PM Newscall March 28,2017

Legislation has been filed for the upcoming session that would up the cigarette tax by 22-cents to $1.30 a pack. Emelie Gunn has more….

Cut 1 (31) “I’m Emelie Gunn”


The state conducted an audit finding Louisiana’s drinking water systems aren’t producing enough revenue to keep up with the infrastructure leading to poor drinking water. Michelle Southern has more…

Cut 2 (30) “I’m Michelle Southern”


A plan to provide all Louisiana school districts with high speed internet has been scrapped. Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, Scott Richard says districts were given a short time period to commit to a plan with very little information from the Board of Regents. He says every school district wants to have high speed internet access, but funding uncertainties caused many to be hesitant.

Cut 3 (10) “this endeavor”

Only 11 out of 69 districts signed up for the program by the deadline last week. Richard says in the initial documents, it appeared the service would be available to school districts at no cost, but they would enter into a partnership with the Board of Regents. He says the documents didn’t clearly explain the details of that agreement.

Cut 4  (08) “already receive”

Richard says they believe local districts will have an opportunity to pursue this going forward. But he says there’s also uncertainty at the federal level with the new administration. He says proposed cuts to funding streams for internet in rural areas are raising some concern.

Cut 5  (07)  “been proposed”


A measure has been filed for the upcoming legislative session that would increase cigarette taxes by 22-cents. Currently, the tax on a pack of cigarettes is $1.08 and the proposal would up that to $1.30 a pack. Author of the legislation, West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman, says this increase would generate more revenue for the state and lead to a healthier Louisiana.

Cut 6 (06) “makes sense”

Since 2015, the legislature has increased the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 72-cents.  Hoffman says the money generated from the 22-cent increase would go into the general fund.

Cut 7 (09)  “cigarette world”

Louisiana’s cigarette tax ranks 36th in the country for highest in the country. Hoffman hopes the bill will receive enough votes to pass and expects positive results because there has been success with similar measures in the past.

Cut 8 (08) “with that”


The state conducted an audit looking at water rates in Louisiana and found the rates many rural communities are paying, don’t produce enough revenue to keep up with the water system, leading to poor drinking water quality. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says big cities have a better quality of water because of number of people paying, but poor communities like, St. Joseph, have failing systems.

Cut 9 (10)  “be replaced”

The EPA finds Louisiana water systems would need to spend 5.3 billion dollars on drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years. Guidry says with the state’s budget problems, it’s hard to prioritize where drinking water fits in. He says many people don’t want to pay more to fix the problem.

Cut 10 (08) “too high”

The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the Bayou State’s drinking water infrastructure a D-plus. The state audit found that 41-percent of local water systems tested had expenses that exceed revenue. Guidry says if you don’t keep up with an aging system, the repair costs continue to rise. He hopes this audit makes residents and elected officials realize drinking water is a key part of our heath.

Cut 11 (09) “the tap”


A bill filed for the regular session seeks to protect Louisiana’s military monuments, including controversial confederate statues. Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody authored the legislation that would prohibit government from removing, relocating, or destroying a memorial that commemorates wars in US history. He says there’s also a provision to make sure the monuments can be maintained.

Cut 12 (07) “tended to”

Carmody says he represents many military veterans and since Louisiana has always been known for its support of military personnel, he wants to demonstrate that commitment through this legislation.

Cut 13 (11) “our behalf”

New Orleans is seeking to remove  Confederate monuments to be removed by mid-May. Carmody says the bill would protect any monument in Louisiana related to military actions of the United States. He says we should honor those who fought for our country and protect the monuments that commemorate their service.

Cut 14 (09) “our military”


Fans are giving Southeastern University’s mascot Roomie a makeover, as voting is open for the lion’s new look. Erin Cowser with SLU says Roomie’s current costume is a little over 7 years old, and the average lifespan of a mascot’s look is 6 to 10 years. She says they’ve learned when giving a mascot a makeover, it’s important not to totally change up the look.

Cut 15 (07) “a pushover”

Cowser She says the plan is to have the new mascot ready to go for football season. She says the designs for the lion mascot are on the university’s website where students, faculty, and fans can cast their votes. She notes that these are just initial sketches, as one design shows Roomie without any clothes.

Cut 16  (07)  “go commando”

Voting will be open through April 4 at