This morning, just 23 miles west of New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre Spillway will open its bays, allowing water from a swelling Mississippi to drain into Lake Pontchartrain. Matt Doyle has more.
Cut 1 (30) “I’m Matt Doyle.”
The 32-year-old mother of an Acadiana High student was arrested last week for posting a video on social media of two children fighting at the school will not be prosecuted.
Cut 2 (30) “…I’m Kevin Barnhart”
Senator John Kennedy is demanding to know how much the Louisiana Department of Health spent on ineligible Medicaid recipients after the implementation of a new system kicked tens of thousands of recipients off the rolls. Matt Doyle has the story.
Cut 3 (30) “I’m Matt Doyle”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open over 30 bays on Bonnet Carrie Spillway in St. Charles Parish this morning and the flood control structure could remain open for the next month to relive pressure as the Mississippi River swells, threatening the New Orleans levee system. Colonel Michael Clancy says they’ve been in a flood fight since November 2nd.
Cut 4 (10) “….Snow melt”
When the Spillway opens, it diverts a portion of the Mississippi’s flow into a seven mile long empty plain that drains into Lake Pontchartrain.
The river’s flow is set to exceed 1.25 million cubic feet per second, surpassing the New Orleans levee system’s capacity. Clancy says that’s enough water to fill up the entire volume of the Superdome every minute.
Cut 5 (08) “…picture that.”
It’s the first time in history the Spillway has opened in back-to-back years and it’s only been used 13 times since it was constructed. The structure was built in 1931 after the 1927 floods.
41 percent of the nation’s watersheds drain into the Mississippi, and Clancy says to compensate for the abnormally large amount of water, they’ll have to flood the salt water Pontchartrain with tens of thousands of cubic feet per second of Mississippi fresh water.
Cut 6 (09) “…From there.”
200 bays could be opened during peak usage.
The 32-year-old mother of an Acadiana High student was arrested last week for posting a video on social media of two children fighting at the school will not be prosecuted. DA Keith Stutes says he has reviewed the case, and is not accepting the charges. Legal analyst Franz Borghardt says he believes the decision by the DA’s office is fair and just.
Cut 7 (10) “…in prosecuting it.”
Borghardt says now the mother Maegan Adkins-Barras doesn’t have to worry about prosecution, the situation may give rise to a civil suit against the Scott Police Department for the arrest.
Cut 8 (08) “…and move forward.”
The charge of Unlawful Posting of Criminal Activity for Notoriety and Publicity is a relatively new law and has not been constitutionally challenged. Borghardt says the DA’s decision sets a precedence on whether law enforcement will make future arrests for the crime.
Cut 9 (10) “…waste of energy.″
Governor John Bel Edwards is celebrating the news that Louisiana set another record high for total GDP in the third quarter of 2018. The state’s GDP rose to 252 billion in the third quarter, up 2.3 billion from the second. Department of Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says it’s part of a continued string of success stories for the state economy.
Cut 10 (11) “…record number.”
Pierson says the numbers are even more impressive when you consider the negative impact a series of trade wars have had on Louisiana’s agricultural and export/import based economy.
Cut 11 (11) “…timber sectors.”
The President recently extended a deadline for imposing further tariffs on China, citing recent progress in negotiations.
The Secretary says there’s a few heavy industries in particular you can point to for the state’s rising GDP.
Cut 12 (10) “…we’re hopeful.”
Critics have pointed out that the state’s 1.9 percent growth rate in Q3 is far below the US’s total GDP growth of 3.4 percent.
Senator John Kennedy lit into the Louisiana Department of Health, demanding to know exactly how much money has been spent on Medicaid recipients who were found to be ineligible for the program. Kennedy says he would like the Legislator Auditor to find out how much was spent, but at the end of the the state may be unable to recoup the costs.
Cut 13 (11) “…for good.”
37,000 people were found income ineligible after a new computer system ran a check of the entire Medicaid database. The usual turnover in a given month is 18,000.
LDH Secretary Rebekah Gee defended the department saying under the old system income was self reported, and even if an ineligible person received services, almost all of the cost was covered by the feds. Gee says the majority of those found ineligible made just above the line, and would still be considered working poor.
Cut 14 (08) “…any money”
Kennedy criticized the defense, citing one case of a person making 300,000 a year while signed up for Medicaid.
The new program, implemented this year, confirms a persons income with Workforce Development before approving or denying an application, or booting an enrollee off the program. Kennedy says the new system may not be trustworthy, but Gee says it was installed by a vendor who’s done trustworthy work in other states.
Cut 15 (10) “that statement”
But Kennedy distrust of the new income check system. The Senator called for the Legislative Auditor to confirm the system’s integrity, saying LDH leadership was not trustworthy, and claims Gee’s past record indicates that you shouldn’t just take her at her word.
Cut 16 (12) “…times faster.”
Gee says the Senator has been uncooperative in the past, refusing to return calls or talk to LDH after making previous accusations against the department.