BATON ROUGE — Louisiana lawmakers returned to Baton Rouge today to begin the regular legislative session.
On the docket is more than 1,000 bills focused on the state’s finances, modifying the TOPS scholarship program, Medicaid changes, and much, much more.
Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered his State of the State address to the Legislature just before the session started.
“This session … I am teaming up with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike,” Edwards said. “We are building on that incredible wave of momentum. Soliciting ideas from all across the state – the business community, small business owners, seniors, students, parents and law enforcement, the legislative agenda I am proposing to you today is as bold and diverse as the people of our great state.”
Edwards’ speech to lawmakers comes a week after the conclusion of a special legislative session that Edwards called to address a looming $1 billion fiscal cliff. Nothing was accomplished during that session, and legislators and Edwards have spent the past week placing blame on each other for the session’s failure to pass any new taxes.
The regular session gives lawmakers and Edwards three months to reach a compromise over the state’s $692 million budget deficit, but the governor is urging the legislature to adjourn in mid-May so the Legislature can have another special session to pass new revenue streams “at no additional expense to the taxpayers.”
The special session that ended a week ago cost Louisiana more than $1 million without any resolutions to the problems the session was supposed to address.
Watch the video below for Edwards’ full speech: