legislation

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Students who had the GPA, but were a few points shy of qualifying for TOPS in high school could get another shot at the scholarship under a bill that is almost to the governor’s desk. The legislation would allow students who scored 17, 18, or 19 on the ACT, but have a 3.2 GPA after two years in college to collect TOPS for their last two years. New Orleans Senator Wesley Bishop is the bill's sponsors.

 

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A bill barring drivers from touching their cellphones while on the road narrowly escaped the House and is on its way to the Senate. The anti-distracted driving legislation was inspired by the uptick in distracted driving road deaths in recent years. Bill sponsor Breaux Bridge Representative Mike Huval says the legislation is about protecting the next generation of drivers.

 

Huval says, "They have gentlemen and ladies here that have children that will be driving soon that will be concerned about distracted drivers."

 

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The “Adoption Option” bill that would require abortion clinics to provide information about the adoption process to women seeking abortions is nearing final passage. The legislation would also mandate the creation of a state website with information about adoption. Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper says he hopes it will result in fewer abortions.

 

Clapper says, "We want women to encourage giving their children the gift of life and also choosing adoption which not only helps the babies, but it helps the mothers as well."

 

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A House backed bill that would remove the requirement that florists be licensed was shot down in a Senate committee six to one. The bill was part of the governor’s licensing reform legislative agenda. Annie Taylor, a licensed florist in Scott, says floral work is more dangerous than you might think.

 

Floral wholesaler Audrey Lemoine says removing license requirements would flood the marketplace with cut rate work from retailers.

 

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U.S. Senator John Kennedy is asking the state legislature to hold off on voting a bill that extends Harrah’s New Orleans Casino’s contract with the state for 30 years. Kennedy says media reports that Harrah’s is considering selling the property so the state could unwittingly increase Harrah’s selling price by extending the contract.

 

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Legislation to give voters an opportunity in November to decide if fantasy sports gambling should be legal in their parish is one step away from final passage. A Senate committee approved River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot’s proposal.

 

Talbot says, "If you're in the parish that legalizes sports betting, you can log on with your phone and make a draft or decide which teams or players to play. If you're in a parish where they voted it out, you're not going to be able to log onto the site."

 

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The US House passed a bill that would allow Louisiana residents impacted by the 2016 floods to become eligible for grant money, even if they received low interest loans to help with their recovery. Baton Rouge US Representative Garret Graves, the bill’s sponsor, says this opens up recovery money to thousands.

 

Graves says that the bill would make "thousands of people eligible for Restore Louisiana grants even if they received a loan or were approved  for a loan."

 

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A Senate-approved bill that would double, and in some cases, increased tenfold the fines associated with soliciting prostitutes passed a House committee nine to six. The bill would not change the current penalty of up to six months in jail for soliciting. Sponsor Franklinton Senator Beth Mizel says it attacks human trafficking at its root.

 

Mizel says, "We can lessen the demand for trafficking; we can partially solve our problem."

 

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Concerns are being raised about a House bill that includes an application for funding a Boy Scouts project, but did not include an application for a girl scouts project. Girl Scouts Louisiana East spokesperson Mary-Patricia Wray says neither project is guaranteed to be funded, but allowing both applications to be considered would send a message of equality.

 

The Girl Scouts are seeking funding for a project that would prevent a lake in Tangipahoa from spilling into the Tangipahoa River. Wray says the lake is a valuable part of the community.

 

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A domestic violence firearms bill cleared a House panel that further restricts possession of a gun by someone who is under a protective order. Currently its prohibited for an abuser to have a weapon, this bill prohibits among other things carrying a concealed weapon. Mariah Wineski is the executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

 

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