News for Monday March 9th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Today marks the beginning of the 2020 legislative session. Over a third of the lawmakers are brand new, adding some mystery as to which direction the session may go. Political analyst Clancy DuBos says the abolishment of the death penalty is back up for discussion, this time with potentially more lawmakers in favor of ending the practice. DuBos expects the Governor will push lawmakers in the direction of taking action on various bills associated with equal pay for women and increasing the minimum wage.
The lion’s share of legislation is expected to focus on lowering auto insurance rates in Louisiana.
The session’s omnibus tort reform bill would lower the jury trial threshold to 15,000 dollars. But Real Reform Louisiana Executive Director Eric Holl says lowering the threshold is just a handout to the business lobby, and has nothing to do with auto insurance rates.
A Deville man is dead following a crash near Buckeye High School early Saturday morning. The State Police say 49 year old Michael Miles died when the pickup he was driving left the road on LA Highway 1207. Mile was wearing a seatbelt but died from his injuries after being taken to a local hospital. The crash remains under investigation.
The body of 53 year old Keith Pennington was found in Iatt lake Friday afternoon. The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were investigating a possible boating death after an unoccupied boat was found going in circles on Iatt lake in Grant Parish late Thursday evening. An autopsy will be performed; however authorities believe the death was accidental or medical-related.
Senator John Kennedy requests the President extend the deadline for REAL ID another year, citing concerns not nearly enough people will have the new national ID by October 1st. REAL ID was passed 15 years ago, and Kennedy says he wants to use the year to find out whether or not it’s even needed. So far, he says he’s not convinced. 125 million people are estimated to not have the REAL ID yet.
Baton Rouge police have arrested the parents of an 11-week-old infant after their son was brought to the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Thursday with horrific injuries that appeared to be from abuse. McNeely says the hospital called the police and alerted them of the possible crime by the child’s parents Cole Autry and Rachel Flores.
UL-Lafayette has canceled its Study Abroad program in Italy for the Summer 2020 semester. The news comes as the university continues to monitor the ongoing situation concerning the coronavirus. This decision does not affect the summer Study abroad programs in England and Costa Rica. Students who were scheduled to travel to Italy this summer will receive full refunds.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation announces a three-year, $600,000 grant investment into the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Monroe. Foundation President Michael Tipton says money will help expand their Prevention On the Go program with services in 12 parishes. Tipton says the area is one where there are often late cancer diagnoses due to a lack of prevention screenings.
Senator Bill Cassidy introduces legislation that would end the “Windfall Elimination Provision” that penalizes public sector workers like teachers on their Social Security benefits. The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System backs the change, which would reverse the policy that blocks Social Security from counting income you receive from the state for benefits. If passed, the changes would impact social security checks for current retirees. Cassidy says that likely would mean higher social security checks for many retired teachers. Only 16 states have laws that enforce the “Windfall Provision”, Louisiana being one of them.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees helped raise money for a Boston children’s hospital by shaving his head. “Saving by Shaving” raised $7 million thanks to Brees, former Boston Red Sox player David “Big Papi” Oritz, and several players from the New England Patriots. Brees joked it will be a lot easier to wash his hair.