Archive for April, 2017

Ruston City Council Monday

04/30/2017

The Ruston City Council will meet Monday, May 1, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

School Board to Re-vote Supt Pay Raise

04/28/2017

Due to what is described as a “procedural error,” next Tuesday’s (May 2) meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will have mulligan on the March action to award Superintendent Mike Milstead a $10 thousand/year pay raise and contract extension.

From the memo and agenda:

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Robinson has noted a procedural error in the extension of the Superintendent’s contract at the March meeting; therefore, the Executive Committee will meet at 5:45p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, 2017,to consider the same.

Also, the Employment of the Superintendent policy-CED says the contract period can extend no longer than two years after the expiration of the term of office of the Board. Because board members’ current term ends in December 2018, instead of a full four year contract,the maximum time period for this contract is three and one-half years.

Lincoln Parish News Online had noted in a news story earlier this month that the March action was likely not valid because the committee that recommended the action did not have a public meeting.

The full board meeting is set for 6:00 PM at the Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln School Tax Vote Tomorrow

04/28/2017

Polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM tomorrow (Saturday, April 29) for Lincoln Parish voters to cast their ballot on re-imposition of expiring property taxes for area schools.

The combined total of 18.36 mils, if approved, would cost the owner of a $250 thousand house about $320/yr.

To find your voting location, go to this page at the LA Secretary of State website, type in your name, zip code, birth month and year. The name and address of the polling place will be shown.

Wheels Come off Bel Edwards’ Tax Train

04/25/2017

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed controversial business tax dies before House committee

BY TYLER BRIDGES | tbridges@theadvocate.com

The centerpiece of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ tax package – a proposed tax on corporate sales known as the commercial activity tax – died before the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday afternoon.

State Rep. Sam Jones, the bill’s sponsor, knowing it would be killed, asked the committee to voluntarily defer the bill. That effectively means it’s dead for the legislative session.

Jones’ move prevented him and Edwards from suffering an embarrassing vote and forcing Democratic members of the committee from voting for an unpopular measure that had no chance.

Louisiana DA’s Also Have Destin Junket!

04/24/2017

REGISTRATION

Registration is open to everyone employed within the criminal justice system. The registratioon fee is $325 for registrations postmarked or faxed before Friday, May 26, 2017, and $425 after this date. The late registration fee is $525 at the door. The registration fee includes all training sessions, handouts and coffee breaks for the registrant, and planned social functions for the registrant and spouse/guest. Accommodations, travel expenses, and incidentals are the responsibility of the registrant. Payment may be made at a later date prior to the Conference.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The Association has obtained special accommodation rates for attendees at the Conference site, the Sandestin Resort, located at 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West in Destin, Florida. All rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes and fees in effect at time of check-in.

Here’s a link to the conference webpage.

Taxpayer Funded Courthouse Crowd Vacation Time!!

04/21/2017

Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2009



Sumlin Trial Put Off Until October

04/19/2017

Trial for former State Representative William Sumlin was rescheduled for 9:00 AM, Monday, October 30. It had been set for next week.

The action came yesterday afternoon at Division B Judge Tommy Rogers’ Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

Yesterday’s hearing was on a motion to strike by the defense, but that too was reset for 1:30 PM, July 18.

Sumlin was charged in October, 2015 with indecent behavior with a juvenile, and a Lincoln Parish Grand Jury returned an indictment in December, 2015.

Representing Sumlin was Lavalle Salomon, and representing the State was Chief Felony Prosecutor Lewis Jones.

Speed Trap: Slaughter, LA

04/19/2017

From The Hayride

Needless To Say, Slaughter’s Mayor Robert Jackson Ought To Resign Yesterday If Not Sooner

By Scott McKay

Something both conservatives and liberals ought to be able to agree upon is that the traffic and criminal laws shouldn’t be a vehicle for local government revenue.

Which is to say, it is an abuse of power to see the writing of tickets as a means of taxing the populace rather than to promote public safety. That’s why Louisiana law, in RS: 40:2401.1, declares…

“municipalities and their police departments are prohibited from establishing or maintaining on a formal or informal basis policies which require or suggest predetermined or specified number of any type or combination of arrests or traffic citations.”

Unfortunately, the town of Slaughter, which is in East Feliciana Parish northeast of Baton Rouge, has a mayor who doesn’t give a fig about his constituents and certainly has no regard for state law. Bobby Jackson was caught on tape commanding the town’s police chief and his chief deputy to have his officers write 40 tickets apiece each month, which is about double what they currently write. Regardless of what it’ll take to write those tickets.

