Session Starting: What's the Plan?
The 2014 Louisiana legislative session convenes today. Beyond the opening gavel, the big event of the day is Gov. Bobby Jindal’s speech to the full legislature.
In the past, he has roused them to action with his rhetoric, beginning with his first special session in 2008, when he urged lawmakers to pass comprehensive ethics reform.
“Today we embark on the single most important endeavor for the future of Louisiana: bringing comprehensive ethics reform and transparency to our state,” Jindal said then.
At the start of his second term in 2012, he pushed a package of education reforms, telling lawmakers, “We have a lot more work to do to fulfill that promise of providing a great education to every child in Louisiana.”
Last year, Gov. Jindal’s legislative agenda was all about doing away with state income taxes. Then suddenly, it wasn’t.
“We’re going to adjust our course,” the governor told lawmakers in that session-opening speech. “I’m telling you today that we’re going to park our tax plan.”
This time, the governor has not been making his typical pre-session rounds of in-state business group luncheons, rallying support for a comprehensive agenda. Instead, he has been going out of state, regaling national interest-groups with both his accomplishments here at home, and his criticisms of the Obama administration.
“This president, his liberal allies, they don’t trust the American people to make decisions for ourselves,” Gov. Jindal told the Conservative Political Action Conference, gathered in Washington, D.C., last Thursday. “In Louisiana, we do it differently.”
Instead of going on the offense with a major reform package, the governor will likely be playing defense this session, attempting to stave off efforts to do-over his education reforms, expand Medicaid, and tinker with TOPS—all of which are being proposed by legislators.
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