LOUISIANA SPECIAL SESSION
After veto, GOP lawmakers push ahead with business priority
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House plowed ahead with a top priority for business lobbying groups despite a veto from the governor. Republican lawmakers are trying to lessen the money that people could win against insurance companies and businesses in car wreck lawsuits. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday vetoed the bill to make sweeping changes to Louisiana’s civil litigation system, a proposal passed in the regular session that ended June 1. The House on Monday passed two new, rewritten bills aimed at the same goal of lessening the successful civil lawsuits in car accidents or shrinking the damages awarded. The measures go to the Senate for debate.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-RACIAL DISPARITY-POLL
Poll: Black Americans most likely to know a COVID-19 victim
DETROIT (AP) — African Americans are disproportionately likely to say a family member or close friend has died of COVID-19 or respiratory illness since March. Eleven percent of African Americans say they were close with someone who has died compared with 5% of Americans overall and 4% of white Americans. That’s according to an analysis of three COVID Impact surveys conducted between April and June. The polls also show the racial gap is equally striking in some cities and states hit especially hard by the virus. In Louisiana, for example, 16% of black adults are close with someone who has died compared with 6% of white adults.
OFFICER ASSAULT-DISCIPLINARY HISTORY
Records: Officer charged in assault had history of citations
OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — Records obtained by a Louisiana newspaper show a white officer accused of beating a hospitalized black teenager had been suspended at least four times for improper conduct during his 17-year police career. The records detailed by The Daily Advertiser show Opelousas Police Sgt. Tyron Andrepont’s disciplinary history included suspensions for use of force, offensive conduct and unbecoming conduct. Now he’s charged with malfeasance in office in last year’s assault of Jonah Coleman. The 18-year-old had been hospitalized at his parents’ request and was restrained in a bed when Andrepont allegedly beat him in the face and held him in a choke hold. Andrepont remains on paid leave.
Work to begin on part of $80M Louisiana floodgate project
FRANKLIN, La. (AP) — Work is set to begin on part of an $80 million project intended to help control backwater flooding in several southeastern Louisiana parishes. News outlets report contractor Sealevel Construction Inc. received approval from officials in St. Mary Parish last week to begin constructing a permanent barge that would be placed in Bayou Chene to block water that backs up when the Atchafalaya River is high. Officials have said the 400-foot barge gate will be swung into place when needed. The barge is one part of the floodgate project, which will also include the construction of a flood wall and a levee.
OIL HIGHWAY-ELEVATION GRANT
Louisiana getting $135M federal grant for highway elevation
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will receive $135 million in federal financing to help elevate a state highway leading to a critical national oil and gas hub. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that the state will receive the U.S. Department of Transportation grant for improvements to Louisiana Highway 1 in Lafourche Parish heading to Port Fourchon. The highway upgrade includes four phases. The federal money will help elevate an 8.3 mile stretch of Highway 1 from Golden Meadow to Leeville. The money will come on top of $150 million in oil spill recovery money that Edwards and state lawmakers have pledged for the highway work.
2 BYSTANDERS KILLED
Shooting at large gathering kills 2 bystanders in Louisiana
RACELAND, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a shooting at a large gathering killed two young women whom the sheriff describes as bystanders. Nobody has been arrested in the shooting early Sunday and Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is asking the public to help identify the shooters. He identifies the victims as 21-year-old Aliza Gabriel and 20-year-old Tanasa Francis, both of Raceland. Webre says in a news release that deputies were called early Sunday about a disturbance involving a large group of people in Raceland. Soon after they arrived, the deputies heard several shots.
AP-LA-VIRUS OUTBREAK-ER REOPENING
ER reopening after 5 years under Louisiana COVID-19 contract
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A hospital emergency room is reopening after five years, as part of Louisiana’s coronavirus pandemic surge program. Baton Rouge General Hospital says its 33-bed ER will be open for all sorts of emergencies, starting Monday. The hospital says in a news release that the emergency department is under a contract with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Earlier, the contract opened wards for acute care of patients with COVID-19. The hospital had never closed entirely, but concentrated on such areas as cancer care, rehabilitation, behavioral health, outpatient surgery and family medicine.
LSU NATIONAL CHAMPIONS PLATE
Louisiana license plate will celebrate LSU football victory
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Motorists who want to celebrate Louisiana State University’s latest college football national championship victory will be able to buy a specialized license plate. State lawmakers authorized creation of a special LSU National Champions 2019 license plate that can be used in place of a regular state-issued plate. Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed the bill into law. The LSU Board of Supervisors first must settle on a design before anyone can seek the new plate. It will cost $51 a year on top of regular fees. The state will keep $1, and the remaining $50 will go to LSU for scholarships.
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