AM LRN Newscall May 21

Louisiana saw an increase in tourism and visitor spending last year. Mel Bridges has the totals.

Cut 1 (30) “…I’m Mel Bridges.”

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Members of House Criminal Justice will hear from the Jewish community to remove gassing as a means of execution in Louisiana. Brooke Thorington has more

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.” 

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Forty-four-year-old Michael Thibodeaux of Belle Rose told his friends he was investing their money in an E-trade account, but now he’s facing theft charges for allegedly running a ponzi scheme. Sean Richardson has more…

Cut 3 (32) “…I’m Sean Richardson.” 

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Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced Louisiana saw an increase in visitation and visitor spending last year. 420 thousand more people visited, pushing the total up to 43 million, and spent 5% more than in 2022. International visitors saw the biggest gain increasing 17% and spending almost 2 billion, says Nungesser.

Cut 4 (11) “…Louisianians live.”

Nungesser says the international market has grown thanks in part to a grant from the US Commerce Department to promote Louisiana as a tourist destination to markets overseas.

Cut 5 (11) “…next three years.” 

Those markets are Spain, India and Italy, where the Lieutenant Governor is currently. Though the US Travel Association doesn’t predict international visitation to recover until 2025, Nungesser says the increases in visitation show that Louisiana tourism is coming back strong.

Cut 6 (12) “…to Louisiana.”

Additionally last year, visitors spent almost 2 billion in state and local taxes, saving each household in Louisiana over a thousand dollars a year in taxes.

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In House Criminal Justice today committee members will hear from members of the Jewish community, to remove gassing as a form of execution in Louisiana. In January during a special session on crime, gassing was added as a means to carry out the death penalty. Soon after Jacquelyn Stern says the group Jews Against Gassing was formed.

Cut 7 (11) “…for anybody.”

Senate Bill 430, passed in the upper chamber after a 22-16 vote. Stern says when members of her group have been able to talk directly to lawmakers, many she says did not realize how triggering the use of gas as a form of execution was for Jews.

Cut 8 (12) “…and Louisiana.” 

Stern says for a state that is home to the National World War II Museum, it feels like many lawmakers are quick to forget what veterans fought for.

Cut 9 (10)  “…what it is.”

Stern says they have yet to hear back from Governor Jeff Landry’s office if he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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Forty-four-year-old John Michael Thibodeaux of Belle Rose faces criminal charges for running an alleged Ponzi scheme. Assumption Parish Sheriff’s office spokesman Lonny Cavalier says they’ve investigated Thibodeaux for five months and since arresting him Friday, other potential victims have come forward.

Cut 10 (10) “…friends of his.”

An arrest warrant in connection to one case was issued Friday, Cavalier says there are at least 5 more victims and the amount that was stolen was significant.

Cut 11 (09) “…at this point.”

The victims became suspicious when they stopped receiving interest payments after a few months or some never received any payments.  When asked to show financial records, Thibodeaux couldn’t produce any and he had no E-trade account.

Cavalier warns people to be cautious when the opportunity seems too good to be true.

Cut 12 (16) “…not a realistic number.” 

Cavalier said that all the known victims are Thibodeaux’s personal friends.  He was booked Friday with theft and unlawfully promoting a pyramid scheme.

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Senator Thomas Pressly’s Abortion by Fraud Criminalization bill inspired by the poisoning of his sister with the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol by her estranged husband will be heard in the House on Tuesday. The bill was amended to add the medications to Schedule IV of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law. Sarah Zagorski with Louisiana Right to Life access should be limited…

Cut 13 (08)  “…these.”

Pressy’s amended bill does not seek to outlaw abortion pills, only to reclassify them because, Zagorski says, there is risk for abuse and risk to a person’s health when used outside the FDA guidelines. Opponents contend classifying the medications Schedule IV is inappropriate because they are not addictive. Zagorski says that is inaccurate.

Cut 14 (11)  “…public health.”

Zagorski says easy access to the drugs puts young girls are at risk of harm because distributors are not asking the appropriate questions to safeguard their health and the girls are getting the medications without the guidance of their parents, their doctors, or their healthcare providers.

Cut 15 (11)  “…the FDA.”

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Cut 16 (12) “….no brainer.” 

 

Cut 17 (17) “…probably do that.”

 

Cut 18 (21)  “… on that one, I think.”

 

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Cut 19 (17) “… for a championship.” 

 

Cut 20 (18) “….over that one.”

 

 

 

5:30 LRN Newscast May 20

The fate of a Constitutional Convention this fall is in the hands of the Senate as it awaits a hearing in Governmental Affairs after clearing the lower chamber. La Politics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says there are many questions over Governor Jeff Landry’s appointment of 27 delegates there’s already been opposition from Senate leadership.

Cut PM 7 (11) “…that up.”

Alford believes the debate over Governor Landry’s appointment of delegates will be significant if the bill advances to the Senate floor.

Cut PM 8 (12)  “…state government.” 

Committee chair, Senator Cleo Fields has reportedly told the Illuminator’s Piper Hutchinson that the committee plans to take up other legislation this week before they consider the Constitutional Convention.

In House Criminal Justice Tuesday, committee members will hear from members of the Jewish community, to remove gassing as a form of execution in Louisiana. In January during a special session on crime, gassing was added to carry out the death penalty. Soon after Jacquelyn Stern says the group Jews Against Gassing was formed.

AM Cut 21 (11) “…for anybody.”

Stern says they have yet to hear back from Governor Jeff Landry’s office if he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Senator Thomas Pressly’s Abortion by Fraud Criminalization bill inspired by the poisoning of his sister with abortion pills by her now ex-husband will be heard in the House on Tuesday. The bill was amended to add the medications to Schedule IV drugs. Sarah Zagorski with Louisiana Right to Life says access should be limited…

Cut 13 (08)  “…these.”

 

 

1:30 LRN Newscast May 20

The fate of a Constitutional Convention this fall is in the hands of the Senate as it awaits a hearing in Governmental Affairs after clearing the lower chamber. La Politics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says there are many questions over Governor Jeff Landry’s appointment of delegates and how they could sway constitutional changes.

Cut 6  (11) “…they want. ” 

LSU women’s basketball announces Hall of Famer Seimone Augustus is joining the staff as an assistant coach. According to Patrick Wright, voice of the Lady Tigers, though Augustus is replacing Johnny Derrick due to his retirement, she is set to fill a much different role.

Cut 3 (08) “…that stuff.” 

This is Augustus’ second assistant coaching job after one season with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

Target announces its lowering prices on about five-thousand items in its store. UNO Business Professor Mark Rosa says they’ve already cut prices to 15-hundred items and plan to slash prices on hundreds of household basic items like food, drinks, diapers, and pet foods, which he says is the logical way to go.

Cut 10 (13) “…routinely.” 

Congressman Graves says he plans to run for re-election, but he hasn’t decided if it will be the sixth District, his current seat that was reapportioned as the state’s second majority-Black district. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says Graves could run against fellow Republican Julia Letlow in the fifth district…

Cut 24 (10) “…Republican district.”

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has endorsed Graves for the 6th district and other GOP Louisiana congressional members.

12:30 LRN Newscast May 20

President Biden has signed the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves had a major part in crafting the legislation. He says it’s good news for Louisiana travelers. The bill focuses on improving the overall experience for airline customers, he says that means everything from baggage claim to air traffic control.

Cut 24 (11) “..experience for the family.”
Two weeks are left in the legislative session and one of the biggest unknowns is will lawmakers will pass a bill to hold a Constitutional Convention in August. Details of the convention have yet to be made public.  Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the bill is awaiting a vote in Senate Governmental Affairs…

Cut 13 (08)  “…politics.”
Lawmakers are looking for specifics on what the exact proposed changes to the constitution will be

LSU women’s basketball has a new assistant coach with a familiar face. Mel Bridges has more.

Cut 1(35)  “…I’m Mel Bridges”

11:30 LRN Newscast May 20

Congressman Garret Graves says he plans to run for re-election, but he hasn’t decided if it will be sixth District, his current seat that was reapportioned as the state’s second majority-Black district. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says if Graves chooses to run against state Senator Cleo Fields, who’s announced his candidacy, versus another Republican in another congressional district, Hogan believes the GOP will be more likely to support him.

Cut 12 (07) “…the chamber.” 

 

And speaking of Republican endorsements, US Speaker Mike Johnson has endorsed all of Louisiana’s GOP members of Congress for re-election, including Garret Graves. Johnson issued a press release supporting Graves in District 6, along with Majority Leader Steve Scalise in the state’s first congressional district. Clay Higgins in District Three and Julia Letlow in District Five. Qualifying for the November 5th election is July 17-19.

There are two weeks left in the legislative session and one of the major bills that has yet to be decided is the measure that calls for a Constitutional Convention. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the bill is still awaiting a discussion in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee…
cut 14 (06) “….will happen”
Republican megadonor Lane Grigsby has recommended the governor should scrap the idea of having Jeff Landry picking 27 delegates for the proposed convention.

Target announces its lowering prices on about five-thousand items in its store. UNO Business Professor Mark Rosa says Target is hoping the lower prices will result in more customers who end up buying more items….

Cut 9 (11) “…first in line.” 

