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Here is the latest Louisiana news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. CDT

Here is the latest Louisiana news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. CDT
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:43 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has reasserted a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era. Sharply divided in a 5-4 vote, the justices struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining his four more liberal colleagues. The court rejected a state law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. It's far from the last word in the decades-long fight over abortion. But it's a surprising defeat for abortion opponents, who thought that a new conservative majority with two of President Donald Trump’s appointees would start chipping away at abortion access.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have reached the final hours of a coronavirus response special session that must end Tuesday. A unanimous House vote gave final passage to a bill using federal virus aid to provide $250 one-time “hazard pay” checks to thousands of front-line employees who stayed on their jobs in the early days of the outbreak. The Senate voted 33-2 to shield K-12 schools and colleges from most civil lawsuits from students and teachers who contract COVID-19. It requires another vote before it can reach Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk. Still outstanding is a final deal on the $34 billion state operating budget for the new financial year beginning Wednesday.

HOUSTON (AP) — Health departments around the U.S. that are using contact tracers to contain coronavirus outbreaks are scrambling to bolster their ranks amid a surge of cases and resistance to cooperation from those infected or exposed. With too few trained contact tracers to handle soaring caseloads, one hard-hit Arizona county is relying on National Guard members to pitch in. In Louisiana, people who have tested positive typically wait more than two days to respond to health officials — giving the disease crucial time to spread. Contact tracing tracks people who test positive and anyone they’ve come in contact with. It was challenging even when stay-at-home orders were in place, but it’s exponentially more difficult now.

GRETNA, La. (AP) — Jefferson Parish will require face masks inside businesses and public places starting Wednesday to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Officials announced the measure on Monday saying they're reacting to a rising number of cases in the area, especially among younger people. Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng says no one will go to jail over the rule. But she says violations will carry fines of as much as $500. The new rule comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the parish has been climbing steadily. Jefferson had the most cases in the state as of Monday.

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