LRN PM Newscall March 29

On April 1st the price on a pack of cigarettes will increase 22 cents to $1.08. Emelie Gunn has more on how this effects the tobacco industry….

CUT 1 (27)  “I’m Emelie Gunn”


The Public Service Commission has approved Cleco’s sale to Macquarie Infrastructure for nearly $5-billion dollars. Halen Doughty has more…

CUT 2 (30)  “I’m Halen Doughty”


Starting on April 1st, smokers will pay a $1.08 tax on a pack of cigarettes. A new tax brings the cost of a pack up 22 cents. Bill Bailey is the owner of Smoker’s Paradise in Pineville and he says smokers already get taxed an unfair amount. He says legislators continue to target the tobacco users because they are the minority.

CUT 3 (10)  “for money”

The cigarette tax went up 50 cents last year. Bailey says he hasn’t seen a dramatic decrease in customers since the increase, but it gradually goes down. He says there is a huge trend of cigarette smokers switching to small cigars…

CUT 4 (09)  “the shelf”

It’s expected the 22 cent increase will generate 11 million dollars between April 1st and June 30th. Bailey says smokers are stocking up on cigarettes before the tax hike.

CUT 5 (05)     “of product”


A 60-year-old man from northeast Texas was tragically killed after he was accidentally run over by a dragster driven by his own brother at the Thunder Road Raceway in Gillam. Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick says the two were part of a racing crew that was conducting test runs at the park…:

CUT 6 (08) “of his injuries”

Chadwick says these test runs are required by the National Hot Rod Association as part of the licensure process for drivers. She says the deceased is identified as Steven Smith, and the man behind the wheel of the vehicle was 55-year-old Stuart Smith – both of Atlanta, Texas…:

CUT 7 (05) “they’re brothers”

Chadwick says the accident was investigated by their department’s Traffic Safety Unit…:

CUT 8 (08) “have been filed”


The Public Service Commission has approved the sale of the Pineville-based utility company Cleco to Macquarie Infrastructure for $4.9 billion. The deal passed with a 4-1 vote by the PSC. Cleco spokesperson Robbyn Cooper says this sale will have great benefits for Cleco’s ratepayers.

CUT 9 (12) “two years”

As part of the deal, Cleco’s 287-thousand Louisiana customers will receive 136-million dollars in rate credits. Cooper says the P-S-C has the final say on when those credits will appear on ratepayers’ bills..

cut 10 (12)  “the money”

Cooper says they feel this transaction is the best option for their company. She says customers should not expect to see a difference in their service from the utility company.

Cut 11 (07) “still Cleco”

CEO for the Alliance for Affordable Energy Casey DeMoss says this deal does not benefit Cleco customers. She says they are concerned about the long-term future of the utility company now that it’s been purchased by a foreign investment group.

cut 12 (06) “not be”

DeMoss says these so-called benefits for customers will not be worth it in the long run, as the company has plans to double their rate case in the future. DeMoss says this puts thousands of ratepayers at risk for having their rates increase.

Cut 13 (05)  “financial risks”


The Department of Transportation says roadways have suffered nearly 20 million dollars worth of damage due to the recent flooding. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says it will take a lot of time and effort to fix and maintain the damaged roads. He says they’re currently working to assess the damage and find out how many miles of roadway need to be repaired.

cut 14 (10)  “an inspection”

Wilson says the state already has nearly a 13-billion dollar backlog on road repairs before the massive flooding created more damage.

cut 15 (08) ” event” 

Wilson says they’re working with their federal partners to determine who will pay for the repairs…

cut 16 (10) “repair”