Citing lawmaker gridlock, Gov. Edwards calls special session

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BATON ROUGE, LA — Governor John Bel Edwards called a special session of the legislature to begin at 6:30 p.m. on June 8.  The special session will run until midnight on June 19.

But lawmakers could avoid the whole thing if they can finish their financial business in the regular session that is currently underway and must end no later than 6:00 p.m. on June 8.

In a statement, the governor’s office says the special session is being called as a, “…precautionary measure in light of recent developments in the legislature and gridlock related to the state operating budget, House Bill 1, and the state construction budget, House Bills 2 and 3.”

“Given the significant disagreements on the state’s operating budget, I am issuing this call as a precautionary measure,” Edwards is quoted as saying in the statement.  “Should we come to an agreement on the operating and construction budgets, this special session will not be necessary.”

Edwards also says that the current disagreements between lawmakers regarding the state’s spending make the budget’s current form a “nonstarter”.

The state is facing — what the governor calls — a $1.3 billion fiscal cliff.  Any special session must be called no less that seven days before it is set to begin.  So Edwards cannot wait to see if lawmakers settle their differences by the close of the regular session before calling a special session to begin the same evening.