Associated Press

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A lawmaker fears Louisiana's domestic violence protections could be declared unconstitutional if his colleagues refuse to widen the safeguards to include same-sex couples.

  Rep. Patrick Connick wants to remove the requirement that a victim be of the opposite sex of the alleged offender to be considered a victim of domestic violence.  

 The Marrero Republican's bill narrowly passed the House, but fell six votes short Tuesday in the Senate. Seven senators were absent, including five Democrats   

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A Kansas food distributor has recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of precooked sausage products that might contain metal. 

The recall was announced Wednesday by Armour Eckrich Meats in Junction City. 

 

The Food Safety and Inspection Service says the recall includes more than 8,000 cases of 16.6 ounce packages of "Eckrich Smok-y Cheddar Breakfast sausage, Naturally Hardwood Smoked." The labels have the case or UPC code and a "27815 17984" with a use-by date of Aug. 17. The products also have the number "EST. 3JC" inside the USDA mark of inspection. 

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Abortion rights advocates say an abortion clinic in northwestern Louisiana has closed, leaving three other such clinics in the state.

 

Owners of Bossier City Medical Suite could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The phone number at the facility was no longer in service and the website was down. State business records show the company's officers are the same Texas-based principals of Causeway Medical Suite, a suburban New Orleans facility that closed last year.

 

 Authorities are trying to determine how a 17-month-old girl wound up in a road where she was struck and killed by a truck.

The girl was struck Monday afternoon in St. Tammany Parish, while the toddler was visiting her grandmother's home in the Slidell area.

St. Tammany Parish sheriff's Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau said investigators were not yet sure how the toddler wound up in the path of oncoming traffic.

After months of working through the federal bureaucracy, Louisiana has access to the $1.6 billion in federal aid earmarked by Congress for flood recovery.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, officially released the dollars to the state Monday. Louisiana can now start withdrawing dollars to pay for recovery projects approved by HUD.

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Victims last August's flooding who are still living in hotels and motels are getting a one-month reprieve.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says they now have to check out of their rooms by May 11.

 

The previous checkout deadline was April 11.

 

Nearly 250 households are currently staying in rooms paid for by the agency's Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.

 

The hotels bill FEMA directly for the rooms. It's designed as short-term housing while people look for some place more permanent to live.

 

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Louisiana State Police say a man killed in a motorcycle crash near Hicks appears to have been traveling at high speed.

 

The Alexandria Daily Town Talk reports 22-year-old Austin T. Chandler of Leesville died Friday after losing control of his Kawasaki motorcycle on state Highway 121.

 

A news release by state police said Chandler crashed while crossing a bridge at high speed and hit a guard wall on the side of the road. Chandler was thrown off the motorcycle and died, even though he was wearing a helmet.

 

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Police say two men showed badges and shouted "police, get on the ground" as they burglarized a home in Baton Rouge.

 

The Advocate reports the burglars kicked down a back door and waved pistols inside the home after a resident refused to let them in after they showed a badge.

 

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Louisiana lawmakers, struggling with budget shortfalls, are again looking to restructure the TOPS college tuition program to lessen costs.

Proposals include boosting the grade point average required to get the award or steering more of the money to needy students. Another measure would require students who receive TOPS to work in Louisiana after college or repay some money spent on their tuition.

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Gov. John Bel Edwards is accusing a Baton Rouge congressman of spreading myths about flood recovery money and leading a partisan effort that could harm Louisiana's long-term rebuilding.

The Democratic governor's office released a memo Thursday saying Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves "can no longer be trusted" to convey accurate information about Louisiana's recovery from last year's flooding.

The memo came a day after Edwards attended a congressional hearing in which GOP members of Congress, including Graves, blasted Louisiana's response to the floods.

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