15:30 LRN Newscast, March 31, 2016

The Senate Labor Committee approved bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $8.00 an hour beginning next year, and then to $8.50 in 2018. Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana households are unable to afford their basic necessities. He says it’s not just high school and college students who are working for minimum wage.

CUT 9 (06) “monthly expenses”

Baton Rouge business owner Mark Johnson opposes the increase. Johnson says this would leave business owners with difficult decisions about absorbing the new costs.

cut 12 (06) “your choices”

The bill now heads to the Senate floor for debate.

Several tax increases will go into effect tomorrow in Louisiana, including a one-cent increase on the state sales tax. The tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by 22-cents, and taxes on all types of alcohol will also go up.

Even though Republican US Senator David Vitter is leaving office at the end of this year, he’s still got things to accomplish in his final year. Vitter says he will be focusing on chemical safety reform and improving infrastructure access. He says he plans on getting out of politics once his term ends in January.

cut 14 (09)  “our lives”

Vitter doesn’t plan on making any endorsements for the US Senate race until after the primaries.

Lafayette’s own local celebrity, 23-year-old MacKenzie Bourg, will find out tonight if he’ll advance to the Top 3 on the final season of American Idol. MacKenzie’s dad, Rudy Bourg, says it’s incredible that five years ago his son was fighting for his life due to a sudden illness, and now he’s where he’s at today…:

CUT 8 (09) “at life”