Louisiana lawmakers load up budget with $20M in pet projects

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to steer $20 million in state cash to local pet projects through a list crafted behind closed doors that received little public discussion and followed no specific vetting process.

The spending plans were given final passage Thursday in a special session called to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The earmarks ran into criticism from rank-and-file House lawmakers Wednesday night.

Republicans and Democrats questioned why the state was spending money on municipal sports and park facilities when its unemployment trust fund is bankrupt and borrowing federal money.

But those complaints evaporated, at least publicly, by Thursday after behind-the-scenes negotiations and a slight reworking of the list.

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