News for Wednesday May 27th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
New reported COVID cases and deaths continue to slow to a fraction of the pace they were just a month ago. Only 11 new COVID fatalities were reported yesterday, along with 245 new positive cases. 831 are hospitalized, down 16 from Monday and vent usage increased by one to 103.
Former south Louisiana Congressman and international pharma lobby head Billy Tauzin believes there will be an effective, non-vaccine treatment for COVID-19 by September. Tauzin says those treatments are focused on three categories: plasma infusions from COVID survivors, “decoy” proteins, and lab-created antibodies. Tauzin notes current plasma treatments appear to be effective for about 50 percent of patients.
A Senate-backed tort reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance premiums is heading to the House floor. However, Democrats are skeptical whether or not insurance companies will pass any savings along to consumers. River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says the bill will lower the jury trial threshold which will settle cases for a more reasonable amount thus lower rates. Democrats would rather see laws passed that would prevent a person’s credit score, gender, or marital status from qualifying a person’s auto insurance rates.
A package of budget bills was passed by the House Tuesday calling for a 30 billion dollar spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st. The budget now heads to the Senate with only a week left in the regular session, and it is not expected that the Upper Chamber will sign off on it before the regular session ends June 1st. It is because of that a special session will begin immediately after the regular session ends. The State’s constitution requires the budget be balanced and passed by July 1st.
Louisiana’s new state education superintendent will receive an annual salary of $285,000. Cade Brumley, was chosen last week by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to oversee public schools. His pay package was approved by the joint House and Senate and Budget committee Tuesday. However, his job confirmation must still be approved by the Senate.
The Manning Passing Academy scheduled for next month in Thibodaux has been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Manning Passing Academy attracts over 12-hundred campers and over 200 coaches, trainers, and support staff. College and pro football analyst Mike Detillier says the Louisiana Line Camp held at Nicholls State has also been canceled for this year.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to receive $73 Million in Federal Assistance to help the state’s fishing industry offset financial losses from freshwater flooding in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. LDWF Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks says the total estimated loss to the industry from flooding last year is $338 million, but any assistance appreciated. Banks says LDWF must develop a spending plan for the funds before they are received.
State officials said Tuesday day care centers already reeling because of the coronavirus pandemic face a new challenge: How to lure teachers who make an average of $8.95 per hour to return to the classroom, and give up unemployment benefits that have more than doubled their pay. Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent of education, said the health crisis has shined a spotlight on the "untenable level of payment" for those who work in centers that largely care for infants and children up to age 5.
LSU officials are excited to welcome students back to campus in fall but warn campus life, while vibrant, will not be the same. Interim President Thomas Galligan says alongside their notebooks and other class supplies students will need to pack a mask before leaving their dorms. Galligan says it is certainly possible people will have to wear masks at football games.