Target says they’ve already cut prices to 15-hundred items and plan to slash prices on hundreds household basic items like food, drinks, diapers and pet food.

1:30 LRN Newscast May 17

The Supreme Court ruled the most recent state congressional map approved by lawmakers with two majority Black districts will be the one to use in the upcoming election. Mel Bridges has more.

Cut 1 (31)  “…I’m Mel Bridges”

Congressman Garret Graves says he plans to run for re-election, but he hasn’t determined which district he’ll run in. He currently represents District 6, which was altered to be a majority-minority district.

The Louisiana Senate approves a bill to create the Gator Scholarship Program which gives parents public dollars to pay for private school tuition. New Orleans Senator Royce Duplessis says Education Savings Accounts are an abandonment of public education and its teachers…

Cut 7 (13) “…in the program.”  

It still needs House approval.

Organizers say they’ve collected 6,000 signatures of the 36,000 they need to recall embattled St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Christopher Tape. Noble-Bates Young with Family First St. Tammany says they’ll rely heavily on business hubs for signatures.

Cut 13 (13) “…so far.” 

Signatures must be collected by October.

11:30 LRN Newscast May 17

The Supreme Court says the most recent congressional map approved by lawmakers with two Black majority districts will be the one used in upcoming federal elections. Louisiana Secretary of State Nancy Landry says the May 15th ruling came just in time…

Cut 3 (10) “…fall elections.” 

Baton Rouge plastic surgeon Doctor “Tre” Doucet and two of his three children were killed Wednesday when their single-engine airplane broke apart en route to Louisville. Aaron McCarter with the NTSB says they will try to determine if human error, mechanical malfunction, or weather caused the crash.

Cut 8 (13) “…to tell.” 

Legislation mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in public school and college classrooms passes in the Senate on a 30 to 8 vote. New Orleans Senator Royce Duplessis challenged Bossier City Senator Adam Bass who presented the House Bill in the upper chamber.

Cut 10 (13) “…agree with that”

Duplessis said the bill is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment by promoting one religion over another.

Cut 11 (13) “…read and write.”

The bill was amended to recognize the 10 Commandments as a historical document. The amended bill now returns to the House for final passage.

10:30 LRN Newscast May 17

Legislation mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in public school and college classrooms passed in the Senate on a 30 to 8 vote. Opponents say it violates the first amendment by promoting one religion over another. Monroe Senator Jay Morris amended the bill to recognize the 10 Commandments as a historical document…

Cut 12 (11) “…mandate it.” 

The amended bill returns to the House for final passage.

National Safe Boating Week gets underway tomorrow. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries senior agent Thomas Wolf says make sure your life jackets are in good shape…

Cut 14 (07)  “…working order.”
Between 2019 and 2023 the state reported 107 boating fatalities and 82 percent of the victims weren’t wearing a lifejacket.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is meeting with the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture at the U.S. Agriculture Business Conference in Havana to look at the difficulties of importing much-needed resources to Cuba. Sean Richardson has the story.

Cut 1 (30) “…I’m Sean Richardson.”

 

After yesterday’s storms 104,000 customers remain without power in Louisiana. Much of south Louisiana is under a flood watch until tomorrow morning with more rain in the forecast today. Heavy rains could lead to flash flooding tonight and into the early morning.

AM LRN Newscall May 17

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is meeting with the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture at the U.S. Agriculture Business Conference in Havana to look at the difficulties of importing much-needed resources to Cuba. Sean Richardson has the story.

Cut 1 (30) “…I’m Sean Richardson.”

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Legislation mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in public school and college classrooms is nearing final passage. Brooke Thorington explains…

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.” 

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Saturday isn’t just the beginning of spring, it also kicks off Safe Boating Week. Mel Bridges has more.

Cut 3 (33) “…I’m Mel Bridges.” 

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Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is at the U.S. Agriculture Business Conference in Havana, Cuba to connect US rice and poultry exporters with potential Cuba importers. Strain says the country is in desperate need of food and that need continues to climb.

Cut 4 (12) “….billion or more.”

Strain is meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture to lay out logistics on the type of imports the country can handle.

The Cuban landscape is changing fast. With 80% of farmland privately owned by independent farmers or Co-op’s the issue will begin to look at how to get farmers the resources they need to be more productive.

Cut 5 (07) “…very little equipment.” 

The Cuban government is asking not just to buy seeds and fertilizer from the US but also for assistance and expertise from US farmers to help them become more self-sustainable. Strain said that we need to have a presence in Cuba and if we don’t someone else will.

Cut 6 (09) “…is our business.”

