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Here is the latest Louisiana news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CDT

Here is the latest Louisiana news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CDT
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 1:43 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have completed a 30-day special session called in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The House and Senate wrapped up Tuesday after awarding millions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses and finishing the state’s operating budget a day before it must take effect. The $34 billion spending plan approved unanimously by the House and Senate uses federal virus aid to stop deep cuts but sets Louisiana up for future financial problems if state tax collections don’t rebound. Republican lawmakers brokered a final agreement with Gov. John Bel Edwards on reworking civil litigation rules to lessen damage claims that can be awarded in car accident lawsuits.

UNDATED (AP) — A Louisiana grand jury has accused eight police officers of using excessive force when they arrested two men after a chase in January. District Attorney James Stewart Sr. said Tuesday that a grand jury charged each Shreveport Police officer on Monday with one count of malfeasance in office. Stewart says prosecutors have dropped all charges against Chico Bell and Damon Robinson because of the unnecessary force. Police Chief Ben Raymond said his office began investigating the incident the day of the arrest. Stewart says cases involving the separate deaths of two Black men while in Shreveport Police custody are not yet ready to present to a grand jury.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers in their 30-day special session agreed to expand and extend business tax credits, exemptions and incentive programs. Supporters say the measures would help businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic, as they struggle with closures and restrictions mandated by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Critics say the approach was haphazard, involved too little study and could worsen the state’s budget problems from the virus. The bills are estimated to siphon millions from the treasury each year. One of the largest tax breaks would benefit the gambling industry. It costs $11 million in the first year and grows annually. Edwards hasn’t said which measures he’ll support.

UNDATED (AP) — A longtime Roman Catholic deacon and schoolteacher awaiting trial on rape charges in New Orleans has died. Eighty-five-year-old George Brignac died Monday after a brief hospitalization. He had been awaiting trial on rape charges after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Defense attorney Martin Regan said Brignac had hoped to clear his name at trial. The Archdiocese of New Orleans settled several lawsuits against Brignac, a longtime teacher, and included him among the more than 50 names of clergy removed from the ministry due to “credible accusations” of sexual abuse.

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