3:30 LRN Newscast March 28

The 2023 election for Louisiana’s next governor is over a year away, but a new statewide poll shows it is wide open. Jeff Palermo has the story…:

CUT 01  (30)        “… Jeff Palermo.”

A Covington woman is in jail after her six-month-old child died in the hospital from a severe head injury. Hospital workers called police on March 23rd, after seeing how badly the baby was hurt. The infant died Saturday. The mother, 28-year-old Madelyn Mejia-Gallo is charged with 2nd degree murder.

 

State Lawmakers will put their regular legislative session on pause, to hold a special veto override session starting Wednesday. Governor Edwards vetoed a congressional district map passed by GOP majorities in the House & Senate. He objected to it not creating a second majority black congressional voting district. The House will need 70 of 105 votes to overturn the veto; the senate 29 votes. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says lawmakers should vote based upon what their district would want…:

CUT 14  (09)        “…district back home.”

There are 68 Republicans in the House, so an override will require at least one Democrat and one Independent to vote for it.

The state supplement to the pay local police and fire fighters get would go up by $100 a month under legislation approved Monday by the Senate Finance Committee. That would take it from an extra $500 a month to $600 a month. Passed without objection, the bill now goes to the Senate floor for debate.

2:30 LRN Newscast March 28

State lawmakers WILL hold a veto session to try to override Governor Edwards’ veto of the congressional map sent by lawmakers to his desk. The Governor rejected the map because it has no second majority minority congressional district. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says his chamber will likely take the first vote…:

CUT 13  (09)        “do the other.”

The House will need 70 votes from its 105 members to override a veto, and it will take 26 votes in the Senate. At least one Democrat in the House, Francis Thompson of Delhi, says he’ll vote to keep the northeastern Louisiana congressional district as it is.

A statewide poll of the 2023 Governor’s race shows Senator John Kennedy as the possible candidate getting the most support; 22-percent of the JMC Analytics survey. Pollster John Couvillon says Kennedy polls far better than Senator Bill Cassidy, which hurts the latter’s chances of election…:

CUT 04(07)      “…to run.”

 

After firing shots at a marked Monroe Police vehicle, four men are now behind bars. The incident happened Sunday morning and Monroe Police Chief Vic Zordan says all four are repeat offenders. Mayor Friday Ellis says he is all for reform and second chances, but these four need to be off the streets…:

CUT 08(10)      “…history of violence.”

All four suspects are between 18 and 21.

Are you feeling stressed? April is Stress Awareness Month and the website WalletHub.com rates Louisiana as Most-Stressed in America. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzales says a good part of that is our state offers very little health & support services for those dealing with stress…:

CUT 11(09)      “…very soon.”

So who is LEAST-Stressed? Utah. Who’d have guessed?

4:30 LRN Newscast March 25

Louisiana is close to reaching settlement of a four-decade-old lawsuit, filed by Tangipahoa Parish residents for flooding in the early 1980’s caused by construction of the then-new Interstate 12. The settlement with the roughly 1200 plaintiffs will be around $100-million. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says a good number of plaintiffs have passed away since the lawsuit was originally filed in 1983, but their shares will go to their heirs…:

CUT 05  (11)        “…be involved.”

A state lawmaker’s bill to grant judges the option of a death sentence for person’s convicted of murdering their own child passes out of a House committee. Baton Rouge Democrat Rep. Barbara Carpenter is the bill sponsor…:

CUT 06  (11)        “…these babies.”

Despite some objections, the bill passed and goes on the House floor.

 

Louisiana is going back to work, according to data from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. LWC spokesman Chris Fiore says unemployment is currently at only 4.3-percent which is the third-best it’s been since the 70’s. He says job seekers should visit “LAWorks.net” and browse the 30-thousand job postings there…:

CUT 11  (10)        “…but a career.”

Sheriff’s investigators say they don’t believe driver distraction played a role in a fatal crash Thursday involving a big rig and a tour bus. West Baton Rouge Parish deputies say it was suspected the trucker Ricky Hagar may have been texting, but they’re satisfied that was not the case; he simply didn’t have enough time to stop. Hagar’s truck hot the bus, forcing it into the median where it caught fire. It happened on I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish. One person was killed and three were hurt.

3:30 LRN Newscast March 25

You remember Governor Edwards vetoed a congressional district map passed by lawmakers in February. The Governor rejected the map because it did not establish a second majority-minority U.S. House District; which would reflect Louisiana’s 32-percent black voter population. Now, a midnight deadline looms for the legislature to decide if they want to make an attempt to override that veto. “LAPolitics.com” publisher Jeremy Alford says it takes a majority vote in either the House or Senate to cancel the session, but since Republicans have strong majorities in both chambers, the veto session will likely happen…:

CUT 13(10)      “…the regular session.”

Police in Jennings arrest a 35-year-old mom and her juvenile son for a shocking hit & run. JPD says the son was driving the car that ran a man down on South Main Street, but also says his mom, Aerieal Jones – who was the passenger – urged him to do it. Both mother and son are charged with attempted murder and other charges.

 

One lawmaker wants parents who are found guilty of murdering their own child to be eligible for the death penalty. Brooke Thorington has more…:

CUT 02(32)      “…Brooke Thorington.”

A Fort Polk Army private is under arrest; accused of raping an LSU student earlier this month in Baton Rouge. The victim says she met 22-year-old Desmond Saine at an off-campus party and things got out of control while in her dorm room later. Saine was reportedly arrested Thursday at Fort Polk in Vernon Parish

2:30 LRN Newscast March 25

At the State Capitol, a House committee approves a bill to impose the death sentence on parents who murder their own small child. Baton Rouge Democrat Representative Barbara Carpenter brings the bill, and says there have been at least four such crimes in Louisiana in the past year. Mandeville Republican Richard Nelson questions the wisdom of her bill…:

CUT 08  (08)        “…that distinction.”

However, the bill passed committee with only 2 “nay” votes and moves forward to the House floor.

Louisiana is getting back to work, so says data released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Adjusted nonfarm employment figures are at their highest in two years, and this past February the state posted an unemployment rate of 4.3%, the third-best February since 1976. LWC spokesperson Chris Fiore says the rise in Louisianans getting back to work hasn’t been limited to any particular region either…:

CUT 10(08)      “…adding jobs.”

 

State lawmakers have until midnight tonight to decide if they want to hold a veto override session to override Governor John Bel Edwards’ rejection of the Congressional district map approved by the Republican-led Legislature last month. “LAPolitics.com” publisher Jeremy Alford believes the veto session will happen…:

CUT 12(08)      “…out there.”

Louisiana is closing in on reaching a $100-million settlement of a class-action lawsuit that dates back to 1983, when 12-hundred homes and businesses in Tangipahoa Parish sued the state over flooding caused by the construction of I-12. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state already has $21-million set aside to pay for the settlement and Dardenne says they need the Legislature to allocate $45-million this year and another $35-million next year to satisfy the settlement…:

CUT 04(11)      “…with this.”

4:30 LRN Newscast March 24

At the Capitol today, a bill to impose fines on businesses who deny entry based on vaccination status got pushback from republicans and democrats on a House committee. DeSoto parish Representative Larry Bagley blames the COVID vaccine for his recent heart attack and doubts the vaccines’ efficacy. Mandeville Republican Richard Nelson says he’s not comfortable with the propose penalties…:

CUT 14(09)      “…to make this, make this work.”

Sensing the committee’s feelings, Bagley pulled his bill for some re-writing, but says he’ll bring it back in the weeks ahead.

In another committee room, a House bill that would restrict public access to booking mugshots wins approval. New Orleans Democrat Royce Duplessis’ bill would keep such pics private until the person is convicted. No conviction; no mugshot released. Media outlets often rely on booking mugs for their news coverage. The bill moves now to the House floor.

 

Police in Lafayette arrest a local man they say was in possession of over $165-thousand in illegal drugs. Among the items found: 5000 tablets of an opioid pain reliever, over 4 pounds of marijuana, various other pain meds, plus guns and cash. 53-year-old Joe Kemp faces a long list of charges.

The tornado that ravaged the community of Arabi Tuesday night also claimed the life of 25-year-old Conner Lambert. Brooke Thorington has more…:

CUT 01(31)      “…Brooke Thorington.”

3:30 LRN Newscast March 24

A Desoto Parish lawmaker temporarily pulls his bill to impose fines on businesses that deny entry based on whether or not you’ve had COVID shots. Stonewall Republican Larry Bagley’s bill got bipartisan pushback in a House committee … like this from Baton Rouge Republican Scott McKnight…:

CUT 13(10)      “…how to run it.”

Bagley says there are concerns about whether coronavirus vaccines are safe and work as they should. After discussion, he deferred his bill for some tweaking, but says he’ll bring it back before the session ends.

Police in Slidell says they’ve identified – and arrested – 12 members of what they call a high-level drug distribution ring. The gang was moving large amounts of heroin, meth, amphetamines and fentanyl. Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal says their Operation Clean Sweep is still ongoing and more arrests are coming.

 

A bill that would make developing renewable energies in Louisiana more attractive to entrepreneurs passes committee and heads to the House floor. State Natural Resources Secretary Thomas Harris says some developers have passed us by because our lease acreage offered is limited to just 5-thousand acres…:

CUT 11(12)      “…do business.”

Estimate reports show a single offshore wind farm could generate up to 5-thousand jobs.

Tuesday’s fierce tornado that hit St. Bernard Parish took the life of a 25-year-old U.L.-Lafayette graduate and aerospace engineer. Connor Lambert was an Arabi native and his Chalmette High football coach, Jason Tucker, says the whole town mourns him…:

CUT 04(11)      “…will be missed.”

Lambert was in the home he’d just purchased three months ago when the tornado hit.

2:30 LRN Newscast March 24

Legislation that would impose fines against businesses that deny a person entry based on their vaccination status runs into resistance in the House Criminal Justice Committee. Jeff Palermo has the story…:

CUT 02(34)      “…Jeff Palermo.”

For the second time this week, Interstate 10 West in West Baton Rouge Parish was closed for hours this morning due to a crash. State Police say a tour bus and a big rig collided; sending the buss careening into the median where it caught fire. One person was killed, three injured. Troopers are investigating the crash now.

 

The one reported fatality from Tuesday night’s tornado in the New Orleans area is identified as a 25-year-old U.L.-Lafayette graduate. Connor Lambert worked at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. His Chalmette High football coach, Jason Tucker, says Lambert was one of the good ones…:

CUT 03(06)      “…hang out with.”

During a standard press conference before his first spring practice at LSU, head coach Brian Kelly decided to put a toe in the murky legal waters of a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by associate coach Frank Wilson. Kelly told media he is in Wilson’s corner on this…:

CUT 08(10)      “…of our staff.”

Former Associate A.D. Sharon Lewis claims Wilson exposed himself to her. Kelly says her allegations are “egregious” and “unfounded.”

4:30 LRN Newscast March 23

The tornado that plowed through Arabi last night was an EF-3; packing 135 mile-an-hour winds. St. Bernard parish President Guy McInnis says damage is extensive, but could have been worse. He discourages people from making sight-seeing drives through the area, as many roads are still impassible or filled with emergency workers…:

CUT 04  (11)        recovery stuff

Only one person – a 25-year-old man – is reported dead.

Lifelong Arabi resident Tony Vitale’s home was demolished by the twister. He says so were virtually all other homes on his block…:

CUT 07(16)      completely gone.

 

The HUD announcement of $450 million for those recovering in southwest Louisiana from 2020’s Hurricane Laura is welcome news in Calcasieu Parish. Alberto Galan who’s overseeing Long Term Recovery for the parish says the funding will in large part finally help with those unmet housing needs…:

CUT 11(08)      the ground

And while the state is awaiting those funds Galan encourages those in need to first fill out a survey with the state’s Office of Community Development.

An Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet crashed this morning in a wooded area south of Deridder, in Beauregard parish. The pilot was able to eject safely. The crash is under investigation.

LSU formally introduced Matt McMahon as the new men’s basketball head coach today. McMahon comes from Murray State. McMahon’s contract is reportedly worth $20.3-million over seven years.

3:30 LRN Newscast March 23

The National Weather Service says the tornado that tore through the town of Arabi in St. Bernard Parish last night was at least an EF-3. Jeff Palermo reports one person was killed in the disaster…:

CUT 01(32)      “…Jeff Palermo.”

We now know a bit more about that F-16 that crashed in Beauregard Parish this morning. The fighter jet was part of the Oklahoma Air National Guard and was en route from Houston back to Oklahoma. The pilot ejected safely & no one on the ground was hurt.

 

More on the tornado strike last night in St. Bernard Parish. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says a huge rescue & recovery effort started once the “all clear’ was sounded…:

CUT 08(11)      “…Jefferson Parish area.”

Door-to-door canvassing for persons in need of medical aid continues today. Governor Edwards has declared a state of emergency for St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes to help free up resources to help in recovery.

Teachers in Webster Parish are offered a chance to bring home some extra money, by getting behind the wheel of a parish school bus. Full time educators willing to double as bus drivers, will get the driver pay plus all applicable benefits in addition to their teachers’ compensation. At least two Webster teachers are already doing it.