LSU Board could face jail time for not releasing records
District Judge Janice Clark is threatening members of the LSU Board of Supervisors with jail time if they do not immediately comply with her order to publicly release the records from their secret presidential search. Clark’s stern warning came after she said daily $500 fines have failed to grab board members’ attention. A lawyer for LSU said the release should be delayed pending appeal, and releasing the names any sooner would make the appeal moot. But Clark said the appeals court’s only role is to make sure the lower court handled the case properly.
Tax amnesty program under way in Louisiana
The state Department of Revenue has mailed notices of Louisiana’s tax amnesty program to 443,000 people who owe a total of $1.4 billion in unpaid taxes and interest. As the Associated Press reports, the tax amnesty program — which runs from Sept. 23 to Nov. 22 — “gives delinquent taxpayers an opportunity to remedy their tax bills without penalties and with only half the interest charges they would otherwise owe on the debt. … State lawmakers approved the program in hopes of generating $200 million to plug gaps in this year’s $25.4 billion budget.”
Affordable Care Act would lower Louisiana’s high HIV and AIDS rates
Nearly 19,000 Louisianans live with HIV and AIDS — and the state’s rate of new HIV infections is almost twice the national average. National Minority AIDS Council director Paul Kawata says part of the high rate is explained by poverty, stigma and homophobia, but “perhaps the most significant factor in the epidemic’s increasing impact on the South, and Louisiana in particular, is the region’s inadequate health care infrastructure and high rates of individuals who lack insurance coverage.” Kawata writes he struggles to understand why states like Louisiana – which ranks sixth in the nation for the percentage of residents without health insurance – are fighting against the Affordable Care Act. “[B]y refusing to implement aspects of the law,” Kawata writes, “these states are actively impeding the ability of their citizens to access much-need insurance coverage.”
SEC considers rule comparing CEO pay with workers
The SEC is considering a new rule that will require companies to report on how CEO salaries compare to their typical workers. Some companies fighting against the ruling say the information is not useful to investors, and that collecting pay data for foreign workers would be cumbersome. But supporters of the pending rule say companies could easily produce the reports by sampling workers in the middle of the pay scale, which would ignore overseas employees because they aren’t paid near the midpoint. The proposal comes at a time when wages are stagnant even though worker productivity is at an all-time high. In Louisiana, the typical worker is producing 35 percent more per hour today than three decades ago, but is receiving only 1 percent more in hourly wages.
Special education funding hit hard by new federal sequester cuts
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that new a new round of automatic federal budget reductions, called the “sequester,” will cut about $579 million in federal funding for students with certain disabilities. As Stateline reports, Louisiana is expected to lose $9.7 million. The cut means as many as 300,000 students nationwide would see service reductions, unless states and localities can find a way to replace the money.