News for Monday June 15, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
As expected Governor John Bel Edwards has vetoed the tort reform bill aimed at lowering car insurance rates by making changes to the state’s civil litigation system. Edwards cited the measure does not contain a mandate to lower auto insurance rates as assured by its supporters. The Governor says he’s willing to work with anyone operating in good faith to reach a compromise. He says he’s confident they can reach an agreement on a bill that will have broad support.
In a rare Sunday evening session, the state Senate easily approved a proposal that would authorize hearings on police practices after the death of George Floyd. The vote was 34-0, sending the plan to the House for more debate. The Senate, in a 45-minute session, also approved a bill by Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, aimed at extending internet access to rural areas. Both topics were on the agenda as lawmakers began the final weeks of the special session, which has to end by June 30 at 6 p.m. Approval of an operating budget by July 1 is the key priority, as well as renewed debate Monday on efforts to reduce car and truck insurance rates.
Louisiana fell short of its goal to test all the state’s nursing home residents and employees for the coronavirus by the end of May. That’s raising questions about whether testing plans aimed at keeping tabs on those most vulnerable to the pandemic are too ambitious. Data provided by the state health department shows nearly 78% of Louisiana’s 23,000-plus nursing home residents have been tested for the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. Only 61% of the facilities’ workers have received tests. That falls short of Louisiana’s goal in a testing plan it submitted to federal officials last month. Nursing homes account for more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Louisiana.
The investigation continues into last Thursday night’s murder-suicide that resulted in the deaths of four children and two adults at the Parkview Apartments in Monroe. Interim Police Chief Reggie Brown says 30-year-old Brittany Tucker killed a neighbor, her four kids, ranging from five months to 12 years old and then shot herself. Brown says Tucker was diagnosed with mental illness within the past couple of years and was receiving treatment. But the chief says neighbors told detectives that prior to Thursday’s shooting that Tucker was seen walking, showing irrational behavior and waving a gun in her hand. Brown says they believe Tucker purchased the handgun at a local gun store, adding the investigation is ongoing as to how and why Tucker was allowed to obtain the firearm.
A Louisiana pollster believes it may take up to a week to know the results of the November Presidential election. JMC Analytics and polling founder John Couvillon says that’s because many swing states are adopting mail-in voting. The analyst warns even in Louisiana, where the state has adopted restricted mail-in voting due to COVID-19, the substantial increase in mail ballots could produce slowdowns in election reporting.
Couvillon says even though the delay may frustrate some he still sees mail-in voting as the wave of the future. Studies suggest there is little to no partisan impact from the adoption of mail-in voting.
Evictions are scheduled to begin today after being frozen by the Governor since late March. Patrick McCarron with Thomas Jefferson Real Estate says he’s looking forward to proceeding with evictions as it has been a frustrating few months for landlords who’ve had tenants who’ve refused to pay rent. However, reports show that the vast majority of tenants have been making rent since the pandemic began. Many tenants who have been struggling financially have been offered hardship plans by their landlords to weather the COVID shutdown. Landlords who receive federal assistance or federally backed loans may not proceed with evictions until late August.
Myers says many tenants who have been struggling financially have been offered hardship plans by their landlords to weather the COVID shutdown.
A long-standing Mardi Gras tradition is being canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19. Senior Lieutenant with Mystick Krewe of Louisianians Tyron Picard says the Washington DC Mardi Gras will not be taking place next January. The event has only been canceled three other times in its 76 year history.
A proposal is in the works to rename LSU’s Middleton Library and there is also a movement to rename eleven more buildings on campus. President of LSU College Dems Daniel Carpenter says there are buildings named after Confederate soldiers.
Several St. Martinville city employees are in quarantine today, after the Mayor tested positive for Covid-19. Mayor Melinda Mitchell had tested positive last week, and that the city's administrator, police chief and Mitchell's secretary are now in quarantine.
Louisiana Tech confirms a football player has tested positive for COVID-19. The school says the student-athlete will self-quarantine for the next 14 days. Tech says additional football student-athletes could have been exposed and those players will also be mandated to self-quarantine for the next two weeks.