News for Friday May 29th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards is encouraged by the state’s recent COVID-19 numbers, but as for a decision on Phase Two reopening that will have to wait. Edwards says the data is still being analyzed, but it’s encouraging to see the number of hospitalizations has fallen below 800. He hopes to make the announcement on June 1st on possible movement to Phase Two, Phase One is currently in effect until June 5th. The number of patients who are hospitalized dropped by another 37 on Thursday to 761.
Legislation is heading to the governor’s desk that will ask voters on November 3rd if sports betting should be legalized in their parish. Metairie Senator Cameron Henry says if a parish approves the referendum, then lawmakers will vote next year on the regulation and taxation of sports wagering, which will be controversial. An effort to legalize sports betting failed in the legislature last year. Henry says by putting the issue before the voters, lawmakers can then decide how they should vote when the sports betting and taxation bills come before them in 2021…
A bill that removes many restrictions on who can be prescribed medical marijuana is nearing final legislative passage. On a 28-to-six vote, the Senate approved the measure that would allow a state-licensed doctor to recommend the treatment for any debilitating health conditions. Under current law, cannabis can only be used to treat a specific list of diseases or disorders that includes cancer, seizures, Parkinson’s, and PTSD. Before the bill goes to the governor’s desk, the House will need to approve Senate changes to the measure.
A House-approved bill allowing a concealed handgun permit holder to bring a gun into a church without informing the congregation heads to the Senate floor for final passage.
The legislation still requires a concealed carrier to ask the pastor or other leader of the house of worship for permission to carry while on the premises. Churches can currently allow concealed carry, but the congregation must be informed who is carrying. Under this bill parishioners would not be informed.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association delayed summer training dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic but 12 schools are under investigation for violating the start date. The association changed the date from May 17th to June 8th to fall in line with the Governor’s proposed timeline of reopening the state. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine declined to name the 12 schools and says the executive committee will meet June 3rd to discuss the situation. Schools and coaches could receive, fines, suspensions, or probation.
Legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk that would create a 300 million dollar grant program for small businesses. The money will be drawn from an 800 million dollar CARES Act payment sent to Louisiana. New Orleans Representative Gary Carter, one of the critics of the bill, says this money was supposed to help save local governments.
A Louisiana district judge has ordered Treasurer John Schroder to transfer more than $32 million in unclaimed property money to cover government operating expenses.
Judge Richard Moore sided with Gov. John Bel Edwards in a lawsuit over the money.
Moore said the Republican treasurer improperly withheld the money from the state general fund after lawmakers appropriated it for spending on state programs and services.
A registered nurse formerly employed with the VA Medical Center in Pineville has pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently obtaining Hydromorphone, a powerful opioid designed to relieve pain. While working at the VA Medical Center Urgent Care Clinic, the Department of Justice says 40 Jolie King of Alexandria, used her position to access the clinic’s narcotics supply cabinet and retrieve vials of controlled substance medications. As a part of the plea agreement reached, King admitted that she used the drugs for her own personal use. King faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The smallest ever baby to born in Louisiana made history this week by being discharged from the hospital. Dionna Ambrielle Miracle Taylor was born January 27th weighing just 11 ounces at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. She left the hospital yesterday and currently weighs 4 pounds and 13 ounces.
An autopsy of African American COVID-19 victims by a team of LSU pathologists reveals new information about how the disease damages your lungs by causing hemorrhaging. LSU Health New Orleans head of Pathology Research Dr. Richard Vander Heide says they’ve performed 26 autopsies and surveyed the victim’s lungs. He says they found heart disease, obesity, and other comorbidities in nearly all of those studied which may be linked to the blood clotting.
Dates and times for Saints preseason games have been set. The Black and Gold will kick off the preseason in Los Angeles on Friday, August 14th. 9 PM is the start time. The next week, New Orleans travels to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on a Sunday night. In week three of the preseason, New Orleans hosts Houston on Saturday, August 29th. The Saints conclude the preseason on Thursday night, September third against the Miami Dolphins.
Louisiana Tech plans to begin voluntary football workouts on June 8th. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says players are allowed back on campus next week…
Conference USA and the Sun Belt have announced their bowl lineup for the next six years starting with the 2020 season. The Sun Belt will have five bowl tie-ins, but the New Orleans Bowl will no longer have the first pick. That will go to a bowl game owned and operated by ESPN, such as the Boca Raton Bowl, Cure Bowl and SERVPRO First Responsder Bowl in Dallas.
Conference USA says they will continue to send teams to the Bahamas Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl on an annual basis.
LSU assistant baseball coach Eddie Smith says 21 Tigers will participate in summer leagues this season. Several players will play in the South Florida League, which begins play on June 12th. They are Collier Cranford, Cade Doughty, Alex Milazzo, Cade Beloso, Zach Arnold and Giovanni DiGiacomo.
Northwestern State pitcher Kyle Swanson has been named the Southland Conference Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year. The Texas native graduated with perfect 4.0 GPA in health and human performance and had a 1.04 ERA in seven appearances and four saves in 2020.