LA Sen. Eric LaFleur

Mark Carroll

When the state Bond Commission met Thursday, they voted to take out the governmental equivalent of a “payday loan”.


la.gov

With the House and Senate taking today off, this is a chance to update you on some of what happened in the flurry of activity, changing over from the regular session to the second special session.

Sue Lincoln

It’s not unusual for the Legislature to meet on the weekend before the session ends, but it is out of the ordinary when they get the budget bill done a day early. That’s what happened yesterday evening.

“The dynamics of this session is quite a bit different from anything else we’ve gone through, because you all know that these items will be readdressed on Tuesday,” Senate Finance Committee chair Eric LaFleur told the upper chamber, as he presented the conference committee report.

Sue Lincoln

While most of the attention this session has been on the $600-million hole in the upcoming budget, earlier today, the full Senate did their part to balance the current year’s budget, which ends June 30th. They passed what’s known as the “Supplemental Appropriations” bill.

But first, Senate Finance chairman Eric LaFleur offered a surprise amendment.

With very little discussion, the full Senate passed the budget bill today.

“The only thing that we’re here to do is to decide how do we impose 600 million dollars in cuts, because that’s all we can do,” Senate Finance chairman Eric LaFleur said.

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The Senate Finance Committee met Wednesday evening, and discussed HB 105, the bill giving the Attorney General his own budget.

A.G. Jeff Landry insisted this wasn’t a “power grab”, rather that he was trying to improve the efficiency of his department by cutting out the middleman, and not having to seek Division of Administration approval before shifting funding within his department.

California Dairy Commission

There have been food safety regulations since at least the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.

“Our Creator did not instruct them to cook their raw milk before consuming it,” said North Louisiana dairy goat farmer Matt Knapper.

And for the third year in a row, lawmakers considered a bill to permitting the sale of raw milk in Louisiana. 

  Senator Eric LaFleur of Ville Platte is the author.

Sue Lincoln

There were sighs of relief as the special session ended promptly at 6:00 Wednesday night.

“We leave here tonight being able to defend what we’ve done, and being able to explain to the people of Louisiana that we did what we were asked here to do,” House Speaker Taylor Barras told the lower chamber.

Senate President John Alario, though, sighed with frustration at the end.

“I want to apologize to you for what happened here tonight,” a tearful Alario told the upper chamber. “That’s not the way to conduct the people’s business.”

Sue Lincoln

The Senate Finance Committee met Thursday to get an update on the state budget crisis.

“It’s almost all minus signs,” Legislative Fiscal Analyst Greg Albrecht told lawmakers, with a sigh.

Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur asked for details on how this happened, and Albrecht ran it down.

Both the House and Senate worked over the weekend. Yet even Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield – the governor’s point man on tax increases and tax offsets -- notes the two chambers do not appear to be working together.

“There’s a lot of people posturing and a lot of politics right now,” Barfield observes, “So I don’t know what will happen in the end.”

The rift centers on the SAVE plan, creating a college fee that students won’t pay, offset by tax credits paid to higher education. After House Ways and Means killed the bill last week, its author, Senate Finance chair Jack Donahue, resurrected it. He did so by amending the language from his SB 284 onto three other tax bills, each authored by House Ways and Means chairman Joel Robideaux.

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