News for Thursday May 7th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
A House committee was home to a lengthy, and often heated debate about the future of the Governor’s stay at home order Wednesday. House Republican Caucus Chairman Blake Miguez’s resolution suspending the Governor’s ability to enforce the statewide stay at home order passed House and Governmental affairs after hours of debate. The resolution heads to the House floor next. It would only need a simple majority of the House and Senate for passage and could not be vetoed by the Governor.
Yesterday 52 additional fatalities were reported due to Covid-19, bringing the death count to 2094. Total cases were up by 403 to a total of 30,399. Hospitalizations, down by 47 to 1,465.
The Senate Insurance Committee rejected legislation yesterday prohibiting auto insurance rate making based on gender, credit score, and whether a person is a widow. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon opposed the legislation and says the bills will not lower our rates, which are among the highest in the nation. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau, who brought the legislation forward, did score one victory. His bill prohibits insurance providers from setting rates based on whether a person in the military is deployed for more than six months. That bill heads to the Senate floor for more discussion.
Covington Senator Patrick McMath will introduce a bill to prohibit the use of handheld devices when you’re behind the wheel in a Senate transportation committee Wednesday in an effort to reduce accidents on Louisiana’s roadways. McMath says in 2018 and estimated 25 to 35 percent of serious crashes were caused by distracted drivers. McMath says states that have enacted similar legislation have seen a significant decrease in serious accidents as a result. The goal of the bill is to have drivers keep their hands on the wheel and off their phones. Louisiana currently has a, seldom enforced, no texting and driving bill already in effect.
Last weekend the Grand Isle beaches were packed as visitors flocked to the southernmost tip of the state. tourism Commissioner Louise LaFont says Tourism is the lifeblood of that small community and since they opened to vacationers Friday the crowds have rapidly grown.
Murder hornets have captured the spotlight after the giant Asian insect was detected in the northern parts of Washington state, but experts say the level of concern is relatively low. LSU AgCenter entomologist Kristen Healey says Louisiana’s climate would be suitable for murder hornets, but the hornet’s ability to migrate is limited due to being a social insect in need of a queen to maintain a colony. While human deaths have been attributed to the murder hornet, Healey says those are normally linked to an allergic reaction. It’s the ability to kill mass amounts of honeybees rapidly that is the most concerning.
The Louisiana Public Health Institute and Department of Health are hosting a regional series of tele-town halls with two taking place today. Deputy Director of LDH’s Office of Community Partnerships and Health Equity Earl Benjamin-Robinson will serve as a moderator and says the meetings will address COVID-19 response measures and the phased re-opening approach. A list of the town halls can be found at LPHI.org.
In a memo to high schools, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said that graduating seniors cannot receive an extra year of eligibility, because of COVID-19. Bonine added that if Louisiana enters Phase one of the reopening of the economy, summer workouts could possibly begin on May 17th, but final decisions will have to be made on the local level. Bonine says since there was no spring football, schools will get an extra week of preseason practice. The LHSAA’s executive committee will meet on June 24th to talk more about the 2020-21 athletic year.
During LSU’s national championship run in football, fans loved watching the hype videos released during the dream season. But the man behind the videos is leaving LSU. Will Stout announced on Twitter that he will be the new assistant director of football video production at U-S-C. Stout says it’s always been a dream of his to work in Los Angeles.
Basketball Hall of Famer and Louisiana Tech legend Karl Malone and his family along with dozens of volunteers have helped deliver 80-thousand pounds of food to families in Union Parish. The Summerfield native says it fills his heart to help out families who are struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.