Louisiana Legislature

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, held onto the House microphone late Monday night to block a final vote on a bill to extend a half-a-cent of sales tax rather than a third. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

Legislators lose cent at end of session

It was only one sixth of a penny.
Heading into the final night of the special session Monday, that’s all that divided the House and the Senate over how much of an expiring sales tax to extend.
That extra sixth of a penny would have cost Louisiana residents 17 cents on a $100 purchase. If you shopped for supplies for a high school student, it would have added 67 cents to the average $392 school-year bill and boosted the cost of a $1,299 MacBook Pro by $2.21. For well-off residents, it would have added $69.70 to the $41,000 sticker price of a well-equipped Lexus ES sedan.

Limited constitutional convention advances

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday approved a bill that would call a limited constitutional convention in 2020.
The proposal, which was sent without objection to the House floor, would limit the convention call to local government, financing and education matters.
Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, who presented the bill, said the goal was to to change the financial and tax laws to give more flexibility to the Legislature and local governments on revenue issues.

House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, presided over a largely party line vote Monday to restore TOPS funding while leaving most of the proposed cuts intact for state health services. (Photo by Tryfon Boukouvidis/LSU Manship School News Service)

House panel OKs state budget that funds TOPS, slashes health care

After a contentious debate, the House Appropriations Committee voted Monday almost along party lines to approve a state budget that would fully fund TOPS while slashing health services for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
A set of amendments sponsored by the committee’s vice chairman, Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, would allocate $233 million to fund the popular TOPS scholarships and $13 million to fund Go Grant, a program that provides need-based financial aid.

Gov. John Bel Edwards

As time escapes from session, outside politics creep in

Time has officially become a factor for the Louisiana Legislature, especially as lawmakers proceed with four weeks of regular session work under their belts and another eight weeks to go.
The pressure ratchets up further when you consider Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, have agreed to end the regular session prematurely, possibly in early to mid-May, to make room for the year’s second special session.

Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles, failed Sunday to pass his sales tax expansion bill, signaling a premature end to the Legislature’s attempt to avoid the state’s $1 billion fiscal cliff. {File photo by: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

House trips on trust issues

In a stunning display of mistrust between Republicans and Democrats, the House failed Sunday to agree on any revenue-raising measures, all but killing the special legislative session that was called to deal with a looming $1 billion budget shortfall.
The last of many disagreements over 13 days came over the order of the votes on two bills that were essential to a compromise, and it was clear that neither side trusted the other enough to approve its bill first.

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