News for Friday July 31st, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
New COVID numbers for the state showed an increase in cases of 17-hundred yesterday. Hospitalizations decreased for the third day in a row, down by 20. The use of vents also decreased, down by 16. however Fatalities increased by 42. Governor Edwards says that’s due to our spike in cases over the past few weeks.
Unions and citizens’’ groups rallied yesterday outside the offices of U-S Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy demanding they vote for a coronavirus relief package that continues the 600-dollar weekly benefits for unemployed workers. Cassidy has said there needs to be a greater focus on moving unemployed people into available jobs. But many protesters say they can’t find a job that pays the rent. Democrats are in support of continuing the 600-dollar a week unemployment checks.
Several bar owners in Acadiana have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Governor Edwards over his emergency order that bans onsite consumption at bars. Attorney Jimmy Faircloth is representing the plaintiffs and he says several of these bar owners met with the governor to find out why casinos are allowed to remain open, but a small bar owner can’t have ten patrons inside their establishment. The state health department has traced 464 confirmed coronavirus infections to 41 bars. Governor Edwards says bar closures were a necessity in spread mitigation and have the support of the feds.
Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder says thousands of small business owners from across the state have started the application process for a grant from the state’s Main Street Recovery Program. Each grant, worth up to $15,000, helps business owners cover unforeseen costs from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this spring, the Louisiana Legislature created the $275 million Main Street Recovery Program. The program prioritizes businesses that have not received financial help from their insurance companies or the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Schroder says more than 15,000 businesses started the application process in the first two days of the program. He says the initial demand indicates just how bad businesses have it right now.
It was announced yesterday that the Baton Rouge region "erased a decade of job growth in a month" because of coronavirus, marking a drop in progress not seen since the Great Recession began in late 2007.
Beginning Saturday access to medical marijuana will increase dramatically in Louisiana. Legislation passed this year that allows physicians to prescribe without having to obtain a special license. LSU medical marijuana licensee Wellcana CEO John Davis says as, with other medications prescribed in the state, marijuana dispensaries have access to the state’s prescription program to reduce abuse. Medical cannabis is not currently covered by health insurance, but some lawmakers are hoping to change that.
Beginning tomorrow, state law will allow for year around nighttime hunting of feral hogs on private property. Jonesboro Republican Jack McFarland authored the measure and
says the bill would also extend to other damaging species such as armadillos, nutria, beavers, and coyotes. Hunters would be required to contact the parish sheriff’s office within 24 hours prior to the attempted nighttime take. McFarland says feral hogs will eat anything and have negative impacts on farmland as well as other wildlife.
The number of first-time unemployment claims in Louisiana dropped sharply last week, but the number of people who continued to get jobless benefits rose. There were 18,511 initial unemployment claims filed during the week ending Saturday, according to figures released yesterday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That’s down from the 32,079 first-time claims filed the week ending July 18. In comparison to more typical numbers, just 2,022 first-time claims were filed this week last year.
SEC presidents approve a plan that would reduce the football schedule from 12 regular-season games to a ten-game season against conference opponents. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the ten-game schedule would begin on September 26th and the SEC title game will be held on December 19th.