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News in Brief- May 26, 2019

News in Brief- May 26, 2019

Senate overwhelmingly backs pay raises for Louisiana judges

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's senators agreed Monday to a plan that could give the state's judges annual pay hikes of 2.5% for the next five years.

The raises for 372 judges under Kenner Republican Sen. Danny Martiny's bill would start with the new budget year, July 1. Additional 2.5% raises would happen each new budget year through 2023 if the judiciary determines it has money in its budget developed by lawmakers to pay for them.

The pay hikes would cost $1.8 million in the first year and grow to $9.5 million by the fifth year. Louisiana's Supreme Court justices have agreed to cover the first year of the cost from an existing judicial surplus.

The bill covers the state's Supreme Court justices, along with judges at Louisiana's appeals, district, parish and city courts. Because raises for Louisiana's sheriffs are tied in law to pay hikes for district court judges, parish sheriffs would be eligible for annual increases as well, paid out of their own agency budgets.

Senators voted 35-1 for the salary boosts, sending the measure to the House for debate. Democratic Sen. John Milkovich of Keithville opposed the proposal, questioning whether the state could afford 12.5% in increases over five years.

Louisiana's judges received annual pay raises each year from 2013-17.

Senate Bill 27: www.legis.la.gov

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Slidell woman gets car after long walk to work shared widely

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — A cashier at a Walmart outside New Orleans whose tale of walking six miles to work before sunrise was shared widely has been given a new car.

WWL-TV reports that Slidell police officer Bradley Peck saw Anita Singleton walking near Highway 11 at 5:30 a.m. this week.

Peck offered Singleton a ride after learning she work at a Walmart superstore six miles away. During the drive, Singleton said that her job was a blessing, even if it meant a long walk in the dark.

The officer was so moved by Singleton that Slidell Police posted the story to Facebook, and local news outlets quickly took notice.

Matt Bowers, the owner of a local car dealership, saw the story and decided to surprise Singleton with a new set of wheels.

Information from: WWL-TV, http://wwltv.com

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Intake process starts for sinking island off Louisiana coast

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Residents of an island near Louisiana that's sinking into the Gulf of Mexico are working with legal representatives and case managers hoping to help them relocate.

Louisiana's Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes tells The Houma Courier that representatives have been working with Isle de Jean Charles residents for several weeks.

The island has lost about 98% of its land over the past 60 years. It has 40 residents, many of whom belong to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw or the United Houma Indians tribes.

Resettlement options include moving into a planned 150-home community or getting funding for a home elsewhere. Forbes says residents don't have a deadline to decide, though federal funding for the project must be used by September 2022. He says construction may start on the community this year.

Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com

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Louisiana House agrees to pay sheriffs more to house inmates

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House has unanimously agreed to boost the amount the state pays parish sheriffs for housing state inmates in local jails, an increase that would eventually cost $30 million per year.

The proposal from Rep. Katrina Jackson, a Monroe Democrat, would gradually increase the amount Louisiana pays sheriffs for each inmate from $24.39 to $29.39 per day. The rate would grow over a three-year period.

The House voted 99-0 for the measure Wednesday, sending it to the Senate for debate. But senators would have to come up with $6.5 million in next year's budget if they agree to the proposal.

By the 2021-22 financial year, the increase is expected to cost the state more than $30 million to house thousands of state inmates in parish jails.