News for Wednesday May 20th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The state reported 18 new COVID fatalities and 329 new cases on Tuesday, along with declines in ventilator use and hospitalizations.
Alexandria Police made an arrest Monday in connection with a shooting investigation that occurred on May 1, at Levin and Mary Streets. 42 year old Jerrol Marshall of Alexandria was charged with attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting an officer and three counts of contempt of court. The case remains under investigation.
House Republicans pass legislation telling Governor Edwards to reconsider his blanket 25 percent occupancy cap on businesses during Phase One. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the limit is a one size fits all solution that doesn’t work for places like restaurants.
But Governor Edwards says the limitations are a public safety requirement that will cautiously guide the state economy back into action without risking a new wave of cases. The Governor says if we continue seeing lower caseloads through the end of the month it is likely the state will progress into Phase Two in June. Edwards says they’ll use two weeks of data to determine if Louisiana is still doing a good job in stopping the spread of COVID-19
Cal-Maine foods, an egg producer, donates 280,000 eggs to five food banks across the state. The eggs will be distributed to food banks in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Commissioner Mike Strain says Cal-Maine has a surplus of eggs right now and found donating to be a better use than disposal.
A House committee shoots down a proposal allowing all registered voters in Louisiana to vote by mail. Vote by mail advocate and recent LSU grad Catherine McKinney says the legislation would have allowed all voters to request the Secretary of State’s office mail them a ballot. Voters would have to submit their license to file their vote. The proposal ran into opposition from Republicans like Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges who says vote by mail is more prone to fraud than showing up at a booth. But McKinney countered that actual voter fraud is incredibly rare under all voting systems in the state.
Louisiana receives an additional $58 million in fishery disaster funding due to the impacts of the Bonnet Carre opening in 2019. Congressman Garret Graves says of the three states receiving funding from the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening, Louisiana is receiving 2/3 of the allocated $88 million. There is an additional $12 million to be allocated at a different time.
Senator Bill Cassidy is one of two lawmakers introducing bipartisan federal legislation aiming to deliver $500 billion in emergency funding to states and communities with the State and Municipality Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act. Cassidy says the first payment could go out immediately, the second would go out at the end of June, and the third at the end of the year.
Forbes Magazine reports Mercedes Benz will not renew its naming rights deal with the Superdome when it ends in 2021. UNO Senior Associate Dean and Marketing Professor, Paul Hensel, says it’s tough to say what corporation would like to put its name on the side of the iconic sports arena right now with the economy in shambles. The Superdome is scheduled to host its next Super Bowl in 2024.
Police conducting a welfare check late Tuesday morning, at a Baton Rouge Apartment complex, found a man and woman dead, launching a homicide investigation Few details were available hours later, including how the victims were killed. Police are considering the incident as a homicide.
Two measures described as making it easier for people convicted of crimes to find and retain jobs edged closer to final passage Tuesday in the Louisiana Legislature. A House-backed House Bill 77 would allow probation and parole officers to use their cellphone or other electronic devices to check on people under supervision, rather than requiring an in-person hearing. The proposal also requires probation and parole officers to accommodate a person's work schedule when scheduling those check-in meetings.
The measure won approval from a Senate judiciary committee Tuesday, sending it to the full Senate for debate.
A bid to help legalize sports betting in Louisiana is steps from final legislative passage, though the wagering still would be a year or more away. Senate Bill 130 which won easy passage Tuesday from the House criminal justice committee would let voters in each parish determine on the Nov. 3 ballot whether to allow sports betting in that parish.
More workers are returning to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to continue building rockets for the Artemis Program, which aims to put the first woman on the moon by 2024. Michoud Director Robert Champion says some technicians returned Monday after a long hiatus. Champion says they’ll still be under 25 percent of their full production capacity as they enter NASA’s Stage 3 Return to On-site Work.