The House approves a proposal to allow drug felons to receive food stamps. Michelle Southern has more…
A Senate-backed measure to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts to the Jimmy D. Long Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts clears a House panel. Emelie Gunn reports:
Drug felons would be eligible for food stamps for the first time in decades under a House-approved measure by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno. In the 1990s offenders with drug related charges were barred from the assistance program, while all other felons remained eligible. Moreno says all but six states have lifted these restrictions because they don’t make sense anymore.
Winnsboro Representative Steve Pylant says drug offenders have the highest recidivism rate of any criminals. That’s why the former sheriff proposed an amendment to require them to submit to routine drug tests in order to receive food stamps. He says we need safeguards to ensure the money is being spent as it should be.
Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson says there’s no study to show that drug felons will use their benefits to buy drugs. She says these offenders should not be treated differently than others because it could hurt their chances of transitioning back into the community.
The amended measure passed in the House on a 77-17 vote.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is not happy the Humane Society of Louisiana sent out a release about a dog that was killed after being dragged behind a pickup truck. Captain Daniel Seuzeneau says before deputies were notified about this incident, the photo of the man involved was shared feverously across social media.
Seuzeneau reminds the public that if information doesn’t come from an official law enforcement source, be cautious before posting. He says the man involved has been identified and is fully cooperating with authorities.
Seuzeneau says they are currently interviewing the man, witnesses and have sent the dog off for a necropsy. He says they are in the process of conducting a fair and unbiased investigation.
Two bills are heading to the Governor’s desk that seek to close loopholes in Louisiana’s domestic violence laws. One measure by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno adds dating partners to the laws. Interim executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski, says current laws don’t offer the same protections to couples who do not have children or live together. She says these victims need protection under the law.
Another measure by Marrero Representative Patrick Connick includes same-sex partners in domestic violence laws. Wineski says previously, Louisiana was one of only two states that excluded same-sex couples from these statutes. She says closing this loophole can save lives.
Wineski says previously abusers of same-sex or dating partners could not be charged under domestic violence laws. She says that means they could only be charged with something like simple battery, which doesn’t carry the same penalty as a domestic violence offense. She says now all domestic abusers will face the same penalties.
A measure to change the name of the Louisiana School of Math, Science and Arts to the Jimmy D. Long Louisiana School of Math, Science and Arts passed on a 5 to 2 vote in the House Education Committee. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson says his bill by no means diminishes the contributions of the great men and women that have graduated from LSMSA.
Thompson says the Senate backed measure is not changing the name but creating an addition to honor the man who founded the school. Many LSMSA graduates are concerned this will affect the chances of students being accepted into prestigious universities. Thompson says this will not change the school’s brand.
President of the LSMSA School Alumni Association Jamie Smith says this bill was filed out of emotion after the untimely death of Jimmy Long. He says there are other ways to honor the remarkable man, like naming a new dorm after him.
Smith says alumni and people involved with the school will be hurt if the name is changed without their input. He says stakeholders are overwhelmingly against the bill.