of a scorned lover unleashing his fury on the vehicle of a “former dating partner.” That, at least, is how his victim, Susan Gerace, listed her relationship with Moreau in a restraining order filed last week. Complicating matters even further, or at least adding a little drama to the story, is that Gerace and Moreau’s wife both work in the office of 27th Judicial District Judge James Doherty; talk about an awkward work environment. It appears this court house love triangle, however, has since come to an end, as Moreau tendered his resignation shortly after his arrest last week.
When lips are sealed
Within one week, there have been reports of two separate shooting incidents in Abbeville in which the victims refuse to name their assailants. The reason? They either fear retaliation for being a snitch, or perhaps, they’ve got something to hide. Either way, it’s got local law enforcers perplexed. “It is frustrating and I do not understand,” Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy tells Vermilion Today. According to this report from the local paper, here’s a plausible explanation for the silence from the victim of the second shooting: When officers arrived at the scene Monday, they spotted a blood trail, which led them to an empty garage behind an empty rent house, and inside the garage, a whole lot of drugs. The first report, however, involved a male victim who was shot in the groin, which sounds painful and could very well explain why he hasn’t gotten around to talking yet.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 22, 2014:
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.