The 2014 Louisiana legislative session is under way, with Governor Bobby Jindal delivering his “State of the State” speech to a joint meeting of the House and Senate. Compared to previous years, the governor offered an abbreviated slate of measures he wants to be able to sign into law.
“Our first and most important priority must be to make sure that we have got the best-trained, most skilled, most productive workers anywhere in the world,” Jindal says, regarding his initiatives to improve workforce development.
With some of the nation’s harshest punishments for marijuana possession and an ultra-conservative Republican governor at the helm, few would expect Louisiana might be the next state to allow folks to light up a joint. Yet one state lawmaker is planning to push to lighten up some pot laws during the upcoming legislative session.
In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers have passed a $25.4 billion budget compromise to finance the state for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The Senate approved the deal with a 38-1 vote. The House voted 104-0 Thursday and the deal has Gov. Bobby Jindal’s backing.
The budget includes a $69 million increase for local school districts and teachers sought by House Democrats. To address concerns of House Republicans, lawmakers cut down the use of one-time financing for recurring expenses.
Senators rewrote the representatives’ version of the budget, re-allocating arguably unstable funds that the House had painstakingly removed. But it may be hard for representatives to vote against the budget.
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That’s because it sets aside $50 million for a one-time salary bonus for public school teachers.