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News in Brief- August 29, 2018

News in Brief- August 29, 2018

Louisiana's inventory of state lands incomplete, audit says

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's land management office doesn't have an accurate, comprehensive inventory of state property though it's required to maintain one.

That's the finding of a review released Monday by the Legislative Auditor's office.

Louisiana law calls for the commissioner of administration to keep inventory of all state-owned or state-leased land, water bottoms and other facilities.

The report says the commissioner's Office of State Lands isn't fully meeting that requirement. Auditors say Louisiana could be losing out on money-generating opportunities and limiting public access because of the gaps.

The Office of State Lands says many inventory discrepancies involve lack of communication with state agencies that it's working to resolve.

Auditors also say Louisiana doesn't have clear title to nearly 290,000 acres of water bottoms, amid disputes with landowners who claim the property.

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Louisiana releases tourism ads with 'Feed Your Soul' brand

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has released a new package of TV ads seeking to attract visitors to the state with the "Feed Your Soul" slogan launched earlier this year by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.

Nungesser, Louisiana's top tourism official, unveiled the new advertising Thursday at the state's annual travel summit in Lake Charles. The new branding effort "Feed Your Soul" was announced in January, and the ads dovetail with the reworked marketing effort.

The lieutenant governor's office says the ad campaign is aimed at showcasing "soul-feeding experiences." The TV spots highlight zydeco music, swamp tours, seafood, drinks and dancing, among other Louisiana experiences.

Nungesser said in a statement that the marketing strategy comes after months of data and research.

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Aid offered to child support debtors with suspended licenses

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is offering a break to people who owe child support and have seen their driver's licenses suspended for the back-owed debts.

Under the "Back on the Road" program, they'll be able to get their licenses reinstated for a reduced amount through Sept. 28.

The Department of Children and Family Service has laid out the terms.

Anyone with a suspended license for child support debts can pay two months of the court-ordered child support, $100 toward the past-due child support and any court-ordered administrative fee to begin the license reinstatement process.

In addition, the person must pay any reinstatement fees or fines required by the state Office of Motor Vehicles.

More information is available by sending the child support caseworker a direct message online or calling 1-888-524-3578 Monday through Friday.

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Louisiana attorney general: Health lawsuit could yield $172M

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's attorney general says the state Medicaid program could get a refund of $172 million paid under the federal health overhaul, if a court ruling in Texas stands.

Attorney General Jeff Landry touted the federal court decision Wednesday, but acknowledged it could be appealed.

Six states are involved in the lawsuit. Their Medicaid programs reimbursed managed-care organizations that coordinate services for Medicaid patients for a fee charged under the federal Affordable Care Act.

By reimbursing the managed-care plans, the states effectively paid the fee to the IRS.

The states challenged the $839 million in pass-through charges as unlawful taxes on Medicaid programs. Landry's office says Louisiana's portion topped $172 million.

The Louisiana Department of Health said Thursday it's reviewing the ruling to determine what it could mean for the state.