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Sunday, August 25, 2019

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Louisiana lawmakers carve out exemptions in smoking age bill

Louisiana lawmakers carve out exemptions in smoking age bill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bid to increase Louisiana's legal smoking age from 18 to 21 narrowly escaped the House budget committee, but only after lawmakers added a long list of exemptions to the proposal.

House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry broke a tie to keep the bill from being bottled up in committee. It advances to the full House for debate.

Still, the measure only won passage after lawmakers exempted people in the military, law enforcement and first responders from the age boost. The legislation also would exempt anyone who turns 18 before Dec. 31.

Republican Rep. Frank Hoffmann says his proposal would save lives and cut health costs. Critics say the exemptions are burdensome to business. Anti-smoking groups say the bill doesn't go far enough to curb smoking.

House Bill 38:


Average US price of gas drops 3 cents per gallon to $2.93

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell 3 cents a gallon over the past two weeks, to $2.93.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says Sunday that it's the first price drop at the pump in four months.

Lundberg says the price is 6 cents lower than it was one year ago.

The highest average price in the nation is $4.08 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The lowest average is $2.35 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price of diesel fell a penny over the past two weeks, to $3.16.


Police: Louisiana students laced teacher's drink

EUNICE, La. (AP) — Authorities say two Louisiana high school students poured a chemical into a teacher's drink and filmed it on Snapchat.

Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot says the 17-year-old Eunice High School juniors were arrested Friday on a felony count of mingling harmful substances.

Police say the students mixed Krud Kutter, an all-purpose cleaning solution, into the teacher's cup Wednesday when she stepped out to get supplies. The Advocate reports Fontenot says a girl poured the chemical into the drink while a boy filmed her and acted as a lookout.

When the teacher returned, she sipped her drink and then threw it away. Fontenot says he doesn't believe she consumed enough to adversely affect her health.

Another student showed the video to a school resource officer Thursday. Fontenot says the suspects said they did it as a prank.

Information from: The Advocate,


Louisiana launches new recruitment effort of foster parents

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's child welfare agency is launching a new recruitment campaign searching for potential foster parents willing to care for teenagers.

The Department of Children and Family Services says teens account for about 20% of the children under the state's oversight. But fewer than 5% of non-relative foster homes are taking in teenagers.

The foster parent recruitment effort, announced Wednesday, comes during National Foster Care Month. The department says it will be distributing new brochures, posters and informational cards highlighting the need for more foster homes for teenagers.

More information about becoming a foster parent is available online at


New African lion exhibit opens in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new lion exhibit is opening at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

During a recent tour, the African lions were seen lounging in the shade of an enormous rock surrounded by open grass and tree limbs.

The scene is reminiscent of the African Savannah and is part of the new exhibit opening Saturday. Visitors will be able to see critically endangered lions — three females and a full-maned male — from the safety of a fictional train station.

Rail cars with glass-fronted openings to the "savanna" include informational displays about threats facing lions in the wild, such as poaching and habitat loss, as well as efforts being done to save them.

Zoo curator and vice president Joel Hamilton says there are only about 20,000 lions left in Africa.