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Many are mourning the deaths of Baton Rouge plastic surgeon Doctor Lucius “Tre” Doucet and two of his three children. They were killed when when their single engine airplane broke apart enroute to Louisville on Wednesday afternoon. NTSB Aviation Investigator Aaron McCarter says the investigation into the cause of the crash is underway

Cut 7 (12) “..out of control.”

McCarter says the debris field is about a half-mile long near Nashville, Tennessee. He says they hope doorbell cameras or motor vehicle cameras caught the plane crash.

Doucet’s two children killed were set to graduate from LSU this weekend, Giselle and Jean-Luc Doucet.

McCarter says they will try to determine if human error, mechanical malfunction or weather caused the crash

Cut 8 (13) “…to tell.” 

McCarter says they know there was plenty of fuel on the plane.

Doucet was known as an avid flight enthusiast and practiced at Williamson Cosmetic Center.

The Beechcrafh V35 was built in the mid 1960s, but McCarter the age of the plane is not a concern, because of the hours of maintenance that is done on them

Cut 9 (11)  “..flying.”

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Legislation mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in public school and college classrooms passes in the Senate on a 30 to 8 vote. New Orleans Senator Royce Duplessis challenged Bossier City Senator Adam Bass who presented House Bill 71 in the upper chamber.

Cut 10 (13) “…agree with that”

Donations or fundraisers would pay for the signs, but Duplessis argued the legislation is an unfunded mandate, requiring schools to display them but not providing the means to do so.

Duplessis said the bill is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment by promoting one religion over another.

Cut 11 (13) “…read and write.”

Duplessis, a practicing Catholic, said if parents want their children to learn the 10 Commandments they should take them to Sunday School.

Monroe Senator Jay Morris amended the bill to recognize the 10 Commandments as a historical document…

Cut 12 (11) “…mandate it.” 

The amended bill returns to the House for final passage.

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Saturday is the beginning of Safe Boating Week, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Senior Agent Thomas Wolf says now is the time to make sure everything on your boat is in working order….

Cut 13 (10)  “…the action.”

Between 2019 and 2023 the state reported 107 boating fatalities and 82 percent of the victims weren’t wearing a lifejacket. Wolf says it’s vital your life jacket is in working condition.

Cut 14 (07)  “…working order.”

Alcohol is the leading cause of boating accidents and deaths and Wolf says the same rules apply on land as on water.

Cut 15 (07)  “…license.”

Safe Boating Week runs until May 24th.

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The wake of the release of the Saint’s 2024 regular season schedule sees many fans questioning if the Saints could see the postseason for the first time since 2020. NOLA.com’s Luke Johnson covers the Saints and says early season games against the Cowboys, Eagles, Falcons and Super Bowl champion Chiefs will test the Black and Gold…

Cut 16 (17) “….three or four games of the season.” 

The Saints had one of the easiest schedules last year and failed to make the playoffs. Johnson says based on 2023 win-loss records, the 2024 schedule is not difficult…

Cut 17 (18) “…it doesn’t feel that way.”

Some games to look forward to this season are Jayden Daniels and the Commanders, Malik Nabers and the Giants, and perhaps the most anticipated reunion, Sean Payton and the Broncos. Despite how shaky the Saints may seem, Johnson says they have a fighting chance against their old coach.

Cut 18 (21)  “… on that one, I think.”

The Saints open the regular season with a game at home against the Panthers, kicking off at noon on September 8th.

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Cut 19 (17) “… for a championship.” 

 

Cut 20 (18) “….over that one.”

 

 

 

5:30 LRN Newscast May 16

Legislation mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in public school and college classrooms passes in the Senate on a 30 to 8 vote. New Orleans Senator Royce Duplesis challenged Bossier City Senator Adam Bass who presented House Bill 71 in the upper chamber.

Cut 24 (13) “…agree with that”

Duplesis said the bill is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment by promoting one religion over another. Monroe Senator Jay Morris amended the bill to recognize the 10 Commandments as a historical document…

Cut 25 (11) “…mandate it.” 

The amended bill returns to the House for final passage.

Governor Jeff Landry held two town hall meetings Thursday pushing for passage of the Gator Scholarship Program, which would give all families the ability to use taxpayer dollars to pay for private school. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Landry is having trouble building support for the program in the state Senate…

PM Cut 12 (08) “…in the Senate.” 

Opponents are concerned about the cost of the program, an estimated 500-million dollars by the third year.

The US Supreme Court ruled Louisiana’s congressional map with two majority-Black districts will be used for the fall election. Opponents say the most recent map was based on race; NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorney Jared Evans says it was politics that altered Congressman Garett Grave’s district into a second majority-Black district.

Cut 11 (06) ” …for governor.”