On Monday I announced my support of Senate Bill 53, which aims to withhold casino winnings from parents who have failed to meet their financial obligations to their children. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, in Louisiana there are more than 51,000 instances of overdue child support payments amounting to more than $1 billion owed to children and primary care givers. This is simply unacceptable and this bill is just one of the steps we will pursue to ensure that parents meet and abide by the commitments they've made to our state's children.
Recently, we have announced several state funding initiatives under our Capital Outlay proposal, including a $48 million commitment for widening I-12 all the way to Walker, $44 million for completing additional segments of I-49 North, and several million dollars for construction projects at universities across our state. As the Bossier Press-Tribune reported on my remarks concerning the widening of I-49, we will not wait for the federal government, we will move forward on our priorities on our own and continue our commitment to finishing projects that help our businesses grow and create more jobs for our people.
One of the most important pieces of legislation we will pursue this session is House Bill 1033, which will better recognize and reward our state's best educators. As the Alexandria Town Talk states, "at its core, H.B. 1033 requires evaluations of teachers, principals, and assistants annually, instead of every three years, and links them directly to student achievement."
Louisiana's success at attracting digital media firms to our state continues. According to the Shreveport Times, our state received 59 applications for the tax credits created to incentivize these projects last year and in just the first four months of 2010 we've received an additional 25 requests. Across our state, our goal is the same - to create new and lucrative employment opportunities for our people. That is what we have done since taking office and what we will continue to do.
Last Wednesday, I honored more than 770 veterans in Lafayette Parish with the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal. These awards, created by the Legislature and signed into law in 2008, represent our respect and gratitude for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and way of life. We appreciate their service and it is a humbling and inspiring occasion to recognize their accomplishments and service to our great nation.
Governor Bobby Jindal