News for Wednesday May 13th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
As the state moves towards a phase one reopening of the economy, the state health department reports a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized. The number increased by ten to 1,320. The state also reported 235 additional coronavirus cases and 39 more deaths yesterday.
A resolution ending the Governor’s stay at home order was shelved upon news the state will enter Phase One Friday. House GOP Chairman Blake Miguez says his instrument isn’t going away and he will revive the effort if the Governor does not swiftly move the state through the federal reopening plan.
Casinos in the state will be allowed to reopen Monday but with new rules and regulations as part of the Phase One reopening plan. Louisiana Gaming Control Broad Chairman Ronnie James says gaming venues will only be able to operate at 25-percent capacity and they will have to incorporate screening guidelines of patrons to enter their facility.
KALB reports The Alexandria City Council is moving forward with plans to get a closer look into the Alexandria Police Department. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, the Council voted 4-2 to "investigate hiring, firing and disciplinary practices of the Alexandria Police Department along with organizational structure. The vote came after Councilman Malcolm Larvadain had written a letter to the Council last week asking for the resolution to be added to the May 12 agenda. Larvadain has yet to say publicly why he asked for the resolution.
The Revenue Estimating Conference projects a billion dollar decline in state revenues for the next fiscal year. That means state lawmakers will have to make significant reductions in state spending. Legislators will try to complete that task before the regular session ends on June 1st. There’s hope that federal dollars can help plug the budget deficit. Senator Bill Cassidy is pushing to address some of Louisiana’s, and other states’, COVID-related deficits by directing 500 billion dollars to state and local governments over the next two years.
The University of Louisiana System says they are planning to have students on campus this fall. Nine schools make up the U-L system and President Jim Henderson says there will be temperature checks, increased testing and a heightened focus on sanitation on their campus.
The session’s major lawsuit and insurance reform omnibus bill is headed to the House Floor. The legislation lowers the jury trial threshold and bill sponsor, Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo says auto insurers have promised rate reductions if it passes. Lawyer and former Congressman Don Cazayoux says the changes will pressure victims into settling for less than they deserve by requiring lengthy jury trials.
One person is dead after fleeing from law enforcement following the discovery of apparent street racing activity in Shreveport. Trooper Brent Hardy says around 2am Monday, State Police showed up to disperse the crowd and a pursuit ensued with a Chrysler 300 driven by a 19-year-old. After crashing the vehicle the driver was pronounced dead at the scene and the vehicle’s five other passengers, ages 16 to 20, sustained a range of moderate to serious injuries.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee will meet via a conference call tomorrow to discuss what it means for high school sports that the stay at home order will be lifted on Friday. LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine says he also plans to talk with state education officials tomorrow. The association does not govern summer activities, but they can give schools a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to offseason training and other issues.
ESPN reports the NBA Players Association has started polling players to find out where they stand on whether the league should return to play this season. The question being asked only requires a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Commissioner Adam Silver says a decision on resuming this season can wait until June and if games are played, they could behold in Orlando or Las Vegas. The Pelicans will reportedly begin individuals workouts on Monday at the training facility in Metairie. Only four players involved at a time.
In recruiting news, LSU has landed a commitment from four-star running back Corey Kiner of Cincinnati. He’s the first running back to give his verbal pledge for the class of 2021, which is currently ranked as the 12th best by 24-7 sports.
And Louisiana Tech has received a verbal pledge from Ruston High running back Ke’Travion “Bull” Hargrove. Hargrove also had scholarship offers from Boston College, Michigan State, Houston, and S-M-U.