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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. 30, 2020 at 3:23 AM CDT
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LOUISIANA SPECIAL SESSION

Louisiana lawmakers end session with budget deal, tax breaks

BATON ROUGE, La (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have completed a 30-day special session called in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The House and Senate wrapped up Tuesday after awarding millions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses and finishing the state’s operating budget a day before it must take effect. The $34 billion spending plan approved unanimously by the House and Senate uses federal virus aid to stop deep cuts but sets Louisiana up for future financial problems if state tax collections don’t rebound. Republican lawmakers brokered a final agreement with Gov. John Bel Edwards on reworking civil litigation rules to lessen damage claims that can be awarded in car accident lawsuits.

AP-US-POLICE-INDICTED-EXCESSIVE-FORCE

8 Shreveport police officers accused of excessive force

A Louisiana grand jury has accused eight police officers of using excessive force when they arrested two men after a chase in January. District Attorney James Stewart Sr. said Tuesday that a grand jury charged each Shreveport Police officer on Monday with one count of malfeasance in office. Stewart says prosecutors have dropped all charges against Chico Bell and Damon Robinson because of the unnecessary force. Police Chief Ben Raymond said his office began investigating the incident the day of the arrest. Stewart says cases involving the separate deaths of two Black men while in Shreveport Police custody are not yet ready to present to a grand jury.

LOUISIANA SPECIAL SESSION-TAX BREAKS

Louisiana lawmakers pass tax breaks as virus recovery effort

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers in their 30-day special session agreed to expand and extend business tax credits, exemptions and incentive programs. Supporters say the measures would help businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic, as they struggle with closures and restrictions mandated by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Critics say the approach was haphazard, involved too little study and could worsen the state’s budget problems from the virus. The bills are estimated to siphon millions from the treasury each year. One of the largest tax breaks would benefit the gambling industry. It costs $11 million in the first year and grows annually. Edwards hasn’t said which measures he’ll support.

AP-US-CLERGY-ABUSE-NEW-ORLEANS-DEACON

Former New Orleans deacon, 85, dies awaiting rape trial

A longtime Roman Catholic deacon and schoolteacher awaiting trial on rape charges in New Orleans has died. Eighty-five-year-old George Brignac died Monday after a brief hospitalization. He had been awaiting trial on rape charges after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Defense attorney Martin Regan said Brignac had hoped to clear his name at trial. The Archdiocese of New Orleans settled several lawsuits against Brignac, a longtime teacher, and included him among the more than 50 names of clergy removed from the ministry due to “credible accusations” of sexual abuse.

AP-LOUISIANA-BLACK JUDGES

US court rejects majority Black Louisiana judicial district

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned a lower court ruling calling for a majority Black judgeship election district in a south Louisiana parish. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal said there was “weak evidence” of discriminatory dilution of Black votes in majority white Terrebonne Parish. The state noted in briefs that after the 2014 lawsuit was filed, a Black judge was elected in an uncontested election. Plaintiffs countered that there was a history of Black candidates losing in parish-wide elections. And they noted that a former judge once was re-elected even after being suspended for having worn blackface and a prison jumpsuit to a party.

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.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-WHAT'S NEXT

Supreme Court's abortion ruling raises stakes for election

NEW YORK (AP) — Supporters of abortion rights were elated, and foes of abortion dismayed, after the Supreme Court issued its first major abortion ruling since President Donald Trump took office. But the two sides agree on one consequence: The upcoming election is crucial. In a 5-4 decision Monday, the high court struck down a Louisiana law that could restrict access to abortion. It was viewed as a key test of the court’s stance following Trump’s appointments of two conservative justices. Anti-abortion leaders say there’s an urgent need to reelect Trump so he can appoint more conservative justices. Abortion rights activists say it’s crucial to defeat Trump and end Republican control of the Senate.

INMATE ESCAPE

Officers block escape attempt from Louisiana prison

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities quickly captured a man who scaled one of the inner fences at a Louisiana prison and got caught in the razor wire. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections said in a news release Tuesday that 32-year-old Aaron Dun, tried to escape Elayn Hunt Correctional Center around 7 p.m. Monday. Dun was awaiting trial in St. John the Baptist Parish for home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, and armed robbery. He is also a registered sex offender in Alabama, where he is wanted for several additional charges. The department says attempted escape charges are pending against Dun and the attempted escape remains under investigation.

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