Good morning! Here's what happened overnight and what the ArkLaTex will be talking about today:
Louisiana college students are expected to walk out of classes at noon today in response to Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposed massive cuts to higher education funding and the state's TOPS scholarship program. Baton Rouge Organizing is encouraging parents, teachers and other college staffers to take part in the Save Our Schools Walkout as well.
This is Day 5 of the Louisiana Legislature's special session. While state lawmakers continue searching for areas to cut spending to address the state's $900 million deficit, Edwards and 3 state representatives, including Rep. Kenny R. Cox, D-Natchitoches, want to put an additional 22-cent tax on a pack cigarettes. They say that would raise a quick $16 million to $20 million, depending on whether it goes into effect the 1st of March or the 1st of April. Supporters see the state's huge need to raise quick money. Opponents note the cigarette tax was raised just a year ago.
KSLA News 12 has more special coverage of Louisiana's budget crisis on its website, ksla.com. Click on the banner at the top of our homepage.
Your KSLA StormTracker 12 weather forecast: The day ahead holds clear skies, gusty south winds and afternoon high temperatures in the 70s. Lows tonight will be in the 50s followed by a partly cloudy Friday with afternoon highs returning to the 70s. The weekend will bring 2 more days with afternoon highs in the 70s but also with rain and rumbles developing Sunday.
Stormtracker 12 meteorologist Nicole Madden joins us live this morning outside Hempstead Hall in Hope, Ark., where the Temptations will perform. Did you know an original band member is from Texarkana?
On the crime beat, Northwest Louisiana and East Texas authorities are looking for a man suspected of shooting a woman in the chest in Webster Parish. He's traveling in a blue 1997 Chevrolet Suburban with Louisiana tags and is to be considered armed and dangerous, authorities say.
Also today, early voting ahead of March 1, Super Tuesday, continues in Arkansas and Texas. Nearly 9,000 people have cast ballots early in person in Arkansas. Another nearly 3,000 have voted absentee. Early voting begins Saturday in Louisiana for its presidential preference primary March 5. Early voting in Oklahoma starts a week from today.
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