12:30 LRN Newscast March 11

The Louisiana Legislature convenes its spring Regular Session Monday. Lawmakers will have about a thousand bills to consider; ranging from teacher pay to expanding medical marijuana. Council for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin says House & Senate members will have a lot of work to do – sorting through the various interests and initiatives proposed…:

CUT 12  (14)        transgender athletes

Erwin says we can expect a second attempt to pass constitutional carry, teacher pay raises, a ban on pornography of college campuses and more.

Grambling State University is the latest Louisiana college to lift its COVID 19 protocols; particularly the mask mandate. Students and faculty may still wear a mask if they choose, but it is no longer required.

Today, the state Health Department reports only 142 new cases of coronavirus, with 239 people in the hospital with virus symptoms.

 

Daylight Saving Time return this weekend. Not only is the time change unpopular, but it can also impact your health. Brooke Thorington has more…:

CUT 01  (34)        “…Thorington.”

…and now today’s markets …

4:30 LRN Newscast March 10

Top story: the price you pay at the pump for gas. The statewide average cost of regular is now at $4.13 and climbing as crude oil rises further above $100-a-barrel. Tulane Energy Institute director Pierre Conner says every ten dollar increase in crude translates into 25-cents in the pump price. He says crude is likely to start falling soon, but if demand remains high, retails prices will keep going up…:

CUT 07(12)      “…to 9 months.”

On another hand, the high oil & gas prices means increased money for Louisiana, by way of severance taxes and royalties. State Treasurer John Schroder says that’s good, because higher gas prices for consumers will mean declining sales tax revenues, as household tighten their belts…:

CUT 13(09)      “…in others.”

 

Former LSU basketballer and Ukraine native Roman Rubchenko (roob-CHENK-oh) gives an update on conditions in his country amid the Russian invasion. Brooke Thorington has more…:

CUT 01(35)      “…Brooke Thorington.”

Economic development in Jeff Davis Parish. The Governor’s Office says Washington-based Greenberry Industrial will convert a shipyard plant near Jennings to make heavy industrial modules for a number of industries. The plant should employ around 100 people by summer, and create about 150 indirect jobs.

3:30 LRN Newscast March 10

Do crude oil prices over 100-dollars mean more money for the state’s coffers? Jeff Palermo has more…:

CUT 02(31)      “…Jeff Palermo.”

A New Orleans woman escapes unhurt, after a gunman carjacked her vehicle while she was filling her tank. Surveillance video shows the victim about get in her SUV when done, as a man points a gun at her head, demands her keys and drives away. The gas station owner says this is a dozen carjackings at his business alone so far this year.

 

Louisiana AAA reports the statewide average price of regular gas is now $4.13. That’s 90-cents higher than a month ago. So, could they go up another 90-cents in the next month? Tulane Energy Institute’s Pierre Connor says that is possible…:

CUT 06(10)      “…higher prices.”

Every $10 a barrel increase, translates to 25-cents a gallon at the pump for us.

In the week since Talk Louisiana host, Jim Engster spoke with former LSU basketball player Roman Rubchenko (roob-CHENK-oh) the Ukraine native says he’s now back at his country home outside of the capital of Kyiv, after traveling with other men to help women & children in their families evacuate safely…:

CUT 03(10)      “…that we can help.”

Rubchenko says he wants to see Vladimir Putin tried for war crimes.

2:30 LRN Newscast March 10

Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes the congressional district map passed by the legislature, because – he says – it did not create a second majority black U.S. House voting district. On the Talk Louisiana radio show, Baton Rouge Advocate Capitol reporter Mark Ballard says this was expected, when GOP lawmakers showed little regard for constituent groups other than their own, when creating the map…:

CUT 11  (10)        “…base is protected.”

Here’s another “OMG Gas Prices” story. The statewide average cost of regular gas is now $4.13; a 90-cent increase over a month ago. Tulane Energy Institute director Professor Pierre Connor says $5.00 gas is likely to come sooner than later. He says oil companies will reap huge revenues, but put it to good use…:

CUT 08  (10)        “…a little bit more.”

