Louisiana

Republican lawmakers in the Louisiana House have stalled a bid to give municipalities the authority to set their own minimum wage rates.

The proposal by Rep. Royce Duplessis, a New Orleans Democrat, aimed to work around repeated legislative defeats for boosting Louisiana's statewide minimum wage above the $7.25-per-hour federal level.

Duplessis sought to reverse a state law passed in 1997 that prohibited parishes and cities from setting local minimum wage rates.

New Orleans City Council members have begun discussions on strict new regulations on short-term vacation rentals such as those arranged online by companies like Airbnb and HomeAway.

The regulations include a proposed ban in much of the city on "whole-home" vacation rentals of residences not occupied by the owner.

Thursday's meeting was expected to include votes on amendments to the proposed regulations. A final vote was tentatively planned in 90 days.

Louisiana state senators are criticizing the way the Louisiana Physical Therapy Board handles sexual assault allegations.

The Advocate reports the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday questioned board officials about allegation handling and subsequent punishments.

Baton Rouge physical therapist Philippe Veeters is charged with sexual battery and accused of assaulting nine patients.

His license to practice was suspended for nine months, something Sen. JP Morrell says is equivalent to a "slap on the wrist."

Louisiana state senators Wednesday backed a $3.8 billion public school formula that includes all financing increases sought by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Support for the K-12 spending plan came in a 37-1 vote that puts the Senate at odds with House Republicans, who stalled the same proposal in their chamber.

The formula that won Senate passage includes $140 million in increases: a $1,000 teacher pay raise, $500 raise for school support workers and $39 million in new block grant money for school districts.

A proposal to ban abortions in Louisiana as early as the sixth week of pregnancy continued to speed through the state legislature Wednesday, a day after Alabama lawmakers voted for what could become the nation's most restrictive law against the procedure.

Without objection, the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee backed legislation to prohibit abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, similar to laws passed in several conservative states that are aimed at challenging the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Debate over Louisiana's use of the death penalty is moving to the House floor.

The House criminal justice committee Tuesday voted 8-7 to send Rep. Terry Landry's legislation to abolish capital punishment to the full House for consideration.

Chances of passage in the conservative chamber, however, are slim. The Senate overwhelmingly rejected a similar proposal last month. Landry, a New Iberia Democrat and former state police superintendent, wants lawmakers to continue the debate.

He's pursued the proposal unsuccessfully for several years.

Louisiana's medical marijuana patients would be able to inhale cannabis, if senators agree to a proposal that won overwhelming support from lawmakers in the House.

Rep. Ted James, a Baton Rouge Democrat, says his bill shouldn't be seen as an expansion of the medical marijuana program, because it only changes the delivery method for patients. James says the legislation would let therapeutic cannabis patients use an inhaler, like asthma patients use.

The House voted 73-3 for the proposal Tuesday, sending it to the Senate for debate.

A north Louisiana sheriff's deputy has resigned after he was accused of sexually abusing a child.

According to Louisiana State Police, 35-year-old Christopher Sparks was arrested Tuesday. Police say they picked up Sparks after the Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office contacted the agency over a complaint concerning one of its own employees.

Main Street Monroe has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs to recognize their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote an op-ed in the American Press highlighting the strength of Southwest Louisiana and the state's booming energy economy, as President Donald Trump travels to Cameron Parish. 

The op-ed is below: 

Shining a spotlight on Southwest Louisiana, and Our State’s Energy Sector
By Gov. John Bel Edwards

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