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News in Brief- September 11, 2019

News in Brief- September 11, 2019

State Farm to cut its auto insurance rates in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — One of Louisiana's largest auto insurers plans to cut its rates for drivers, starting in November.

State Farm announced Thursday that it will drop car insurance rates for more than 1 million policyholders by 2.6%. The insurer says that will be the fourth rate reduction in two years, a total cut of more than 10%.

The lower premium charges will begin Nov. 25, when people get new or renewed policies.

State Farm is one of several car insurance companies that have decreased rates in recent months. Still, Louisiana's average car insurance premiums remain among the highest in the country.


New audit objects to $47M in Louisiana Medicaid spending

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's legislative auditor is questioning $47 million in Medicaid payments for mental health services, saying they didn't follow the health department's fee schedule.

The health department disagrees with Monday's report from Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera, saying the payments complied with the law and were allowed.

It was the latest report from Purpera's office digging into Louisiana's more than $13 billion Medicaid program.

Auditors reviewed claims for mental health services paid by private Medicaid managed care companies from December 2015 through June 2019. They identified hundreds of thousands that exceeded the fee schedule or didn't meet its coding requirements.

The Department of Health says federal law allows states to deviate from the fee schedule so patients have access to adequate care, particularly in rural areas and for providers in short supply.


Louisiana voter registration deadline for fall election near

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Deadlines for Louisiana residents to register to vote for the Oct. 12 statewide election are nearing.

The secretary of state's office says people who want to register or who want to make changes to their registration have until Wednesday to mail in the forms or make changes in person. They can register online at through Sept. 21.

People can register in person at parish registrar of voters offices, Office of Motor Vehicles locations, public assistance agencies, public schools, colleges and libraries.

On the October ballot are races for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, agriculture commissioner and all state legislative seats. Local elected positions also are up for grabs.

Early voting begins Sept. 28.


'Nola No-call' lawsuit is no more; fan drops his fight

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It appears the "Nola no-call" lawsuit is no more.

An attorney and New Orleans Saints fan says he will go no further with his court fight against the NFL over game officials' failure to call an obvious penalty at a crucial point in a January playoff game.

The no-call helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the Saints and advance to the Super Bowl.

Lawyer Antonio LeMon and three others sued, alleging fraud by the NFL. The case was dismissed Friday by Louisiana's Supreme Court.

LeMon said Monday he had considered trying to get issues in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but the group decided against it.

LeMon nevertheless called Friday's ruling disappointing. He says it means "the NFL has a license to do whatever it wants" to ticket-holders.


Hundreds of Louisiana businesses permitted for CBD products

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has permitted 775 businesses to sell CBD products around the state.

An agency spokesman says ATC has received more than 1,000 permit applications since lawmakers passed a regulatory structure for retailers to sell products containing CBD.

Sellers must meet a lengthy list of requirements to get permits. Sales of beverages or food containing CBD are prohibited unless the FDA approves the substance for such use.

CBD is in the cannabis family but contains only traces of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users. CBD is used in oils and lotions that some believe are beneficial to their health.

While the law ended uncertainty about whether CBD products can be sold in Louisiana, critics say the regulations are overly burdensome.