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BATON ROUGE — The state House of Representatives last week unanimously approved the $30 billion state operating budget for next year.

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The Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport recently reversed a ruling by a local district court judge who ordered the town of Sterlington to pay attorney fees and court costs to a utility company.

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Fifth District Congressman Ralph Abraham recently voted against HR 6, the American Dream and Promise Act that could grant amnesty to as many as 4 million illegal immigrants.

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Ouachita Parish was not cut out of recent legislation providing funding for infrastructure projects because House Bill 578 was intended to pay for major road and bridge projects with price tags of $125 million, state senators say.

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The Board of Aldermen agreed Tuesday to offer a West Monroe business a break on the city’s sales taxes if the company decided to expand its operations here.

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The Ouachita Parish School Board agreed to sign a commercial lease with the Assembly West Monroe earlier this week to use some 22,000 square feet of day care space for Boley Elementary School’s displaced students and staff.

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Officers with the Ouachita Parish Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force made 106 arrests over two days last month as part of a street crime operation targeting the highest areas of drug use and firearms in the parish.

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Michael Holder, 41, of West Monroe, was sentenced June 5 to 51 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to U.S. Attorney David Joseph’s office.

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The state Board of Ethics recently warned an assistant district attorney working in the Fourth Judicial District that he would need to avoid participating in any official matters involving an addiction and rehabilitation facility he partially owns.

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The Ouachita Parish Police Jury learned earlier this week that it could apply for a grant of up to $1.5 million to make improvements to the Brownsville water system.

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The new ULM Safe app launched Monday, June 3, timed to be available to the first group of incoming freshmen who arrive this week for PREP.

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BATON ROUGE — Nearly 300 abortion rights demonstrators gathered at the Louisiana State Capitol last week to protest the ‘fetal heartbeat’ anti-abortion bill, which Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law later that afternoon.

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A state Supreme Court justice warned Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Larry Jefferson could be ordered to recuse from a Monroe murder case because Jefferson ignored higher court rulings by brushing aside a jury’s guilty verdict.

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A fiscal administrator has not taken over management of the town of Sterlington to straighten out its finances because no one is available to take the job, the state Attorney General’s office says.

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BATON ROUGE — The House on Monday unanimously approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ $3.8 billion financing formula for public school funding, including $1,000 teacher pay raises and $500 staff pay raises as well as a $39 million block grant.

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West Monroe firefighters visited the home of Doris Thompson last week as part of a recently launched public safety awareness program that involves home safety inspections and smoke alarm installations.

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BATON ROUGE — A Senate committee advanced a bill last week that would allow patients to inhale cannabis for medicinal purposes and would no longer require that prescribing physicians live in the state.

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U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Michael Bennet recently introduced the Know the Price Act, legislation to end the use of gag clauses in contracts between health care providers and insurers that are used to restrict a patient’s access to price information.

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In celebration of National Emergency Medicine Service week, May 19-24, Steward Health Care hosted the “EMS Stewards of the Community” Award Ceremony on May 21 at the Hilton Garden Inn, West Monroe.

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BATON ROUGE — The state House of Representatives voted, 73-21, to approve a bill that would phase out the extra portion of the state sales tax that the Legislature renewed last year after five months of partisan tensions to address recurring budget crises.

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Fifth District Congressman Ralph Abraham and the Louisiana Congressional delegation recently wrote to President Trump in support of a federal disaster declaration in response to tornadoes that claimed two lives and caused millions of dollars in damage across Lincoln, Union and Morehouse parishes.

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BATON ROUGE — House lawmakers struck down a proposal last week to raise Louisiana’s legal smoking age from 18 to 21. The bill was only backed by 24 legislators while 55 voted against it.

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BATON ROUGE — The state House of Representatives approved proposals last week that would boost existing “stand your ground” laws, indicating a momentum of gun legislation in the state.

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BATON ROUGE — Legislators are supporting efforts to help veterans start businesses and get hired in Louisiana. The Senate Commerce Committee last week advanced a proposal for the Veterans First Business Initiative.

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The Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport recently affirmed a Monroe man’s armed robbery conviction and 60-year sentence for robbing a Domino’s pizza delivery man at gunpoint in 2016.

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Editor’s Note: Stephen “Steve” Kermit Ray is James Huey Chapter of West Monroe Secretary/Treasurer and a past state President of LASSAR.

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BATON ROUGE — A Senate Committee struck down a bill Tuesday on a 3-2 vote along partisan lines that would have concealed the names of companies that manufacture and provide drugs used in carrying out the death penalty.

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Area sheriffs say it’s about time the state Legislature considered raising the per diem paid to local authorities for housing state inmates in a parish jail or institution.

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The state Department of Health’s Office of Public Health recently updated its disease reporting requirements to help the state tackle three diseases that cause significant illness, including death: HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C.

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The city of West Monroe advertised plans this week to find developers interested in developing some 24 acres of the old Trenton Street Golf Course property into residential and commercial properties.

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BATON ROUGE — The state Senate voted 37-1 last week to approve Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to provide a $39 million increase for public schools, setting up a fight with House Republicans who question whether the state can afford it.

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BATON ROUGE — House and Senate committees advanced legislation earlier this week that would address the opioid crisis by creating new treatment facilities in Louisiana and allowing alternative treatment methods.

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St. Francis Medical Center and Glenwood Regional Medical Center were borth recently awarded an ‘A’ from The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.

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BATON ROUGE — In a move to address mental illness among firefighters and police officers, a House committee advanced legislation last week that would add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of injuries eligible for public employee benefits.

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BATON ROUGE —  The House Transportation Committee advanced two bills on Monday that would permit drug testing in severe traffic accidents and waive penalties for uninsured drivers under special circumstances.

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BATON ROUGE — The House Labor Committee rejected legislation last week that would have allowed local authorities to determine their own minimum wage rates and implement equal pay measures for all women in Louisiana.

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