News for Tuesday May 26th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
As of yesterday at noon, the state reported 37,809 cases of Covid-19 in the state. 2,585 people have died and 847 are in the hospital. Here in Rapides Parish, 654 cases have been reported and 21 people have died.
State Lawmakers will enter a special session after the regular session ends June 1st with 41 items on the menu for consideration. The budget highlights what will potentially be a busy month, but many of the proposals listed in the call are tax reforms, eliminations, or suspensions for businesses who’ve been hammered by the COVID shutdown. Senate GOP Caucus Chairwoman Sharon Hewitt of Slidell says one big topic of conversation will be the potential elimination or suspension of the state’s corporate franchise tax. The franchise tax is levied against a business’s total net worth and would cost the state an estimated 10 million dollars in lost revenue.
The state economy is being battered by COVID-19 and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says the pandemic is further proof that rural residents need access to better internet or just some internet at all. Louisiana is in line to receive an estimated $600 million from the feds over the next decade to assist in that.
Louisiana State Police Trooper George Baker, who was struck by a Hammond Police vehicle while pursuing a suspect, has died of his injuries. Baker and other troopers were removing a tire flattening device set up to stop a suspect’s vehicle when he was struck by Hammond Police. Baker was 33-years-old and a 10 year law enforcement and military veteran.
A House bill that would expand concealed handgun access in churches is awaiting debate in the Senate. Thibodaux Representative Bryan Fontenot’s legislation passed the House on a 72-24 vote. Louisiana law currently allows a concealed handgun in a house of worship, but the congregation must agree on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons. Fontenot’s measure would only require a pastor, priest, or rabbi to grant permission. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino was one of two dozen House members to vote against the legislation. Marino believes the way the measure is written, a church leader would not be allowed to ban guns inside their place of worship.
Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is getting the only drug approved to treat COVID-19. The governor said Friday that a new shipment of remdesivir means the state will have received enough of the drug to treat about 1,200 patients. He said it is being sent to all hospitals with at least five COVID-19 patients - 47 at present. Edwards said other hospitals can request the drug if they feel a patient would benefit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared emergency use of remdesivir for severely ill people.
State Fire Marshal deputies are investigating a fatal mobile home fire in Ville Platte Sunday night.. The structure was a mobile home. After putting out the fire, the fire marshal's office says crews discovered a body inside. No further details were released.