With the news that next year’s revenue is expected to improve by $350 million, the Legislature is officially facing a smaller budget shortfall of $650 million. On Monday, House Appropriations is meeting to determine how to spend that additional revenue in next year’s budget.
People currently on parole, probation or in prison can’t vote in Louisiana. A bill from Rep. Pat Smith (D-Baton Rouge) would change that. Once someone is out of prison for five years, their voting rights would be restored.
Gov. John Bel Edwards appeared before the Senate Finance committee Sunday, once again reminding lawmakers of the looming budget problem the state faces and the impact it could have, especially in health care.
Increasing the minimum wage, expanding equal pay for women, strengthening policies against sexual harassment — these are all goals Gov. John Bel Edwards wanted to achieve in the regular session. But last week, all three policies hit a wall.
Earlier this week, the full Senate rejected bills that would establish a state minimum wage and expand equal pay for women in Louisiana. On Thursday, a labor committee showed there's not much appetite for those policies in the House, either.
Louisiana has a backlog of road and bridge projects worth nearly $14 billion. The state pays for its infrastructure needs through a gasoline tax of 20 cents per gallon, a rate that hasn't changed since 1989.
Two weeks into the regular legislative session, lawmakers continue to hear concerns from various departments over next year’s budget, like being unable to afford to house state inmates, or pay for Louisiana’s safety-net hospitals.