 

Crude oil at over $100 a barrel means increased revenues in the state’s checkbook. The money comes from severance taxes and royalties. State Treasurer John Schroder says that will help offset the state’s waning sales tax revenues. The bad news, he says, is we’ll all have to change our spending habits until energy prices level off…:

CUT 14  (11)        “…on vacation very far…”

The state’s revenue estimators forecast about a half-billion in energy-related revenues in 2023, as a result of this oil & gas price explosion.

Iberville Parish deputies say their routine traffic stop on I-10 near Ramah turned into a big drug bust. Three Vietnamese-Americans – with addresses in three different states – were hauling over 63 pounds of marijuana. They’ve been booked with “possession with intent to distribute.”

4:30 LRN Newscast March 9

Despite pleas from Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, there is no further Louisiana disaster recovery money in the government funding bill that the U.S. House is set to approve today. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says it’s disappointing…:

CUT 03(12)      “…other countries.”

Louisiana has already received 600-million federal dollars for the hurricanes that hit in 2020 and 2021. It’s estimated that as much as $300-million more may be needed.

An outage left approximately 10-thousand in New Orleans without power this morning, and Entergy says a bird was the cause. The animal apparently caused a massive short circuit at a power neighborhood power substation. Power was restored by early afternoon. The bird? Didn’t make it.

 

Today marks two years since Louisiana reported its first positive COVID case. March 9, 2020 was the start of the pandemic here. State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter says there have been tremendous challenges and losses over the past 24 months….:

CUT 09(11)      “…people nationwide.”

Overall there have been more than 1.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana. The statewide death toll related to the virus is just over 16,800.

Here’s another side effect of the huge run-up in gasoline prices; a developing shortage of delivery and ride share drivers. A number of drivers for Uber, Lyft, Door Dash and others report they simply don’t make enough money to pay for car insurance, wear & tear on their ride AND $50 to fill up the gas tank.

3:30 LRN Newscast March 9

Gas and diesel fuel prices are now at all-time highs, and many are now calling for an increase in domestic oil production, but experts says it’s not as simple as flipping a switch. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports there are just over 600 crude oil and natural gas rigs operating. Louisiana Oil & Gas Association head Mike Moncla says getting dormant rigs working again – after they’ve been shut down -requires a large investment…:

CUT 13(12)      “…invest in it.”

Moncla says the President could take action to hasten domestic production, but so far he has not.

Meanwhile the statewide average price of regular gas is at $4.04-a-gallon; leaving many trying to budget for sky high fuel and everything else they need. Louisiana AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says there are thing you can do to improve your vehicle’s mileage…:

CUT 08(06)      “…properly inflated.”

 

Senator John Kennedy met today with White House Supreme Court nominee Katanji Brown Jackson. The two spent several minutes in one-on-one conversation. In a brief written statement, Kennedy says he is “thankful for the opportunity to meet with Judge Jackson” and that he looks forward to hearing more from at her Senate confirmation hearing.

Some anniversaries are celebrated, others are commemorated. David Grubb has more as the state marks two years since the arrival of COVID…:

CUT 02(31)      “…David Grubb.”

Former State Police head Kevin Reeves has agreed to testify to a panel of lawmakers looking into the roadside death of Ronald Greene in 2019 – when Reeves was in charge. His testimony could be as early as next week.

2:30 LRN Newscast March 9

Despite pleas from Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, there is no further Louisiana disaster recovery funding in a government funding bill that the U-S House is set to approve today. Louisiana has already received 600-million dollars in community block grant funding for the hurricanes that hit in 2020 and 2021, but Governor John Bel Edwards says the need is much greater, especially in southwest Louisiana. Congressman Garret Graves concurs…:

CUT 04(11)      “…it’s not OK. It’s not.”

Louisiana set a new record at the pump today with the statewide average of $4.04 for a gallon of regular gas. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says he’s afraid this is just the beginning when it comes to breaking records for prices at the pump…:

CUT 06(10)      “…continue to climb.”

 

With gas prices at all-time highs, many are calling for an increase in oil production. Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Mike Moncla says the U-S would need oil from both Mexico and Canada in order to become energy independent as a continent. But he says President Biden would need to make it happen…:

CUT 12(10)      “…that we’re using now.”

He says new rigs are coming online, but staffing them remains a challenge.

The Louisiana case of COVID 19 was reported 2 years ago today. State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter says the last 24 months have been hard on everyone; especially families who lost loved ones. Kanter credit the resilience of medical professionals and the amazing work they’ve done to save lives and combat the virus…:

CUT 10(11)      “…we need to.”

