Two bills that could help bar owners amid pandemic advance to La. Senate floor

Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 6:07 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana lawmakers are moving ahead with two bills that could put some cash in the hands of bar owners, though there’s no clear way to pay for the programs just yet.

Bars that applied for the Main Street Recovery grant program would be prioritized and bumped to the front of the line if there’s money left over in the pot when the bill passes. Treasurer John Schroder says the fund will likely be exhausted, though, meaning the bill may not help anyone.

Another plan would create a separate pot of money the state could use to fund grants for bar owners if Congress passes another coronavirus aid bill. It could allow more bars to qualify for the cash since the state would administrate the fund under looser rules than the federal government.

The bill’s author, Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, says more than 3,000 bars could each qualify for a $2,000 grant if the legislature can find money to deposit in the fund.

“There’s only one industry that’s been prohibited from operating as long as the bar industry has. It’s singular in the way they’ve been treated, so it’s singular in the way it responds to it,” said Magee.

Both bills now advance to the Senate floor for full debate.

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