Paul Braun

Paul Braun is WRKF's Capitol Access reporter.

Face coverings will now be mandatory in East Baton Rouge Parish businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Thursday that a member of his staff has tested positive for COVID-19.  

The first special legislative session of 2020 is in the books.
In the final day, state lawmakers passed bills that would shield schools from civil liability during the coronavirus pandemic, expand business tax breaks, and enact “historic” tort reform legislation.

Louisiana lawmakers spent the penultimate day of the special session ducking in an out of backroom negotiations as they finalized the language of tort reform legislation, proposed tax breaks, coronavirus response measures and the state operating budget. 

On Thursday, state senators quietly granted final legislative approval on a measure establishing a task force to study policing practices and excessive uses of force against people of color.

The results of the study will lay the groundwork for broader police reform legislation next year.

The Senate Finance Committee rolled out its version of the state budget Wednesday and proposed temporarily halting pay raises for state employees to prepare for possible mid-year budget adjustments.

Holding off on pay raises until October would save the state $60 million. Senate Finance Chairman Bodi White says if the economy improves by then-- or if Congress passes another relief bill-- that $60 million would go back to state agencies and state employees would get their raises.

With less than a week left in the special session, the Senate Finance Committee is to vote on the state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

They’re expected to amend the spending plan to account for a slew of House-passed tax breaks and business incentives aimed at stimulating the struggling economy.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that the state will not move forward with the phased reopening of the state’s economy due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

State Treasurer John Schroder briefed members of the Joint Budget Committee Monday morning on his plan for doling out $300 million of CARES Act money to small businesses affected by the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, GOP state lawmakers reaffirmed their belief that the best way to get the state’s faltering economy back on track is through tax cuts.

The Repubilcan-controlled House of Representatives approved a trio of business tax breaks.

Democrats accuse Republican state lawmakers of using the coronavirus as an excuse to add to an already lengthy list of business incentives.