Louisiana news briefs
Jindal signs bills aimed at human trafficking
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s laws against human trafficking are getting tougher, and victims’ services are being highlighted, under several bills signed into law Monday by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Trafficking victims’ support groups say the measures are an international model.
The most sweeping legislation is by Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans. The bill creates harsher punishments for human trafficking and related crimes, increases protections for victims and requires training for law enforcement to recognize trafficking offenders and victims.
Next year’s budget contains $250,000 for the mandatory training.
Another new law on the books, by Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, will allow courts to create specialized divisions to handle human trafficking cases. Supporters say that will help judges to better steer victims to support services, rather than jail for drug crimes or prostitution.
Jindal also signed a requirement that women seeking an abortion receive information about the illegality of coerced abortions and services available to human-trafficking victims and a bill mandating abortion clinics post the National Human Trafficking Resource center hotline.
Several arrested in family brawl at restaurant
SLIDELL (AP) — A weekend brawl between two families at a Slidell restaurant has led to nine people being arrested.
It happened around 8 p.m. Sunday outside Cheddar’s Casual Cafe, Slidell Police Det. Daniel Seuzeneau said Monday in a news release.
Members of one family — who were waiting for a table — allegedly made degrading comments about members of another family leaving the restaurant. Police said the two families didn’t know each other.
A verbal fight quickly turned physical.
At some point Shawn Sorrell, 32, of New Orleans, pulled a stun gun and shocked two people her family was fighting. She then retrieved a .380 caliber handgun and fired one round into the crowd.
Sorrell was booked with five counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery and disturbing the peace by fighting. Bond was set at $400,000, Seuzeneau said.
Coast Guard searching
for missing canoer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard is searching for a missing canoer along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge.
The agency said Monday that Kevin Guy worked a concert in East Baton Rouge Parish and was last seen by a band member at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. Authorities say Guy told the band member that he was going to ride his bike to his canoe, which was docked at the river, and return to his home in Port Allen — traveling by canoe with a bicycle on board.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans directed the launch of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge small boat to search for Guy, who remains missing.
Anyone with information on Guy’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Coast Guard at 504-365-2200.
shot, killed by intruder
HAMMOND (AP) — The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Hammond homeowner has been shot and killed by an intruder.
The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Monday.
Police say the residents were awakened by the sound of their back door being kicked in. Within moments, the homeowner, 30-year-old Brandon Simms, exchanged gunfire with the intruder.
Simms died on the scene.
After the shooting, the alleged suspects fled the home in an unknown direction.
Jindal press secretary
leaving after 2 months
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest press secretary is leaving after two months on the job.
Sarah Haley’s hiring was announced in April. On Monday, the governor’s spokesman, Mike Reed, confirmed that Haley was leaving the administration at the end of the week.
No official word was given for Haley’s departure.
Before working in Jindal’s office, Haley had most recently worked as a special projects producer for ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.
Prior to that, she was chief spokeswoman for Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, during the 2012 presidential campaign, and she had worked at Fox News Channel.