LA: Smoking Ban Clears House

BATON ROUGE — Smoking should be prohibited in vehicles with passengers 16 and younger, a House committee said Monday.

The Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works approved without objection House Bill 1021 by Rep. Walker Hines, D-New Orleans.

Hines’ bill had been bottled up in the committee until he returned with an amendment Monday to lower the proposed age limit from 18 to 16, the age at which a teenager can drive. Hines’ bill now heads to the House floor for debate.

Apparently they are following Gulfport, MS lead where one cannot smoke even on fishing piers….just ask what will be the next thing that will become illegal…you may not appreciate what it turns out to be.

Present law bans smoking in a vehicle with passengers 13 and younger.

Hines said the bill gives police the discretion to stop a car and issue a ticket if officers see a violation, or they can write a ticket if there is another violation.

The bill will keep the fine at the existing level of $150 for all offenses, Hines said.

The panel also approved a substitute for House Bill 451 by Rep. Ricky Hardy, D-Lafayette, which would crack down on drivers who pass other vehicles in school zones.

The bill states that drivers cannot pass another vehicle on the left side of a roadway while in a school zone.

Hardy said the bill is designed to protect children to getting off of school buses and other children crossing streets by schools.

I do hope that the beast that so many states are creating does not come back and bite them in the butt…..well in this case—I actually want it a ripe a large chunk of ass off. This is moronic and ………..I will stop there.

LA: Hospitals Could Lose Health Dollars

BATON ROUGE — The New Orleans region could lose up to $70 million a year in health care financing under a bill approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Monday that aims to redistribute the way money is divided among southern Louisiana charity hospitals.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, said his Senate Bill 402 was filed to correct what he views as a disparity between the amount of tax dollars that flow to the New Orleans Charity Hospital facilities compared with other hospitals in the public hospital system run by Louisiana State University.

“There is no evidence that the patients are sicker in New Orleans,” Cassidy said. “Poor people, uninsured people are sick. They may be less sick in New Orleans because care does not have to be delayed.”

Opponents said New Orleans deserves the money it gets because a disproportionate amount of expensive and complex procedures, such as open-heart surgery, are performed there while regional hospitals often focus on routine primary care.

“Is it possible that in New Orleans they’re treating AIDS patients, which might be a little more expensive than, for example, an ingrown toenail,” Sen. John Alario, D-Westwego, said.

Currently, most of the uninsured care in the public hospital system is financed by Medicaid “disproportionate share” dollars. The LSU Health Care Services Division, which oversees the seven state hospitals in southern Louisiana, decides how the money should be divided among the various facilities.

The bill, which passed 27-8 and next moves to the House, would not affect financing for private and community hospitals, rural hospitals or charity hospitals in Alexandria, Monroe and Shreveport.

AL: Possible Union Organizing

There is a new company that is taking applications in the Mobile area.  I suggest that unions begin to look at the workers hired before the company has time to adjust to the possibility of having to deal with the unions.

Officials from Berg Spiral Pipe Corp. will distribute applications and discuss employment possibilities at 6 p.m. tonight at the Plateau Community Center.

The company, which is building a facility near the northeast Mobile community, will be joined by representatives from the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and Alabama Industrial Development Training at the meeting, which was organized by Mobile City Councilman William Carroll.

This is a prime opportunity–do no blow it!

MS: Tax Exemptions For Businesses

ThHarrison County supervisors on Monday granted tax exemptions to two companies but denied an exemption for a third company.

The board voted 3-2 to grant five-year tax exemptions to United States Marine Inc. and Trinity Yachts LLC.

Supervisors Connie Rockco and Marlin Ladner voted against the motions and said Harrison County residents are the ones who end up paying in the long run.

“There is no such thing as a tax exemption,” Ladner said. “They are tax transfers because somebody has to pay them.

I agree that someone will have to pick up the short fall created by these exemptions.  Unfortunately, it is always the taxpayer that has to foot the bill, seldom is it ever the corporations.

MISSISSIPPI: Your Utility Bills Will Increase!

Gov. Haley Barbour signed bills Monday to allow utility companies to raise rates to pay for new power plants before they are built, as well as measures to strengthen ethics laws and protect waterways.

Barbour signed the controversial utility company measure, Senate Bill 2793, which generated much debate among lawmakers in the recent legislative session. Opponents said consumers might be stuck with higher bills even if a power company decides not to go forward with expansions, but the measure does allow the Public Service Commission to require the money to be returned if a power plant falls through. But it’s not automatic.

Officials from Mississippi Power Co. said they need a $2 billion continuously operating, coal-burning plant near Meridian in Kemper County, or the company couldn’t meet energy needs in the summer of 2013. Raising rates up front is the only way to get the money and the bill was needed to avoid a much higher rate increase later, they said.

How much did the Southern Company pay its investors? How much is the CEO making? My point is they have been showing a steady profit for years, but yet that money cannot be used for the improvements they need.

Mississippians! Have a lovely summer….your fuel costs will be so outrageous that few will get to take the much needed vacation. And staying home with A/C will be a bit more also. Sorry, but you guys voted these pigs into office. Try finding out more about the slugs you vote for.