Overall there have been more than 1.2-million reported cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including over 16,800 deaths related to the virus.

4:30 LRN Newscast March 8

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says it’s time to get U.S. oil & gas production rolling again, and he’s about to propose new energy policy to do that. Regular gas is at a statewide average of $3.95-a-gallon. The year-long price run-up spiked sharply with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cassidy says Russia has the majority of oil & gas exports to European nations, and losing a piece of that business would make a strong point. He says there is bipartisan support for restarting U.S. oil & gas production to send the message, and what the U.S. HAS been doing isn’t working…:

CUT 14(08)      “…allies in Europe.”

Cassidy says his domestic energy policy proposals will be revealed Wednesday.

The new Mississippi River cruise ship being built for Viking was floated out Monday at Edison Chouest shipyard in Houma. The 450-foot ship will carry up to 386 passengers on cruises between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minnesota. Its maiden voyage is set for late June.

 

The state’s most well-known, or notorious, prison is dealing with a staffing crisis that has shown no signs of ending. Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says there are more than 300 guard positions currently unfilled at Angola State Penitentiary, which houses more than 5-thousand inmates. He says low salaries are the biggest problem in attracting new hires. DOC is asking lawmakers for $2-million to transfer about 600 prisoners from Angola to Allen Correctional Center, and to add stuff like A/C to parts of Angola…:

CUT 08(06)      “…next year.”

Two people are dead following a hit-and-run crash involving a big rig last night on I-10 in Lake Charles. State Police say a westbound 18-wheeler sideswiped a pickup, causing it to cross the median and hit another vehicle head-on. Both drivers were killed. The big rig drove on without stopping. Troopers are seeking a yellow colored semi cab, pulling a refrigerated trailer.

3:30 LRN Newscast March 8

The head of the state Department of Corrections tells the Senate Finance Committee staffing prisons is their top challenge. Jeff Palermo has the story…:

CUT 01(31)      “…Jeff Palermo.”

The Italian owners of Swiss-based Kopter Group are pulling out of a deal made a few years back to manufacture helicopters in Lafayette. Kopter says it will make them instead at its plant in Pennsylvania. Louisiana Economic Development is looking for another tenant for the former Bell helicopter facility in Lafayette.

 

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says it’s time to get U.S. oil & gas production rolling again, and he’s about to propose new energy policy to do that. The Baton Rouge senator says this is the best way to send Russia a message; by competing with them for energy exports. He says that will also benefit Louisiana in terms of revenues and jobs…:

CUT 13(05)      “…LNG export terminals.”

Tomorrow Cassidy will propose new policies to help cut red tape with permitting of domestic & foreign exports and explorations, and more.

Along with gasoline, DIESEL fuel is rapidly rising; now at a statewide average of $4.56-a-gallon. Louisiana Motor Transport Association executive director Renee Amar says that translates to about a dollar-per-mile for truckers, so get ready to pay more for goods due to the rising cost of getting them to you…:

CUT 05(11)      “…charge today.”

2:30 LRN Newscast March 8

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says it’s time to get U.S. oil & gas production rolling again, and he’s about to introduce new proposed energy policy to do that. The Baton Rouge senator says this is the best way to send Russian a message; by competing with them for energy exports. He says there is bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for doing that; not just for Americans’ benefit, but to shop out to other countries…:

CUT 12  (12)        “…benefits Louisiana.”

Regular gas is at a statewide average of $3.95-a-gallon.

The average price for a gallon of DIESEL in Louisiana today is $4.56 and Louisiana Motor Transport Association director Renee Amar says that’s translates to about a dollar per mile for big rigs. She says member truckers are doing everything they can to conserve…:

CUT 04(10)      “…properly.”

 

For the sixth consecutive year, a Crawfish is pardoned to celebrate the mudbug eating season. Brooke Thorington explains…:

CUT 02(33)      “…Thorington.”

A St. Tammany Parish lawmaker’s bill for the regular legislative session would ban speed & traffic light cameras statewide. Representative Paul Hollis’ bill is a proposed Constitutional Amendment; meaning he’ll need to pass it with two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate before it would go to voters to decide. The legislature gets started next Monday.