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Sunday, August 25, 2019

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Louisiana House lawmakers refuse to legalize sports betting

Louisiana House lawmakers refuse to legalize sports betting

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana won't be legalizing sports betting this legislative session.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 14-6 Tuesday to shelve Republican Sen. Danny Martiny's proposal to allow sports wagering in the state.

By the time the committee rejected the bill, Martiny said it was so overloaded with objectionable amendments that it couldn't win enough legislative support even if it escaped the committee.

The Senate supported legalizing sports betting on professional, college and international sports events at Louisiana's 16 casinos and four racetracks.

Martiny, of Kenner, says Louisiana residents already are betting on sports through online offshore sites and neighboring casinos in Mississippi. He says Louisiana should regulate and tax the activity.

But the House and its budget committee are more conservative, with many lawmakers who oppose gambling.

Senate Bill 153:


Louisiana lawmakers agree to 30-year extension for Harrah's

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will extend its no-bid contract with Harrah's to operate Louisiana's land-based casino in New Orleans for 30 years.

Legislation striking the deal won final passage Tuesday with a 27-10 Senate vote, sending the measure to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who supports it.

Support for the contract extension was a turnaround from last year, when a 30-year proposal failed amid Senate questions about whether it offered the state too little.

After that failure, the House and Senate hired a consultant to study the casino license's market value ahead of this year's debate.

Harrah's will manage the New Orleans casino until 2054, in exchange for adding new restaurants, a second hotel and more entertainment space. Meanwhile, the state will get millions more dollars from the contractual arrangement than it receives today.


State to docs: report all results of tests for 3 diseases

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Department of Health says doctors must now report all test results for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C — even tests indicating someone doesn't have the ailment.

Louisiana has very high rates of all three diseases, which can be fatal.

Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says getting all test results will give a clearer picture of epidemics and efforts to stop them.

The department a negative test might not rule out an infection or might provide important information about treatment success.

It said in a news release Friday that the new rule follows recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Louisiana signs could soon offer welcome to 'Who Dat Nation'

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's welcome signs along Interstate 10 could soon celebrate the New Orleans Saints.

Lawmakers agreed I-10 welcome signs at the Texas and Mississippi state lines should declare people have entered the "Home of the Who Dat Nation," referencing the nickname for Saints fans.

A 35-0 Senate vote Tuesday gave final passage to the bill by New Orleans Sen. Wesley Bishop. It also calls for the Saints appreciation language to be included on the Superdome exit sign on I-10 in downtown New Orleans.

The House added an extra provision to the bill, designating Hwy. 90 from Lafayette to Raceland as the "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Highway," in honor of Louisiana's former governor.

The signs must be paid with local or private dollars to be installed.


A Texas arrest in $124,000 Louisiana tire and wheel theft

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — One man has been arrested in Texas and another suspect is being sought following last month's theft of tires and wheels valued at about $120,000 from a Louisiana car dealership.

The theft of 124 tires and wheels from 31 vehicles happened at Matt Bowers Chevrolet in Slidell. The Slidell Police Department says the evidence led detectives to Houston, where two suspects were identified.

Police said Wednesday that 39-year-old Eric Summage of Humble was arrested in Texas. Police are searching for 44-year-old Riley Richardson of Houston. More arrests are expected in connection with what Slidell Police describe as a professional theft ring.

That ring is suspected in thefts along Interstate 10. Surveillance video from locations throughout the Gulf South and Texas aided the investigation.