News for Wednesday June 10th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Council last night turned down a motion to allow Councilman Silver access to attend meetings virtually. Silver hasn't been able to attend council meetings since February 4. First, because he broke his elbow, missing the February 18 meeting and then missing meetings in March, April, May and now June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lawsuit filed by Silver last week, the 98-year-old says neither the city or Council President Jules Green provided accommodations to enable him to attend council meetings via telephone because he is susceptible to COVID-19 due to his age.
Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas are among 14 states that are reporting their highest-ever seven-day average of coronavirus cases. Louisiana is not one of those 14 states. It’s been two weeks since Memorial Day weekend and Governor Edwards says he’s heartened to see the state did not experience a significant surge in COVID transmission as a result of the holiday.
An LSU poll that showed 62 percent wear a mask always or often when leaving the house, up from just 48 percent in April. Edwards thanked residents for being responsible and masking up. The poll indicated that 76 percent of people agree that wearing a mask is the responsible thing to do.
Ochsner Baton Rouge recently celebrated 250 hours passing without a COVID-19 positive patient on a ventilator. A statement released from the hospital notes that while they are still treating a handful of cases at the medical facility in Baton Rouge the severity of cases is currently not at critical as the previous wave.
After a short break waiting for Cristobal to pass Monday the House got back to work Tuesday pushing a series of tax relief bills for Louisiana businesses worth millions of dollars out of House Appropriations and onto the House floor.
Chairman of the Louisiana Economic Recovery Task Force Jason Decuir says the state owes it to these businesses to lend a helping hand after many were ordered closed or limited for months. Those relief bills took many forms including a suspension of the franchise tax. Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson, speaking on behalf of the Edwards Administration, says passing and maintaining these tax cuts could unbalance the state budget for years to come.
In a decision that has not yet been made public, Republican leaders of the Louisiana Legislature are forcing out a well-respected legislative staffer whose office recently produced an independent cost estimate that angered powerful lawmakers. Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder met Friday with John Carpenter, the legislative fiscal officer, and told him his tenure would end when the special legislative session wraps up at the end of the month. The move raises the question of whether the Legislative Fiscal Office, which plays a key role in determining a bill’s fate by estimating how much it will cost, will remain impartial and nonpartisan at a time when the Legislature has become increasingly partisan.
Cities and states nationwide are taking up police reforms in the wake of massive George Floyd protests. Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields says it’s a bit late for legislators to file new bills with the special session in full swing so he’s aiming to introduce legislation next year or in a potential fall special session using recommendations from a 15-member task force he hopes to have created. Fields says he’d like his legislation to call for a statewide ban on the use of chokeholds by law enforcement, psychological testing for both prospective and current officers on a routine basis and new regulations for body cameras.
Governor Edwards signs legislation ending the auto insurance “Patriot Penalty” where military who were deployed overseas would return home to higher auto insurance rates. Anyone who is uninsured for six months or more must pay a higher rate upon reinsuring. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau says that hammered the armed forces…
Opelousas Police Officer Tyron Andrepont was booked today on five counts of malfeasance in connection with the alleged beating of an Opelousas teen in a hospital.
He was booked with five counts malfeasance in office. He posted $25,000 bond and was released shortly after being booked, records show. If convicted, he faces up to five years in jail or prison and fines of up to $5,000 on each charge. Attorney Daryl Washington says his client Coleman, who is 18 now, was beaten by Andrepont while in a room at Opelousas General Hospital in October 2019.
Caddo Parish Coroner Doctor Todd Thoma says a 44-year-old man died of natural causes while in the custody of the Shreveport Police Department on April sixth, but his death could have been preventable. Thoma says Tommie McGlothen Junior died from excited delirium. Authorities say police officers used tasers, mace, and nightsticks to control McGlothen.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson has apologized for his officers firing so-called rubber bullets at protesters on the Crescent City Connection last week. The chief says their special operations division was not authorized to use the anti-riot rounds and an investigation is underway.
An East Feliciana Parish judge has voided the first-degree murder charge of accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe as the result of a recent US Supreme Court decision that bans non-unanimous convictions. Sharpe’s Attorney Tommy Damico says his client was convicted by jurors 11 to 1 last December.
Voluntary workouts began for the LSU football team Tuesday after spending the last eleven weeks away from the school’s weight room. LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffit says only 20 players are allowed in the weight room at one time and they are using state of the art sanitation and disinfectant equipment. Coach Ed Orgeron also allowed the players to use today to register to vote.
Former LSU pitcher Eric Walker has announced he’s transferring to Oklahoma State. The right-hander from Arlington, Texas had a great freshman season but never returned to form after Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm. He entered the NCAA transfer portal in mid-April. Former LSU pitcher Chase Costello has also announced he’s transferring to Stetson.
A five-round Major League Baseball Draft begins today. LSU players Daniel Cabrera and Cole Henry will probably not go in the first round, but they are expected to be drafted. Barbe’s Brody Drost is an LSU signee that could also get drafted. Dorst is a left-hander pitcher and outfielder and could be selected in the third or fourth round.
NASCAR announced Tuesday that it will have fans watching from the stands for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. But it will be a small group. Up to one-thousand South Florida service members will be allowed inside the track. The following Sunday at Talladega, five-thousand guests will be able sit in the grandstands and towers.