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News in Brief- May 5, 2019

News in Brief- May 5, 2019

Public school financing divides Louisiana's GOP lawmakers

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republicans in the House and Senate are at odds over Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposal to give Louisiana's public school districts a $39 million block grant increase.

The Senate is advancing a 2019-20 school financing proposal backed by the Democratic governor that includes the funding boost. The Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 Thursday for the measure, with most Republicans on the panel backing the legislation.

But Republicans on the House Education Committee blocked a similar proposal, opposing the $39 million increase.

The disagreement threatens to create problems for passage of a separate teacher pay raise included in the financing formula.

The pay hike has widespread support in both chambers. But the K-12 formula is crafted by the state education board. Lawmakers can reject or approve it. They cannot change it.

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$120K worth of tires, rims stolen at Louisiana dealership

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — Police say more than $100,000 worth of tires and rims were stolen off of 31 vehicles, including Chevy Tahoes, Malibus and others, at a Louisiana car dealership.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal says in all, 124 tires and rims were stolen early Saturday from Matt Bowers Chevrolet by thieves who disabled a surveillance camera and manipulated a lighting system so they could work in darkened conditions. Fandal says investigators believe the incident is the work of a professional theft ring.

Fandal says similar theft cases occurred in Texas and Oklahoma.

At a news conference Wednesday, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports the business' owner, Matt Bowers, said he's offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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Bid to ban the death penalty in Louisiana advances in Senate

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The latest effort to end capital punishment in Louisiana was sent to the full Senate for consideration, but faces the same hurdles to passage that previously have stalled the ban.

The proposal by Republican Sen. Dan Claitor, of Baton Rouge, would abolish use of the death penalty for any offenses committed starting in 2021.

The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds support from the House and Senate and from voters in the 2020 presidential election to take effect.

A Senate judiciary committee voted 4-2 Tuesday to advance Claitor's legislation.

House lawmakers spurned similar proposals for the last two years.

Louisiana's last lethal injection was in 2010. The corrections department says it can't obtain lethal injection drugs because companies don't want to be publicly associated with executions.

Senate Bill 112: www.legis.la.gov

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Louisiana senator slams vaccines, repeating debunked claims

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana state senator used a bill to expand a voluntary statewide immunization database to push a long-debunked theory linking vaccines to autism.

Sen. John Milkovich, a Keithville Democrat, assailed vaccines Monday on the Senate floor as unsafe, repeating claims that studies have discredited.

Milkovich claimed "autism did not exist" when he was growing up, and that "tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines." He also suggested aluminum and mercury in vaccines are dangerous.

The Advocate reports no other senators defended vaccines following Milkovich's speech.

Sen. Regina Barrow, a Baton Rouge Democrat, sponsored the legislation that provoked Milkovich's objections. She said immunizations have transformed medicine.

Barrow's bill passed 27-10, moving to the House for debate.

Federal officials say a measles resurgence has been driven by misinformation about vaccines.