From left, Senate Finance Committee chairman Eric LaFleur and members Ronnie Johns, Bodi White and Gregory Tarver hear public testimony on the House Bill 1, to appropriate $154 million of the state budget Wednesday night. Budget negotiations continue as the 6 p.m. Thursday deadline looms. Credit: Katie Gagliano

Senate pours on the pressure

The Senate staged an unprecedented public conference committee on House Bill 1, the key funding bill, Wednesday night calling for the House Republicans and public stakeholders at risk of cuts to come together to better understand the effects of the House’s plan to leave money unappropriated as a hedge against potential revenue shortfalls in the coming fiscal year.
They invited House leadership to attend, an invitation that predictably went immediately into the wastebasket.

Fighting terrorism: Hodges v. Norton

The House passed a bill, 82-8, Monday that works to prevent the state of Louisiana from funding terrorism, but not before two legislators got into an oral dustup which prompted a reprimand by the speaker of the House.
There are certain funds in the state of Louisiana that are invested solely in international securities. The Senate Bill 223, by Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, places restrictions on investments in companies connected to countries which indirectly or directly support terrorism.

Rural hospitals face cuts

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) faces a $196.4 million cut in its fiscal year budget starting in a little more than a month. This singular cut makes up the majority of the projected $206.2 million reduction in state funding under the latest draft of House Bill 1, the state’s funding plan for next fiscal year.

Constitution rewrite isn’t in the air  

Efforts to call a constitutional convention to resolve the state’s “broken” budget and fiscal structure were thwarted Tuesday evening in a 50-45 House vote, considerably short of the two-thirds required for the bill to pass.   
House Bill 456 didn’t even receive the required simple majority of the 105 House members needed for regular proposals to pass. Ten members of the chamber were absent, a move sometimes a deliberate maneuver to help defeat a bill without recording a vote.. 


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