Thankfully, the chief deputy recorded the conversation and gave it to WBRZ-TV…

It’s fair to say the mayor acquitted himself poorly in that interview. It’s also fair to say he’s not exactly a leader you’d expect great results from.

But Bobby Jackson, who ought to clear out of his office and go back to whatever private sector job he has on the side before lunch today, isn’t alone. This business of using law enforcement to prey upon the populace in order to raise money for the ruling class, is a lot more widespread than it ought to be. It’s a practice which goes all the way back to medieval times; there is an unquestionable feudal odor to the idea of manipulating the law so as to squeeze the serfs out of their spare change.

And in larger towns than Slaughter – Baton Rouge is a great example – using the cops as a cash generator by hammering away at tickets for inspection stickers and driving five miles an hour over the speed limit rather than having them concentrate on fulfilling the vow to protect and serve is common practice. One of the expected results from the Alton Sterling investigation the Justice Department is going to release soon, while the police officer who shot Sterling is likely to be exonerated, is that the BRPD and city-parish government will come under fire for burying its citizens, and particularly poor and black citizens, under a financial burden with excessive and expensive traffic and other tickets. That was one of DOJ’s key findings when it investigated the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri – that town was using the issuance of tickets as a means of alternative taxation, and forcing lots of poor citizens into outlaw status because they simply couldn’t afford $500 for a speeding ticket, and so forth.

This should be greatly discouraged. It’s one thing to enforce traffic laws, though those can be enforced by a police officer stopping a motorist and delivering a friendly lecture on road safety just as much as sticking a driver with hundreds of dollars in fines. It’s another to use the police as something akin to mob enforcers. It’s correct that this should be illegal, and if Jackson won’t resign here’s hoping Attorney General Jeff Landry writes the mayor a big ticket of his own.

Lincoln School Tax Early Voting Underway

04/17/2017

Early voting got underway Saturday to reimpose three Lincoln Parish School District property taxes that are set to expire at the end of 2018. The three taxes total 18.36 mils. That amounts to about $320/yr for the owner of a $250 thousand house.

See here the propositions:

Proposition No. 1

Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana (the “District”), levy a special tax of four and ninety-four hundredths (4.94) mills on all property subject to taxation within the District (an estimated $2,156,200 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2019 and ending with the year 2028, for the purpose of constructing, equipping and/or improving school buildings in the District or for the maintenance thereof?

Proposition No. 2

Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana (the “District”), levy a special tax of four and ninety-four hundredths (4.94) mills on all property subject to taxation within the District (an estimated $2,156,200 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2019 and ending with the year 2028, for the purpose of giving additional support for operation of public schools in the District?

Proposition No. 3

Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana, levy an eight and forty-eight hundredths (8.48) mills tax on all the property subject to taxation in said School District (an estimated $3,701,350 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2020 and ending with the year 2029, for the purpose of giving additional support to public elementary and secondary schools, more specifically as follows: (i) 50% for paying salaries and benefits of teachers and other employees of the Lincoln Parish School Board, and (ii) 50% for paying retirees single coverage health insurance premiums, paying for computer technology equipment, software, maintenance and training, cost of mandated summer school program, and for operating, improving and maintaining school buildings, facilities, vehicles and equipment?

Early voting is through Saturday, April 22, at the Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters Office, Lincoln Parish Court House, ground floor, 8:30 AM to 6PM.

The election date is Saturday, April 29.

Substance Abuse Clinic for Alcoholic Federal Judge

04/13/2017

Records: Federal judge in Louisiana diagnosed with ‘alcohol use disorder,’ moved into assisted living

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

A federal judge whose unusual behavior preceded her mysterious removal from a string of cases was ordered to get treatment for alcoholism so severe a colleague believes she cannot take care of herself, according to court records released Thursday.

The records revealing U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi’s alcoholism don’t answer whether it was a factor in the secretive interruptions in her Louisiana courtroom. But the documents show she moved into an assisted living facility specializing in “memory care” within three months of presiding over a criminal trial that was cut short without explanation.

The mandate for Minaldi to complete at least 90 days of substance abuse treatment came from a higher court official — the chief judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A newly released medical record cites the severity of Minaldi’s alcoholism and unspecified “legal consequences she had attained” as the reasons for that requirement.

It is unclear when Chief Judge Carl Stewart imposed that mandate, but Minaldi, 58, has been on medical leave since late December. She arrived at a rehab facility Jan. 4, according to a “patient discharge summary” included in the now-unsealed records.