House panel rejects governor's budget bill

A bill containing Gov. John Bel Edward’s budgetary proposals failed, 7-15, to make it out of the House Appropriations Committee Thursday, leaving only two rival bills, both Republican blessed, to receive the chamber’s full attention.
House Bill 3, by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, and House Bill 8, a more stringent version of HB3, whose primary sponsors are Reps. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, and Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, are up for full House debate on Friday.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne appears before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday to push the administration’s proposal to utilize $119 million of the state’s budget stabilization fund, nicknamed the Rainy Day Fund, to ease potential budget cuts needed to erase the state’s current deficit. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/ Manship School News Service)

Clock running on special session

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday moved forward with a resolution, primarily for the benefit of their wavering House colleagues, that would employ $119 million of the Rainy Day Fund as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget proposal to close a $304 revenue shortfall.
House Republicans have expressed reluctance to do that, seeking instead additional budget cutbacks.

St. Landry woman sentenced to 57 months in prison for stealing more than $250,000 from an Opelousas business

A St. Landry woman was sentenced Monday to 57 months in prison for stealing more than $258,000 from an Opelousas-based medical imaging business, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced Tuesday.
Misty Johnson, 40, of St. Landry, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter on one count each of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft of mail. She was also ordered to pay $258,128.78 restitution.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards leave a joint session of the Legislature Monday night amid handshakes following his detailing the state’s fiscal problems and his solutions for solvency. (Photo by Haskell Whittington)

Special session begins in an attempt to fill $304M budget hole

Louisiana lawmakers Monday night officially launched a special session dedicated to closing a $304 million mid-year budget shortfall with Gov. John Bel Edwards pitching his plan and challenging Republicans who oppose it to come up with a better one.
The Democratic governor proposes using $119 million of the state’s savings, nicknamed the Rainy Day Fund, cutting $60 million from the state budget and using “budget adjustments” to close the remainder of the gap. Some in the Republican-dominated Legislature oppose using the savings fund.

Sen Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, faces possible expulsion from the Louisiana Senate. (Photo from the Louisiana House of Representatives)

Lawmakers seek expulsion of senator over domestic abuse issues

Two lawmakers Monday said they will introduce a measure to expel state Sen. Troy Brown from the Legislature following pleas of no contest two domestic abuse allegations since he was elected in 2015.
Senators Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, told reporters they will file an expulsion resolution after the opening of the special session, which opened Monday night. They said they expect the issue to be resolved by the end of the special session on Feb. 22.


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