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Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT

Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 3:23 AM CDT
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SUPREME COURT-ABORTION

Split high court throws out Louisiana abortion clinic limit

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.

LOUISIANA SPECIAL SESSION

Louisiana lawmakers winding down coronavirus special session

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.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONTACT TRACING

Tracking coronavirus cases proves difficult amid new surge

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.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA

Jefferson Parish to require face masks beginning Wednesday

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.

AP-US-ODD-AQUARIUM-SWIM

Police reel in Louisiana man captured swimming in fish tank

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) — Police in Louisiana were able to reel in a man captured on video swimming through a fish tank at a sporting goods store. KSLA-TV reports that 26-year-old Kevin Wise said he plunged into the indoor aquarium at a Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City last week to follow through on a promise he made on social media. A video posted by an onlooker showed Wise swimming through the tank then running out of the store with wet clothes. Bossier City Police charged Wise with simple criminal damage to property on Friday after the company filed a complaint.

DESIGNING MATERIALS-GRANT

5 schools; $20M grant to design 3D printing materials; teach

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Five universities in Louisiana have a $20 million, five-year federal grant to design complex alloys and polymers for 3D printing and to build a sustainable research and education program in that area. The state Board of Regents says in a news release that the new Louisiana Material Design Alliance includes Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech, Tulane University, Southern University and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The board says new materials are needed to produce metal and plastic products with fewer defects and longer life.

BC-LA-UNFRAMED NEW ORLEANS

Artist asks student ideas for New Orleans mural

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans artist is asking students to suggest ideas for a mural on the wall around a school. Jessica Strahan will paint the mural as part of the Unframed collection started last year in the city’s Arts District. It will be part of her “You Are What You Eat” series of portraits in which up to half of a person’s face is covered by a fruit that they love or is significant to them. And it will be the first of up to three new murals joining five commissioned last year by the Helis Foundation and Arts Council New Orleans.

GAS PRICES

Average US gas price up 6 cents over 2 weeks to $2.22/gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline increased by 6 cents over the past two weeks, to $2.22 per gallon. That’s 51 cents below the average pump price from a year ago. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that demand for gasoline remains weak even as states reopen for business amid the coronavirus pandemic. She said prices at the pump may slow soon. The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.15 per gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $1.78 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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