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 was Louisiana District Attorney’s Association President Charles Scott, who offered the outdated stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.”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.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
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.
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: