The Latest: Edwards asks for bipartisanship in new session
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana’s legislative session (all times local):
Gov. John Bel Edwards tells Louisiana lawmakers on the opening day of session that bipartisanship helped end a decade of state budget shortfalls. And he’s urging legislators in this year’s two-month session to work with him again.
The 60-day session comes in an election year where the Democratic governor is seeking re-election to a second term and all 144 legislative seats are on the October ballot.
Edwards and House Republican leaders are at odds over spending levels. But the fights don’t involve deep budget cuts after the governor and lawmakers last year passed a seven-year tax deal.
The governor called on lawmakers to support pay raises for public school teachers and support workers. He asked them to let voters decide whether to raise Louisiana’s minimum wage after the Legislature rejected minimum wage bills for three years.
The Louisiana Legislature has 10 new lawmakers.
As the two-month session started Monday, the House swore in 10 new members to the 105-member chamber.
Several lawmakers resigned over the last year as they were elected or appointed to new government jobs.
New House members include six Republicans: Ryan Bourriaque from Grand Chenier, Mary DuBuisson from Slidell, Mike Johnson from Pineville, Royce “Wayne” McMahen from Minden, Stuart Moss from Sulphur and Christopher Turner from Ruston.
An independent from Jackson, Roy Daryl Adams, took a seat in the chamber.
And three Democrats were sworn in: Jeremy LaCombe of New Roads, Ed Larvadain of Alexandria and Pat Moore of Monroe.
The Senate added one new member. Sen. Bob Hensgens, an Abbeville Republican, simply was moving across the hall. He had been a House member.
Louisiana lawmakers have opened their annual legislative session, their 11th session of the four-year term.
This latest, 60-day session that started Monday doesn’t feature the threat of deep budget cuts or the heated budget-balancing tax debates of the prior three years.
But the financial disagreements haven’t entirely disappeared.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Republican leaders are at odds about how much the state should spend in the budget year starting July 1.
Despite the squabbling, both sides agree on giving teachers a pay raise.
Beyond finances, lawmakers will debate bills about the death penalty, abortion, sports betting and marijuana.
The session comes only months ahead of an October election, when the governorship, six other statewide elected jobs and all 144 legislative seats will be on the ballot.
Louisiana lawmakers are opening their annual legislative session squabbling over finances, readying for hot-topic debates and striving to draw voters’ attention in an election year.
The 60-day regular session begins midday Monday.
The session features none of the fears of deep, damaging cuts that marked budget debates for the last decade. But financial feuds remain front and center.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Republican leaders are at loggerheads about how much the state should spend in the budget year starting July 1. But both sides agree on giving teachers a pay raise.
Other contentious debates are planned on Louisiana’s use of the death penalty, the legalization of sports betting, the loosening of marijuana penalties and a proposal to ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.