Citing lawmaker gridlock, Gov. Edwards calls special session

Source WAFB

Source WAFB Source WAFB

The first five bills in a massive 10-bill criminal justice reform package, championed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, passed through the House and were sent to the Senate Tuesday, The Advocate reports.

Steve Carter says he's frustrated by his party and by the out-of-state group Americans for Prosperity.

After his latest tax bill failed in the House, Ivey said he doesn't intend to try to revive the proposals.

Though Louisiana lawmakers have talked for years about being handcuffed in their budget decision-making, the House on Friday refused to unlock those shackles.

The Senate hasn't yet drafted its version of the budget, so it's unclear if a deal can be struck.

"It's shame that we're controlled by people that live outside our state, that have probably never traveled our roads to experience our problems", said Carter.

"That would be a struggle, to use all of it", he said.

Edwards and state agency leaders said without that money, prisoners would be released early, health programs would shutter and critical services would be damaged. If this budget makes its way through the process, the need for a special session this summer will be greatly diminished. The House also is in a partisan disagreement that has bottled up a separate, must-pass financing bill to keep dollars flowing to state-funded construction projects.

Republicans and Democrats have been meeting privately to broker a compromise.

Rep. Julie Stokes, a Kenner Republican who voted against the bill, and Rep. Walt Leger, a New Orleans Democrat who voted for it, applauded Shadoin for forcing the debate.

House Bill 1, by state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, is the state budget.

"The House isn't going to go to zero, but as long as there is some cushion, I think there's a number that can be reached for a compromise", said Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, who serves as the vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "We're working in the right direction".

As lawmakers prepare to wrap up this legislative session, Senators have unveiled their $29 billion operating budget for next year. The Legislature can not raise revenue in the special session, either. The special session would start 30 minutes after the current session ends.

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