LA Rep. Patricia Smith

LOFSA

“The real issue here is the fact that TOPS is in peril,” remarked Representative Julie Stokes (R-Kenner) in the House Education Committee. 

For next year's budget, which begins on July 1, the state only has $60 million of the $300 million needed to fully fund the popular scholarship program.

Six bills to try and make TOPS more compatible with the state’s fiscal reality were heard in the committee Wednesday. Changes proposed included raising GPA requirements, limiting award amounts, and requiring repayment if students drop out.

S. Lincoln

A bill heard in the House Municipal & Cultural Affairs committee Thursday brought a welcome respite from the simmering angst of the state budget crisis. It names the Gulf Fritillary as the official state butterfly.

“Louisiana has 45 state symbols, ranging from the state dog* to the state donut**,” Monroe Representative Jay Morris explained to the committee. “We don’t have a state butterfly at this time, and all of our neighboring states do have one.”

Sue Lincoln

There are more than 1200 bills filed for the regular legislative session which starts today, but the one of greatest concern is undoubtedly House Bill 1 – the budget.

“We have to fashion a budget, with the revenue that’s available, that’s going to be $800-million short,” Governor John Bel Edwards said, following the close of the special session last Wednesday.

Media Commons

Perhaps it’s because it’s so late in the session, with so much left to be done, but some of the ladies in the Legislature are no longer putting up with political posturing from the men on the far right. The women are instead using logic to deflate the rhetoric.

Take  West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth’s argument against a bill to end the Enterprise Zone program.

Rex Fortenberry

If the votes on the alcohol tax increase are an accurate indication, a new alliance in the House between Democrats and moderate Republicans may leave the hard-line conservatives who’ve been holding up the revenue-raisers hung out to dry.

Though the alcohol tax hike failed to pass by 5 votes on Friday, it came up again Sunday evening. 

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