AM LRN Newscall May 25

The first of two funeral services will be held today for former Governor Buddy Roemer. Brooke Thorington talks with a political analyst about the former governor and four-term congressman.

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The state marks another COVID milestone with the lowest number of individuals hospitalized with the virus since they began counting last March, with 271. Brooke Thorington has more

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House-approved legislation offering nurse practitioners more independence to practice without needing a collaborative agreement with a doctor is waiting to be heard on the Senate floor. Matt Doyle has more.

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The first of two funeral services will be held today for former Louisiana Governor Gov. Buddy Roemer. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat recalls the political life of the former four-term congressman and a one-term governor.

Cut 4 (11)”…his style.”

Roemer, a Bossier City native and Harvard graduate, first entered politics when he was elected as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention in 1972. Pinsonat says Roemer’s father even worked for former Governor Edwin Edwards in his first administration then Roemer defeated Edwards in the 1987 Gubernatorial election.

Cut 5 (11)”…the dragon.”

As governor Roemer is remembered for legalizing riverboat gaming and the state lottery. Pinsonat says he’s also known for his call for education reform.

Cut 6 (11)”…schools better.”

Pinsonat says Roemer was extremely well-educated, an avid reader, and ahead of his time. After he left the governor’s mansion, he became a successful banker. Roemer was 77.

The first funeral service will be held at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge today at 11 am with visitation beginning at 9 am. A second service will be in Shreveport on Thursday at First United Methodist Church, the service will begin at 11 am and visitation at 9:30 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting to honor Roemer with donations to the America Diabetes Association and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools Little Free Libraries Projects.


A Senate judiciary committee will hear House-approved legislation by Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover today that would decriminalize possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana.

Chairman Franklin Foil says the bill would still make it a crime to possess small quantities of marijuana, people just wouldn’t get sent to jail over it.

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Those found with up to 14 grams of marijuana can be fined up to 100 dollars, but cannot be sentenced to jail time.

But ultimately Foil wants to hear from criminal justice authorities before making his decision…

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The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association reportedly played a pivotal role in the defeat of a legalization effort last week.

An effort to fully legalize recreational marijuana failed 47-49 last week, but this legislation passed 68-25. Foil says attitudes towards pot in Louisiana are changing quickly…

Cut 9 (10) “…happen.” 

Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans have already adopted local decriminalization laws.


The state marks a milestone as the health department reported the lowest number of Louisianans hospitalized with COVID since March 2020.  On Monday 271 were in the hospital with COVID and State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter says the majority of those patients have not been vaccinated.

Cut 10 (07) “…get vaccinated.”

Kanter says over two-thirds of Louisianans 65 and older are fully vaccinated. And because the average age of those in the hospital is decreasing so are fatalities.

He admits there have been some breakthrough cases, those who have been fully vaccinated but still catch COVID, but says overwhelmingly being vaccinated is your best protection.

The number of those patients in the hospital on ventilators is 29, and Kantar says placing someone on a respirator with COVID is a severe intervention and is a last-ditch effort.

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The state also reported the first two cases of the COVID variant dominant in India in Caddo Parish last week. Kanter says the two individuals did not travel out of the country so it’s indicative that there are more cases of the variant in the state.

Cut 12 (09) “…down the road.”

Kanter says approximately 35-percent of residents have initiated or completed their vaccine series in the state, well below the national average.


House-approved Legislation that would make permanent a pandemic era policy giving nurse practitioners more independence is set to be heard in the Senate.

Previously independent NPs would have to have a contract with a doctor who would agree to be on call to review cases, but an executive order suspended that requirement last year. President of the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners Kathy Baldridge wants to make that permanent…

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Supporters of the bill say collaborative practice agreements can be prohibitively expensive and can restrict access to care for Medicaid patients.

Baldridge says there are five clinics in Avoyelles Parish that are completely staffed by nurse practitioners. They have an agreement with an aging doctor, and can’t find a replacement…

Cut 14 (11) “…clinc setting.”

Baldridge also argues eight of the ten healthiest states in the nation offer similar freedom to nurse practitioners, and that requiring the agreement restricts an NP to one location.

Dr. Lisa Casey with Physicians for Patient Protection opposes the bill. She says there’s a difference in education and training between a doctor and a nurse practitioner.

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Casey disputed claims by supporters that quality of care in Louisiana did not dip after the executive order, she says there’s been no surveys or research to confirm that.

Casey says this is a patient safety issue.

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The bill, by Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey, cleared the House on a 61-41 vote


Saints Coach Sean Payton says 87-percent of the players are participating in organized team activities. There was talk of players skipping these training sessions after having a virtual 2020 offseason. Coach Sean Payton says they are not doing any on the field work, instead of its strength and conditioning

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Retired Q-B Drew Brees is not around for the first time in a decade and a half. General Manager Mickey Loomis says it’s noticeable not to have number nine around anymore…

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The LSU baseball team needs to win today or its stay at the SEC Tournament will be a short one. The Tigers will face Georgia in an elimination game, the winner advances into the double-elimination portion of the bracket. Coach Paul Mainieri will send his staff ace to the mound, Landon Marceaux, and closer Devin Fontenot is once again ready to pitch multiple innings

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LSU has won a conference-high 12 tournament titles and the Tigers have won six of the past 12 SEC Tournament crowns. Paul Mainieri owns a 38-10 record in SEC Tournament games

Cut 20 (16) “…of the same.”