LRN AM Newscall July 1

On the last day of the special session, the Legislature passes a tort reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance rates. Matt Doyle has the story.

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The Louisiana National Guard will honor first responders and frontline healthcare workers by performing flyovers over hospitals today.  Kevin Barnhart has the story.

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On the final day of the special session, the Legislature approves a 34 billion dollar budget. Matt Doyle has the Governor’s reaction…

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Civil lawsuit reform legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk that supporters say may lower auto insurance rates.

The bill was passed on veto-proof lines but is less expansive than previous tort legislation that was shot down by the Governor. Crowley Representative John Stefanski calls it an important step forward…

Cut 4 (11)_ “…rates.”

The bill passed with a few hours left in the special session.

The bill sets the jury trial threshold at 10,000 dollars, limits when insurance company’s names can be mentioned in court, removes a ban on mentioning a crash victim’s seatbelt status, and make other adjustments to collateral source.

Baton Rouge Representative C. Denise Marcelle asked the question on everyone’s mind…

Cut 5 (07)  “…insurance”

But ultimately voted for it alongside a number of other Democrats who had previously opposed tort measures.

Evangeline Parish Senator Heather Cloud celebrated the bill’s passage, saying it would help fix the ongoing crisis in commercial auto insurance markets.

Cut 6 (09) “…the books”

Governor Edwards applauded this version of the bill, which was a compromise between earlier GOP efforts and the Governor’s past preferred policy.


Senator Bill Cassidy says he expects another federal stimulus package to be passed sometime in late July.

Cassidy aims to have CARES 4.0 focused on covering the estimated 500 billion dollars of lost revenue for local governments nationwide. He says the cancellation of spring south Louisiana festivals has already left a mark, and…

Cut 7 (10) “…festival.”

The 500 billion dollars includes funds already lost, and estimated losses moving into 2021.

Cassidy says Senators are evaluating whether they will maintain federal unemployment assistance set to expire July 31st but feels it won’t be necessary if economies can reopen.

Cut 8 (11) “…assistance.”

When asked how big the next stimulus might be, Cassidy expressed concern that about 50 percent of the money allocated for COVID recovery hasn’t even been spent yet.

Cut 9 (07) “…resources”


The Louisiana National Guard will be performing more hospital flyovers today honoring first responders and frontline healthcare workers.  Louisiana’s Army aviation commander Col. John Plunkett says two teams of four Black Hawk helicopters will lift off around 11 am, one from Hammond, the other from Pineville.

Cut 10 (09) “…very easily seen.”

Several months ago, flyovers were performed, but they didn’t hit every hospital in the state. Plunkett says the routing of these flights should hit Slidell, Hammond, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport, and Monroe.

Cut 11 (09) “…will see us.”

Plunkett says the battle against COVID-19 will be a long one and compares what healthcare workers are going through to that of an overseas deployment.

Cut 12 (08) “…short term sacrifice.”


The Legislature approves a 34 billion dollar operating budget for the fiscal year that starts today, one that looks fairly similar to the on Governor Edwards proposed. Despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in CARES Act money, Edwards warns there will still have to be some cuts due to COVID-related revenue shortfalls.

Cut 13 (11) “amounts” 

The Legislature also approved a series of tax breaks for COVID-impacted businesses. Edwards says he has his concerns with passing tax breaks at a time when revenue is already suffering.

Cut 14 (09) “…go back”

Proponents of the tax breaks say they are necessary to save businesses on the brink right now financially.

Edwards also bemoaned the Legislature’s decision to pause a scheduled pay raise for state employees that would have cost about 60 million dollars.

Cut 15 (09) “…available”

Legislators expressed concern about the “optics” of passing a state pay raise while so many private-sector employees were out of work.