News for Tuesday May 12th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Latest Covid-19 Stats as of Noon Monday..
31,815 Cases | 2,242 Deaths | 1,310 Hospitalized | Recovered 22,608 | Monday 12p
Starting Friday restaurants, churches, gyms, casinos, and other establishments closed by the stay at home order will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. Governor Edwards says the numbers show it is safe to end the stay at home order and implement federal Phase One guidelines. Edwards says employees dealing with the public must wear a facemask. The state is scheduled to remain in Phase One until June 5th, with a decision about potentially moving to Phase Two being made June 1st.
Currently, the Governor’s administration says they will not be revisiting the decisions of reopenings until June 1st. Louisiana Associations of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says he’s glad the beginning of the recovery has begun, but it’s a steep curve as over 300,000 are unemployed in the state. Employees are required to wear face masks when they are dealing with the public and Waguespack says businesses are okay with adapting to guidelines aimed at mitigating the spread.
The Revenue Estimating conference informed lawmakers Monday to expect a billion-dollar revenue shortfall for the next fiscal year’s budget. Tax collections have taken a significant hit as many businesses have been shuttered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature’s Chief Economist Greg Albrecht says our condition may not improve soon either.
The Revenue Estimating Conference has agreed to dramatically lower the revenue forecast for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The Legislature’s Chief Economist Greg Albrecht says not only are tax collections down, but 310-thousand people have filed for unemployment and a recent study found that one out of every four people are out of work in New Orleans.
The state budget may be facing a historic cliff but some lawmakers believe Louisiana must implement hundreds of millions of dollars in severance tax suspensions to save the oil industry in the state or things could get much worse. Ways and Means Chairman Stewart Bishop says giving the industry a year of severance suspensions could save it in the long term, even as the budget faces calamity. The industry has been hammered by a combination of the ongoing price war and COVID economic shutdowns.
The University of Louisiana system announces plans for the nine-member institutions to resume in-person instruction this fall. UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson says “The University Experience is more than just attending class and we are optimistic with the right safeguards in place and following the guidance of health experts they we will be able to safely return to campus in August.”
At the grocery store you have probably noticed some empty shelves since COVID-19. LSU Ag Center Professor of Nutrition and Food Science Louise Wicker says before the outbreak more than 50 percent of the food Americans’ consumed was from restaurants.
Wicker says an average of 13 percent of our food dollar was spent dollar at the grocery store, and COVID-19 changed the dynamic of food distribution overnight.
The House Transportation committee approves a ban on hold handheld devices while driving, similar to a Senate effort that has moved to the Upper Chamber floor.
Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to see a probe of the Chinese government’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Landry says it is time the House to put the same energy used in investigating the President into focusing on something that is actually impacting the country. Landry is among 18 state AGs to write a letter to the US House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee and other Congressional leaders asking for Congressional hearings to help better understand the origins of the virus.
Louisiana’s business lobbyists are cautiously optimistic about the reopening of some of that state’s businesses but feel more needs to be done. National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says operating at 25% of capacity is still a huge hurdle, and doesn’t believe employees should count against that number.
Starns says some of the logic behind why some businesses can reopen and others can’t is unclear. Starns adds that the guidance set by the White House doesn’t fit for small business.
Effective immediately, testing will be scheduled at the Coliseum site from 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, there will not be testing at the Coliseum site this Thursday (May 14).In addition, testing will again be offered from 9 a.m. until noon Friday, May 15, at Frank O. Hunter Park.
On Friday, several businesses in Mamou were damaged as severe storms moved though the area. That severe weather has now been confirmed as a EF1 tornado which produced winds at 100 mph.
LSU has received a verbal commitment from a four-star running back out of Ohio by the name of Corey Kiner. Kiner is entering his senior season at Roger Bacon High in Cincinnati. He’s already rushed a school-record 52-hundred yards and 81 touchdowns. Former LSU Tiger and current running backs coach Kevin Faulk gets the credit for landing a verbal pledge from the five-foot-ten, 208 pounder.
Major League Baseball owners have agreed on a proposal for an 82-game regular season that would start the regular season around July fourth. 14 teams would make the playoffs, instead of ten and the designated hitter would be expanded to the National League. Games will be played without fans and the goal is for the games to be played at the team’s home ballpark. The trick now is to get the players to agree on a proposal to split revenues 50-50 between the players and the owners. The players will receive the proposal tomorrow.
Now that the governor has lifted the stay at home order starting, the Pelicans will reportedly re-open their practice facility a week from today. No more than four players will be allowed inside the practice facility at one time. Former LSU great Shaquille O’ Neal has said the NBA should just scrap this season.
Former LSU football standout Booger McFarland and play-by-play man Joe Tessitore will reportedly not return to the Monday Night Football booth this season. ESPN has yet to announce their replacements.
LSU fans will want to Set their DVR for 6:30 on the SEC Network Wednesday night. That’s when the documentary “One for the Ages” will debut. The one-hour documentary promises to give behind-the-scenes and a cinematic glimpse of the just concluded Fighting Tigers national championship football season.
NCAA President Mark Emmert says fall sports, including football can not be played this fall if there are no students on campus. Meanwhile Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby disagrees.