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Louisiana news briefs for Friday, May 7

Five qualify for open state Senate seat

Four Democrats and one Republican have signed up to run for the open District 7 seat in the Louisiana Senate. Former officeholder Troy Carter won a special election to Congress after incumbent Cedric Richmond stepped down to join President Joe Biden’s administration.

Three Democratic state representatives – Gary Carter Jr. of New Orleans, Mack Cormier of Belle Chasse and Rodney Lyons from Harvey – qualified for the race, as did Joanna Cappiello-Leopold, who is a Belle Chasse Democrat. Patricia “Patty” McCarty of Belle Chasse is the lone Republican running for the seat.

The nonpartisan open primary election is June 12, with a subsequent runoff if necessary.

Edwards joins Climate Alliance

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced plans Friday to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, “a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to state-led action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

As a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, Louisiana will have access to forums to discuss policy development with other states working on similar issues; have access to expertise, technical assistance, potential grant funds to develop and implement climate policy; and have a seat at the table alongside other governors for conversations with the federal government about national climate policy, the governor’s office said.

Governors who join the alliance are supposed to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Edwards has created a state-level Climate Initiatives Task Force to recommend a package of policies and programs with the goal of putting Louisiana on the path to becoming a net-zero greenhouse gas emitting state by 2050.

Louisiana expands COVID-19 rental assistance program to include utilities

Louisiana’s U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program will expand to include utility assistance, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced Friday.

The state-administered program provides assistance for past-due rent and utility fees dating back to April 2020, as well as future rent for eligible applicants. As of May 6, more than 13,000 renters have begun applications for the state-administered program, and $2.6 million in rental assistance has been approved, according to the governor’s office.

To qualify, a renter must reside in one of 57 parishes covered by the state-managed program (some parishes have their own programs) and have suffered financial hardship because of COVID-19, among other qualifications. Tenants and landlords can visit www.LAStateRent.com or call 877-459-6555 for more information.

This article was originally posted on Louisiana news briefs for Friday, May 7

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