Louisiana News Briefs

Louisiana to receive $3B through federal American Rescue Plan

Louisiana’s share of state aid made available through the federal American Rescue Plan will be $3.011 billion, less than the estimated $3.2 billion state officials had expected, according to a Senate committee discussion Monday.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said he wasn’t sure of the final tally for local governments, which were expected to receive close to $2 billion. Lawmakers are debating how Louisiana will spend its first allocation of about $1.6 billion during the current legislative session.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration wants to put more money toward shoring up the state’s unemployment benefits trust fund than is called for in the House version of the bill to spend the ARP dollars. The administration has criticized House-passed plans to benefit movie theaters, which Dardenne said are eligible for a separate pot of federal money, and for the timber industry.

U.S. Supreme Court rules against making unanimous jury requirement retroactive

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday prisoners convicted by juries that were not unanimous don’t need to be tried again, even though non-unanimous convictions have been ruled unconstitutional.

The decision applies to thousands of prisoners convicted by juries that were not unanimous in Louisiana and Oregon, the last two states to allow the practice. The court’s most liberal justices dissented in the 6-3 decision.

Advocates argue people convicted by non-unanimous juries should get new trials, though some officials have said they are worried about clogging the courts and holding trials years after the alleged crime with old evidence.

“Today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed long-final convictions involving rape, murder, child molestation, and other violent crimes,” Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement praising the ruling.

— David Jacobs | The Center Square