GULF OIL SPILL-CLEAN UP
BP: Shore clean-up after Gulf oil spill ends in La
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, BP has ended its "active" cleanup of Louisiana's coast.
The company says the Coast Guard ended patrols Tuesday of the final three miles of affected shoreline in Louisiana. The move completes a cleanup operation that ended in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi last June.
BP executive Laura Folse says even though the cleanup has ended, the company will keep resources in place to respond quickly if more oil is identified and requires removal. The Coast Guard will be in charge of monitoring Louisiana's coast and deciding whether to order further cleanup.
Folse says BP has spent more than $14 billion and more than 70 million personnel hours on response since the accident happened.
Notes from the La. Legislature's regular session
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An effort to force a 10 percent cut on state agencies' spending on consulting and professional services contracts received the support Tuesday of the House Appropriations Committee, without objection.
Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard, I-Thibodaux, has tried a similar bill for several years, only to see the idea killed in the Senate Finance Committee each time.
This year's proposal has a new twist. It would move any state general fund money that is saved from the contract cuts into a special fund to help pay for public colleges, which have been hit by repeated budget cuts over the last six years.
The bill (House Bill 142), championed by Treasurer John Kennedy, moves next to the full House, which agreed unanimously to Richard's similar contract slashing proposal last year.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration opposes the measure.
Louisiana College names interim president
PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - Louisiana College has named an interim president after moving President Joe Aguillard into an emeritus role.
The Town Talk reports the private, Baptist college based in Pineville says Argile Smith was appointed Tuesday by its Board of Trustees to serve as the college's interim leader while a search begins for a permanent replacement.
The board's chairman, Tommy French, said in a news release that Aguillard, president since January 2005, will become president emeritus effective Aug. 1. French says Aguillard will be available to help Smith during the transition and will serve as a tenured professor in the school's Graduate Teacher Education program.
OFFSHORE RIG-STORM WAVE
Offshore rig taking on water but stable after wave
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - An offshore drilling rig has been taking on water but was reported stable after being hit by a large storm wave off the Texas coast.
The U.S. Coast Guard says the rig was drilling for oil and gas in 3,000-foot depths around 10 a.m. Tuesday when the wave hit.
Petty Officer Manda Emery says the platform was knocked 55 feet, and one of three watertight chambers in one of the rig's six floatation columns began taking on water.
Emery says the platform is being kept level and there is no spill. None of the 116 crew members was injured, and there have been no evacuations.
The rig is about 130 miles from Galveston.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Andy Kendrick says the well is being drilled for Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
Speed trap labeling bill dies in the La. House
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana won't have any officially labeled "speed traps."
Rep. Steve Pylant's effort to brand tiny towns that get more than half their annual income from speeding tickets with the moniker has failed to get the backing of the state House.
Even after a list of changes, Pylant could only get 47 votes for the bill Tuesday, six votes short of what was needed for passage.
The issue had become a contentious one for House members.
Pylant, a former Franklin Parish sheriff, said more than a dozen towns in Louisiana were using excessive enforcement of speed limits to drum up cash. He said law enforcement should be about public safety, not generating revenue.
Opponents argued that people should obey the speed limit and the towns shouldn't be penalized for law enforcement.
House kills bill to remove La.'s anti-sodomy law
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana House has overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law.
Baton Rouge Rep. Patricia Smith, a Democrat, sought to remove consensual sex between people of the same sex from Louisiana's crimes against nature law. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a similar Texas law a decade ago.
Lawmakers voted 66-27 against Smith's repeal bill Tuesday.
Denham Springs Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican, opposed the measure, saying the law protects children and upholds morality.
Opponents of Smith's proposal said it would remove minors' protection from aggravated crimes against nature. Smith said at least 12 other statutes protect minors from sexual assault.
Smith brought the bill after Baton Rouge-area police arrested gay men using the law but couldn't charge them because the district attorney said it was unenforceable.
McAllister cancels all events during Easter break
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says he intends to steer clear of public events until he returns to Washington at the end of Congress' Easter break.
His office issued a statement Tuesday that McAllister "is with his wife and family for the remainder of the Easter recess."
Last week a video surfaced that showed the father of five kissing a married aide. He issued an apology almost immediately. His office later said the aide had resigned.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Dunagin said McAllister's offices are operating. She said McAllister "was elected to do a job, and he looks forward to returning to D.C. following the end of recess."
Congress returns from its two-week holiday on April 28.
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