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News in Brief- May 23, 2018

News in Brief- May 23, 2018

Average price of US gas jumps 10 cents, to $3 a gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. jumped 10 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $3.00.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price has spiked 41 cents over the past three months.

Lundberg says the increase is largely driven by higher crude oil costs and the phasing-in of summer-grade gasoline, which is used to prevent smog.

The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states was $3.79 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest was $2.54 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price for diesel fuel rose 9 cents, to $3.23.

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WW II museum's Bob Hope exhibit opens Friday

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The National World War II Museum is about to open a new exhibit about comedian Bob Hope and his performances for American troops serving around the world.

The exhibit includes wartime correspondence between Hope and service members, and World War II-era relics engraved to Hope. It also includes never-published or displayed photos taken by a military photographer, wartime films from his travels, Hollywood Victory Caravan photos and scrapbooks, an interactive display and an original 10-minute documentary.

The museum also is hosting free showings of classic movies Bob Hope made from 1939 to 1955.

All but two of Hope's radio shows during World War II were aired from military bases and camps, throughout the United States and in both the European and South Pacific theaters of war, according to the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation's website.

Hope's daughter, Linda Hope, will speak at a Thursday evening kickoff reception for the exhibit, which runs from Friday through Feb. 10. She's chair/CEO of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, which gave the museum $3 million in 2016 to integrate Hope's story throughout its campus.

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Lawmakers agree to spending plan for Louisiana’s excess cash

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to spending plans for millions in unbudgeted cash from the last two budget years.

Nearly $89 million would pay down a debt owed to the managed-care companies that oversee services for most of Louisiana's Medicaid patients. More than $50 million would pay off legal judgments against the state.

Another $12 million would lessen state retirement debt. More than $21 million would pay FEMA for part of Louisiana's share of ongoing disaster recovery efforts. Other dollars would cover obligations to economic development commitments by the state.

The final plan won support Friday with a 92-0 House vote and a 35-1 Senate vote.

The money includes a surplus left from the budget year that ended June 30 and unspent money from this year.

House Bills 874: www.legis.la.gov

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New Mexico adds 3 rigs as national count rises by 1 to 1,046

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by one this week to 1,046. At this time a year ago there were 901 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 844 rigs drilled for oil this week and 200 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico added three rigs and Texas tacked on two. Kansas gained one.

Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio each shed one rig.

Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming saw their rig levels unchanged this week.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

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Labor survey: More Louisianans report jobs than ever before

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — More Louisianans report having a job than ever before, a sign the state's economy is improving.

Employers reported 9,000 more workers in April than in March, another strong sign.

April's survey shows 2.04 million people reporting jobs, beating the previous record of December 2014.

Still, Louisiana's unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent in April from 4.4 percent in March, as more people entered the labor force than found jobs.

Louisiana's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent a year ago.

The separate employer payroll survey — many economists' top labor market indicator — rose to 1.99 million in Louisiana. That's the third straight month of large gains.

April's U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from March's 4.1 percent.

The U.S. Labor Department released figures Friday, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

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Louisiana won't add restrictions on cellphones while driving

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will not be enacting a ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving.

A House-backed proposal stalled in the Senate, and the regular session ended Friday without action on the bill, killing it.

Rep. Mike Huval, a Breaux Bridge Republican, wanted state laws that already prohibit texting or posting to social media sites while driving to be extended to manually using the phone in any way. That includes making or receiving a call.

People could still have made calls through a wireless connection or a headset, under the bill.

Huval described it as a safety measure, backed by insurance industry organizations. Opponents said speaking hands-free would give drivers a false sense of security, and they argued that's no different than many types of distracted driving.

House Bill 619: www.legis.la.gov