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News in Brief- May 15, 2019

News in Brief- May 15, 2019

Judge dismisses lawsuit claiming high prison temps are cruel

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has conditionally dismissed a lawsuit that claimed three ailing death row inmates in Louisiana were being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment through high heat indexes.

The Advocate reports attorneys for the inmates and the state Department of Corrections jointly requested to dismiss the 2013 civil rights lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson ruled in 2016 that cell heat indexes exceeding 88 degrees constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, but the ruling was overturned because it defined a maximum heat index.

The conditional dismissal requires Louisiana to remain in "substantial compliance" with an agreement it signed last year. That agreement requires the inmates to have daily showers, individual ice containers and fans, water faucets in their cells and other cooling techniques.

The dismissal could become final in November.

Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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Lt. Gov.: State welcomed more than 51 million in 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana saw record tourism numbers last year.

According to Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the state welcomed 51.3 million visitors in 2018. He says that's an increase of 9% over the 47.1 million visitors reported by DK Shifflet, a tourism and travel research company, in April 2017.

In a news release Friday, Nungesser said visitors spent $18.8 billion, a 7% increase over 2017.

Nungesser says tourism growth has enabled the state to generate more tax revenue. He says the state's new tourism brand, Feed Your Soul, has also helped attract more visitors. He says the promotion has helped convey to the world that "no other state can offer the incredible bounty of food, music, history and culture that Louisiana can."

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Louisiana won't make more felons eligible for jury service

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have refused to make more convicted felons eligible for jury duty.

The House on Monday overwhelmingly voted down the proposal by Rep. Ted James, a Baton Rouge Democrat.

Louisiana currently bans convicted felons from serving on a jury if they haven't received a pardon. James proposed granting jury eligibility to people convicted of felony crimes who have been out of prison and off probation or parole for at least five years.

Only 26 members of the House voted for the legislation, while 62 voted against it.

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Louisiana joins lawsuit accusing drug makers of price hikes

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The attorney general of Louisiana has joined a federal lawsuit that alleges drug manufacturers conspired to inflate pricing, reduce competition and restrain the trade of generic drugs.

Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a statement that said prices were inflated for generic drugs including medication for diabetes, ADHD and cancer. The Advocate reports Landry's office says the conspiracy led to price hikes of up to 1000% for some drugs.

The lawsuit is led by Connecticut AG William Tong and is backed by attorney generals from more than 40 other states.

It names Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the United States' largest generic drug manufacturers, as well as 15 senior executives responsible for firm operations including pricing and marketing. It seeks to restore market competition. Teva has denied the allegations.

Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com